13 MPs voted against the Libya intervention. Why?

Mar 22, 2011
Linda Palermo

Here are the reasons given by a handful of MPs who decided Libya’s future was not worth risking lives for

The Government's proposal to launch military attacks against Libya under UN Resolution 1973 was passed in the Commons on Monday by a huge majority. A total of 557 MPs voted for the measure and only 13 against.

The 13 were: Graham Allen, Nottingham North; John Baron, Basildon & Billericay;  Ronnie Campbell, Blyth Valley; Jeremy Corbyn, Islington North; Mark Durkan, Foyle; Barry Gardiner, Brent North; Roger Godsiff, Birmingham Hall Green; Caroline Lucas, Brighton Pavilion; John McDonnell, Hayes & Harlington; Margaret Ritchie, Down South; Linda Riordan, Halifax; Dennis Skinner, Bolsover and Mike Wood, Batley & Spen.

Here are some of the reasons why these MPs opposed military action:

• John Baron, Conservative MP for Basildon & Billericay:
"Once again, we could be seen to be meddling in a Muslim country. We're told the Arab League and our Arab allies want to put in a no-fly zone - why not let them get on and do it. After all, we've been supplying them with the weaponry and the capability for decades now. They have some very sophisticated stuff. And my concern also is, what is the exit strategy? What is the end game? Because if this is not known, we risk being drawn into an ill-defined mission, while civilian casualties rise."

• Dennis Skinner, Labour MP for Bolsover
"It's easy to get into a war, it's much harder to end it. When will all those nations that are taking part know what the circumstances are for pulling out and ending the war?"

• Barry Gardiner, Labour MP for Brent North
"North Africa is not on our border. It's not in our direct sphere of influence. Libya poses no direct threat to the UK. We have no historic responsibility as the former colonial power. So why are we spending millions of pounds on cruise missiles and endangering the lives of British soldiers to implement this resolution?"

• Caroline Lucas, Green MP for Brighton Pavillion
"Given the West's colonial past, its history of adventurism and support for dictatorship in the region, its failure to enforce UN resolutions in Palestine and the legacy of the invasion of Iraq in 2003, I think its motives in Libya will always be in doubt."

• John McDonnell, Labour MP for Hayes & Harlington
"I believe we now face the prospect of a long-haul engagement in military action in Libya. We risk being dragged into an on-the-ground bloody combat, then a counter-insurgency struggle and then vulnerability to a lengthy terrorist campaign. It all threatens the peace and stability of the region then the consequences it will have for our own people and the global economy. That's why I think the message today from this chamber should be that we seek peace, we want to ensure the safety of civilians and our concern is for peace in the region and democracy for all."

• Jeremy Corbyn, Labour MP for Islington North
“I do not know the politics, the aims, the ambitions, or anything else of the people in Benghazi ... I think we should be slightly cautious about going to war on behalf of a group of people who we do not know, understand or are aware of what their aims actually are. Many of them were ministers in the Gaddafi government only three weeks ago.”

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