Libya Commons debate – live blog

Minute-by-minute coverage of the House of Commons debate on military action in Libya.

Press refresh or F5 for updates.

17:28 I'm going to conclude the live blog at this point. Thanks for reading.

17:19 The former foreign secretary Jack Straw is speaking now. He cites Rwanda and Bosnia and says that "doing nothing in the face of evil" is as fraught with consequences as "doing something".

17:11 The Labour MP Jim Dowd is making a strong speech in favour of the intervention. He says the action reflects the refusal of the British people to "pass by on the other side". Sitting next to him is David Miliband, who may speak later on.

17:01 Ming Campbell is speaking now. He recalls his opposition to the Iraq war but says this intervention is "necessary, legal and legitimate". It was essential to prevent a "slaughterhouse" in Benghazi, he says.

16:55 The former Labour defence secretary Bob Ainsworth says he is a "late and reluctant" supporter of the intervention. He says that it "cannot be sensible" for the Defence Secretary, Liam Fox, to suggest that Gaddafi could be personally targeted by the coalition.

16:52 The former Conservative foreign secretary Malcolm Rifkind is speaking now. He asks William Hague to clarify whether the rebels can be armed under the terms of the UN resolution.

He warns that the no-fly zone must remain even if Gaddafi accepts a genuine ceasefire. The danger is that the Libyan leader will break the ceasefire as soon as the allies leave, he says.

16:47 Miliband refers to the "humanity and solidarity" showed to his parents as refugees from Nazi Germany. His support for the motion reflects the lessons of this experience, he suggests.

16:44 The Labour MP Joan Ruddock asks Miliband to condemn the jingoistic language of the tabloids ("Blown to Brits"). The Labour leader replies that everyone must show "extreme care".

16:42 Miliband says he wants to see the back of Gaddafi, but that no one should be under any illusions about the terms of the resolution. There is no mandate for the removal of the colonel. He says that we cannot afford "mission creep", including "in our public pronouncements".

16:38 The Lib Dem MP Andrew George asks Miliband how he would define success. Miliband says that, for now, the best criterion we have for success is the enforcement of the UN resolution.

16:36 He adds that Gaddafi's threat to the people of Benghazi puts him in a "particular category".

16:32 Miliband echoes Cameron (and Tony Blair) and rejects the argument that because "we can't do everything, we shouldn't do anything". An imperfect world order is not an excuse for inaction, he adds.

16:31 The Labour leader says he has been "reassured" by the government that the mission will be well funded.

16:30 Miliband says that doing nothing would be a dereliction of "our duty, our history and our values".

16:27 Responding to Ming Campbell, Miliband says that this is an important moment for multilateralism.

16:25 Miliband says we don't always know "how it will end"; the same was the case in Kosovo. But it is right to intervene to save thousands of lives.

16:23 Responding to Jeremy Corbyn, Miliband says he supports a review of UK arms exports and says he will address the issue of "double standards" later in his speech.

16:19 Citing the failure to support anti-Franco forces during the Spanish civil war, Miliband says that it would "revolt the conscience" of the world if we failed to intervene.

16:16 Ed Miliband rises to speak. He says the three key criteria for intervention have been met; it is just, feasible and has international support.

16:13 Concluding his statement, Cameron says that "it is for the Libyan people to determine their future and their destiny". But he adds that there is no "decent future" for the country while Gaddafi remains in power.

16:12 Cameron tells the Conservative MP Robert Halfon that he will take all possible steps to protect British forces from the possible use of mustard gas by Gaddafi.

16:09 The PM says that the international system must plan now "for stabilising the peace that we hope will follow".

16:06 Cameron says he has limited information on the Libyan opposition but that the evidence suggests they are "ordinary" people who want freedom, justice and liberty.

16:02 The Labour MP Dennis Skinner asks when we will know what the "circumstances are for pulling out". Cameron says the operation will end when we have "complied with and implemented the UN resolution". Once more, he emphasises that this is "different to Iraq".

15:58 Cameron says this will not be "another Iraq" because there are millions in the Arab world who want to know that the international community "cares about their suffering" and who support the intervention.

15:55: Cameron says that it is important to reassure the Commons and the country that "this is not an invasion". He emphasises again that the UN resolution prevents an "occupying force".

15:53 The Green Party leader, Caroline Lucas, says our response would be more "consistent" if we stopped selling arms to "reprehensible regimes".

Cameron replies that the government has revoked all arms export licences to Libya and agrees that "there will be lessons to learn from this conflict".

15:50 The Conservative MP John Baron asks Cameron why we haven't let "Arabs take the lead"; we've sold them enough weapons, he suggests. Cameron says that in order to act quickly, the campaign required participation by the US, the UK and France.

15:49 The Labour MP John McDonnell asks Cameron for a "categorical assurance" that the coalition will not use depleted uranium or cluster bombs. The PM replies that he has already given this guarantee.

15:45 The Labour left-winger Jeremy Corbyn asks Cameron to respond to criticism of the operation by China and India. Cameron says it was not possible to "wait and see". "We have waited and we have seen," he argues.

15:43 The PM returns to his statement after allowing several interventions. He announces that Spain, Canada, Norway, Denmark, Italy and Greece have all offered active support.

