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Libya — [Mr Christopher Chope in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 9:30 am on 26th October 2016.

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Photo of Kwasi Kwarteng Kwasi Kwarteng Conservative, Spelthorne 9:30 am, 26th October 2016

I beg to move,

That this House
has considered British engagement with Libya.

It is a great pleasure to introduce a debate of such importance—it is a wonderful privilege as a Member of Parliament to have the opportunity to raise subjects of international importance. We all know, given where we have come from with the debates on Brexit, Heathrow and all the rest, that we focus a lot on domestic issues. We particularly focus on European issues, but the situation in Libya is of enormous importance for the country and the wider picture in the middle east. The waves of migration we are seeing in Europe are in many ways a direct consequence of the total collapse of order and civic administration in Libya. I do not want to exaggerate that and suggest that Libya is in a complete state of anarchy, but there is no doubt that there have been many failures of omission in Libya, as the Chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee, my hon. Friend Crispin Blunt, and his team have pointed out.

We have had five years in which it has been unclear what the future political make-up of the country will be in terms of its institutions. Muammar Gaddafi saw his end five years ago, in October 2011. It is disconcerting to see that there is no single constituted political entity or Government in Libya. Instead, there are two Governments and various militias. The country is divided geographically between the east and the west, with their respective centres of power in Tobruk and Tripoli. The Government of National Accord have been backed by the United Nations, by us and by the international community, yet when we read reports on what is happening on the ground in Libya with the militias and military activity, the striking thing is that the GNA’s forces do not seem to be making much impact. In fact, I rarely read about what they and their military forces are doing.