United Nations Security Council Resolution 1973

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 5:54 pm on 21st March 2011.

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Photo of Rory Stewart Rory Stewart Conservative, Penrith and The Border 5:54 pm, 21st March 2011

I agree very strongly. That is immensely significant, but the meaning of that needs to be clear. The limits that the Prime Minister has set are so important to all of us exactly because of that point. The reason we need the Arab League and the UN on side, the reason we need a limited resolution, and the reason all the comments from around the House warning that the situation should not become another Iraq are so important is that we are talking about 30 years, not just the next few months.

Respectfully, I disagree with Sir Menzies Campbell; the most important thing for us now is to be careful with our language and rhetoric, and careful about the kinds of expectations that we raise. I would respectfully say that phrases such as “This is necessary,” or even “This is legitimate,” are dangerous. All the things that the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition have done to hedge us in, limit us, and say, “This isn’t going to be an occupation” are fantastic, but they are only the beginning.