UK to send fighters to Libya
Now that the UN Security Council has reached its decision there is a responsibility on its members to respond.
And that is what Britain – with others – will now do.
Mr Speaker, the Attorney General has been consulted and the government is satisfied that there is a clear and unequivocal legal basis for the deployment of UK forces and military assets.
The Security Council has adopted Resolution 1973 as a measure to maintain or restore international peace and security under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter.
The resolution specifically authorises notifying Member States to use all necessary measures to enforce a No Fly Zone and to protect civilians and civilian populated areas, including Benghazi.
The Cabinet has met this morning.
They have agreed that the UK will play its part.
Our forces will join an international operation to enforce the Resolution if Gaddafi fails to comply with its demand that he ends attacks on civilians.
The Defence Secretary and I have now instructed the Chief of the Defence Staff to work urgently with our allies to put in place the appropriate military measures to enforce the Resolution – including a No Fly Zone.
And I can tell the House that Britain will deploy Tornadoes and Typhoons as well as air-to-air refuelling and surveillance aircraft.
Preparations to deploy these aircraft have already started and in the coming hours they will move to airbases from where they can start to take the necessary action.
The government will table a substantive Motion for debate next week.
But I am sure that the House will accept that the situation requires us to move forward on the basis of the Security Council resolution immediately.
I am sure that all sides of the House call upon Colonel Gaddafi to respond immediately to the will of the international community and cease the violence against his own people.
I spoke to President Obama last night and to President Sarkozy this morning.
There will be a clear statement later today setting out what we now expect from Colonel Gaddafi.