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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

My hon. Friend makes a fair point, but I am told that one of the reasons why the Libyans view western involvement with such scepticism is that 2011 was not this country’s finest hour. I agree substantially with many of the findings in the Foreign Affairs Committee report. We went in there, but we did not have a plan or a follow-through. Given that context, it is not surprising that Libyans are sceptical.

Our ideals—what we want to happen—and what we can actually do are often completely different. I completely understand the support for the Government of national accord, but it is difficult to see how we can empower them to take control of the country. None of the militias that one reads about—Haftar and Operation Dignity, Libya Dawn, ISIS and various al-Qaeda militias—are GNA forces. They are not under the control of the Government of national accord, yet we carry on in a fantasy world in which they are the official, legal Government and we are going to support them. I totally understand those pious words, but nothing is happening on the ground.

We can go on like this. I am sure that in five years’ time I, or some new MPs, will take up the issue. We can go on forever and a day talking about what is going on, but in this debate I want to say, “Look, this is a big problem. What are we going to do about it?” I do not propose any definitive answers, but it is highly important that MPs have the opportunity to speak and think about these issues. We do very little thinking in this place; we do a lot of talking, posturing and virtue-signalling, but as parliamentarians we need to engage our minds critically with these problems.