15:41 Cameron is asked to guarantee that ground troops will not be deployed. He says the UN resolution clearly rules out an "occupying force".

15:36 The SNP's Westminster leader, Angus Robertson, asks Cameron to respond to fears of "mission creep".

The PM says he's made it clear that Muammar Gaddafi needs to go but that "Libyans must determine their own future". The coalition's job is to enforce the UN Resolution.

15:34 Cameron adds that the allies prevented a "bloody massacre" in Benghazi "in the nick of time".

15:33 John Bercow says that 62 MPs have asked to speak in the debate. There will be a six-minute limit on speeches.

15:32 Cameron begins his statement. He announces that coalition forces have "largely neutralised" Libyan air defences and that a no-fly zone has been put in place.

15:22 Stay tuned for live coverage from 3.30pm.

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.

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“We can’t do this again”: Labour conference reactions to Jeremy Corbyn’s second victory

Overjoyed members, determined allies and concerned MPs are divided on how to unite.

“I tell you what, I want to know who those 193,229 people are.” This was the reaction of one Labour member a few rows from the front of the stage, following the announcement of Jeremy Corbyn’s victory at the Labour party conference. She was referring to support received by his defeated contender, Owen Smith, who won 38.2 per cent of the vote (to Corbyn’s 61.8 per cent).

But it’s this focus on the leader’s critics – so vehement among many (and there are a lot of them) of his fans – that many politicians, of either side, who were watching his victory speech in the conference hall want to put an end to.

“It’s about unity and bringing us all together – I think that’s what has to come out of this,” says shadow cabinet member and MP for Edmonton Kate Osamor. “It shouldn’t be about the figures, and how many votes, and his percentage, because that will just cause more animosity.”

Osamor, who is supportive of Corbyn’s leadership, is not alone in urging her colleagues who resigned from the shadow cabinet to “remember the door is never shut”.

Shadow minister and member of Labour’s National Executive Committee (NEC) Jon Ashworth – not a Corbyn loyalist, but focusing on making the shadow cabinet work together – shares the sentiment.

Standing pensively in front of the now-empty stage, he tells me he backs shadow cabinet elections (though not for every post) – a change to party rules that has not yet been decided by the NEC. “[It] would be a good way of bringing people back,” he says. “I’ve been involved in discussions behind the scenes this week and I hope we can get some resolution on the issue.”

He adds: “Jeremy’s won, he has to recognise a number of people didn’t vote for him, so we’ve got to unite.”

The former Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett, another MP on the NEC, is sitting in the audience, looking over some documents. She warns that “it’s impossible to tell” whether those who resigned from Corbyn’s shadow cabinet would be willing to return, and is concerned about talent being wasted.

“We have a lot of excellent people in the party; there are new people now in the shadow cabinet who have had a chance to show their mettle but you need experience as well as ability,” she says.

Beckett, who has urged Corbyn to stand down in the past, hopes “everybody’s listening” to his call for unity, but questions how that will be achieved.

“How much bad blood there is among people who were told that there was plotting [against Corbyn], it’s impossible to tell, but obviously that doesn’t make for a very good atmosphere,” she says. “But Jeremy says we’ll wipe the slate clean, so let’s hope everybody will wipe the slate clean.”

It doesn’t look that way yet. Socialist veteran Dennis Skinner is prowling around the party conference space outside the hall, barking with glee about Corbyn’s defeated foes. “He’s trebled the membership,” he cries. “A figure that Blair, Brown and Prescott could only dream about. On average there’s more than a thousand of them [new members] in every constituency. Right-wing members of the parliamentary Labour party need to get on board!”

A call that may go unheeded, with fervent Corbyn allies and critics alike already straying from the unity message. The shadow justice secretary Richard Burgon is reminding the PLP that, “Jeremy’s won by a bigger margin this time”, and telling journalists after the speech that he is “relaxed” about how the shadow cabinet is recruited (not a rallying cry for shadow cabinet elections).

“If Jeremy wants to hold out an olive branch to the PLP, work with MPs more closely, he has to look very seriously at that [shadow cabinet elections]; it’s gone to the NEC but no decision has been made,” says Louise Ellman, the Liverpool MP and transport committee chair who has been critical of Corbyn’s leadership. “That might not be the only way. I think he has to find a way of working with MPs, because we’re all elected by millions of people – the general public – and he seems to dismiss that.”

“If he sees it [his victory] as an endorsement of how he’s been operating up until now, the problems which led to the election being called will remain,” Ellman warns. “If we’re going to be a credible party of government, we’ve got to reach out to the general electorate. He didn’t say anything about that in his speech, but I hope that perhaps now he might feel more confident to be able to change direction.”

Corbyn may have called for cooperation, but his increased mandate (up from his last stonking victory with 59.5 per cent of the vote) is the starkest illustration yet of the gulf between his popularity in Parliament and among members.

The fact that one attempt at a ceasefire in the party’s civil war – by allowing MPs to vote for some shadow cabinet posts – is in contention suggests this gulf is in danger of increasing.

And then where could the party be this time next year? As Osamor warns: “We should not be looking at our differences, because when we do that, we end up thinking it’s a good thing to spend our summer having another contest. And we can’t. We can’t do this again.”

Anoosh Chakelian is deputy web editor at the New Statesman.