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United Nations Security Council Resolution 1973

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 8:11 pm on 21st March 2011.

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Photo of David Morris David Morris Conservative, Morecambe and Lunesdale 8:11 pm, 21st March 2011

It is the right thing to do at this time and in this case.

Let me tell the House a story of which I have personal knowledge. A good friend of mine who was a radio officer on a ship jumped off it into the ocean when he saw a British destroyer come past. The military on the ship from which he jumped threw grenades at him, one of which hit him but bounced off and, thankfully, did not explode. He swam for his life, and our boys pulled him out of the sea. He came to this country, and was thankful for that. He has been here for nearly 30 years. Just think of that. Let me tell the House something else. When the students were bombing Manchester in the 1980s, that man lied to everyone that he was Italian, because he was in fear of his life. That is the kind of regime that we are discussing today, and the kind of regime that we want to sort out once and for all.

What else happened in the 1980s? Yvonne Fletcher was shot on our own soil in front of the television cameras. Some people have very short memories, but I do not have a short memory, and what worries me is that if we had not acted as we have so far, massacres would now be occurring in Libya.

This is not about the moral high ground. We pulled a mission yesterday—or over the weekend, or whenever it was—because civilians were involved. We do not attack human shields. We should think about what we are doing here. Yes, we are putting our troops into a theatre, but we are also saving people’s lives, and we are sorting out a dictator who should have been sorted out years ago. This man was responsible for Lockerbie. Do Members remember that? I do. He was never brought to book. Dare I say it, but some Members wanted to appease that regime—and here we are today, having to take up the mantle to sort it out again.

I was outraged when Yvonne Fletcher was shot. What can we do about all this? We can do the right thing. When Members go through the Lobbies tonight, they should think about what has happened in the history of Libya and how it has affected this country and the middle east, and they should do the right thing.