Jim Murphy MP, Labour's Shadow Defence Secretary, responding to the Ministry of Defence's announcement that the cost to the British tax payer of Operation Ellamy in Libya will be at least £120 million, said:
“This is an important announcement by the Government. Thanks to pressure from the Opposition, Ministers have now published figures revealing that the costs of the operation in Libya are higher than originally estimated.
“We back the Nato-led operation and continue to offer the Government our support wherever possible. Where the UK can it is right we take action to protect innocent civilians.
“We support enforcing the mandate of UN resolution 1973, and we will also scrutinise Government action.
“We want the Government to be clearer on what stresses and strains operations in Libya are making on the core defence budget, and whether our standing commitments are or will be affected by the ongoing conflict. In particular we will ensure the Government keeps to their guarantees that the mission in Afghanistan will not be affected. That is absolutely vital.
“Following the concerns of the Service Chiefs, we also need to know what contingency plans are being made to ensure that our armed forces are sufficiently equipped and that the conflict is sustainable beyond September.
“Being clear on the endgame – how and when our forces will return home – must be the Government’s priority.”