The Libya war: in pictures

The government is expected to announce that the war has cost £250m. Here are images of the conflict

Above, David Cameron arrives at a press conference on 21 June. He insisted that Britain would continue its Libya operations for "as long as is necessary". Today, the government is expected to announce that the mission has cost £250m.

libya

People gather next to buildings damaged by Nato airstrikes in Tripoli. Nato admitted causing civilian deaths, and blamed this on a "weapons system failure". At least nine people were killed, including two children.

helicopter

Here, French helicopters land off the coast of Libya following airstrikes. Today's announcement contradicts George Osborne's claim that the war would cost tens, not hundreds, of millions.

boat

A French aircraft carrier off the Libyan coast is pictured from a helicopter. In news reminiscent of the Iraq War, the Financial Times revealed that only 12 UK officials are working on plans for Gaddafi's departure and reconstruction.

libya

Above, Libyans loyal to Gaddafi dance at Tripoli's Mitiga International airport to celebrate 41 years after the United States left Libya on 11 June 1970.

libya

A child poses with a rifle at the same event. These pictures were taken on a guided government tour.

war

Here, rebel fighters flash the victory sign as they drive towards the frontline from their stronghold of Benghazi.

war

During Friday noon prayers in Revolution Square, Benghazi, Libyans pray over six bodies recovered from a mass grave. These were allegedly the bodies of people killed by Gaddafi's regime some 20 years ago.

libya

Above, Libyan rebels fire a machine gun at positions held by forces loyal to Gaddafi during fighting in the western mountain region of Qalaa. The opposition has warned that it will run out of funds in less than a week without aid.

tripoli

This picture shows another building destroyed by Nato warplanes, this t.ime in the Bab Al-Aziziya district of Tripoli where Gaddafi has his base

Samira Shackle is a freelance journalist, who tweets @samirashackle. She was formerly a staff writer for the New Statesman.

Getty
Show Hide image

Jeremy Corbyn has lost his NEC majority - and worse could be to come

The NEC promises to be a thorn in the Labour leader's side.

Jeremy Corbyn has lost his majority on the party’s ruling national executive committee, after a longstanding demand of the Welsh and Scottish parties sees the introduction of two further appointed posts on the NEC, one each of Kezia Dugdale, leader of Scottish Labour and Carwyn Jones, the Welsh First Minister and leader of the Welsh party. 

It means that, unlike during his first year as leader, Corbyn will not have a majority on the NEC. Corbyn acquired a small majority on the party’s ruling body at last year’s Labour conference, when Community, which represents workers in steel and the third sector, was voted off in favour of the BFAWU, which represents bakers. Added to the replacement of Hilary Benn with Rebecca Long-Bailey, that gave Corbyn a small but fairly reliable majority on the NEC. (It also led to Bex Bailey, the diminutive rightwinger who sat as Youth Rep, being dubbed “Rebecca Short-Bailey” by Corbynsceptic trade union officials.) 

In practice, the new NEC is now “hung”, as Corbynsceptics sacrificed their new majority last night when they elected Glenis Wilmott, leader of the European parliamentary Labour party, as chair. Corbyn’s opponents judge that controlling the chair, which rules on procedure and interpret’s the NEC’s rules, is worth more than a majority of one. 

Divisions will hinge upon the NEC’s swing voters – Alice Perry, who is elected by councilors, Ann Black, elected by members, and Keith Vaz, the chair of BAME Labour, and the new Welsh Labour representative, appointed by Jones. Corbyn may, therefore, have cause to regret fighting quite so hard to resist the changes this time.

“All we’re asking is that we should have the same rights as Jeremy, who appoints three,” Jones told me on Monday. At an acrimonious meeting at the NEC, Jones – who has been campaigning for the change since he became leader and has already been rebuffed back in 2011 – told Corbyn that the Welsh leadership had been kept waiting “too long” for the same rights as the Westminster party. Jones, unlike Dugdale, remained neutral in the leadership race. He explained to me that “I’d expect [London] to stay out of our elections, so you’ve got to return the favour”. 

Dugdale takes a different view, and, I’m told, feels that Corbyn’s allies in Scotland have been manoeuvring against her since she became leader. She has appointed herself to sit on the NEC, where she will be a consistent vote against Corbyn.

But worse may be to come for Corbyn in the trade union section. An underappreciated aspect of Labour politics is the impact of labour politics – ie, the jostling for power and members between affliated trade unions. What happens at the Trade Union Congress doesn’t stay there, and there has long been a feeling, fairly or unfairly, that Unite – Britain’s largest trade union – throws its weight around at the TUC. 

A desire to “cut Len down to size” is likely to make itself felt in Labour.The merger of Unite with Ucatt, the construction union, takes Unite’s share of the seats on the 33-person NEC to five including the treasurer Diana Holland.  Although Unite’s total membership is larger, it affliates fewer members to the party than Usdaw, the shopworkers’ union, and the GMB do. Usdaw is a reliable block to Corbyn on the NEC and the GMB is at odds with the leadership over Trident and fracking. 

All of which means that Corbyn’s path to wide-ranging rule changes may not be as clear as his allies might wish. 

Stephen Bush is special correspondent at the New Statesman. He usually writes about politics.