COLNE Valley MP Jason McCartney has backed the Allies’ military action in Libya.
Mr McCartney, a former RAF flight lieutenant, was based in Turkey during the first invasion of Iraq in the early 1990s.
Working as a ground control officer he also spent time in northern Iraq and was involved in planning air raids in a bid to enforce the no fly zone that protected the Kurds from Saddam Hussein’s airforce.
The Tory MP spoke in the House of Commons in response to concerns from constituents about the UK’s involvement in another Middle Eastern conflict.
He said: “After what happened in Iraq and Afghanistan, obviously there’s going to be a lot of public cynicism, fears and worries.
“People are already asking what’s the exit strategy?
“I was absolutely against the conflict in Iraq but this is a very clear UN mandate.
“I think it’s clear lives are being saved as Gaddafi isn’t acting with as much force.”
Mr McCartney said the no fly zone in northern Iraq had lasted for almost a decade but said he had no idea how long the Allies would be involved in Libya.
He added: “We’re still in the very early stages of putting this no fly zone in place which means Gaddafi won’t be able to attack his own people.
“We’ve been removing threats to our aircraft by targeting aircraft defences and radar.
“It’s very important there aren’t any civilian casualties and that we don’t lose any aircraft.
“Gaddafi is saying civilians died but the BBC asked Libyan authorities for evidence and hasn’t received any.
“Clearly there’s going to be a propaganda war.
“If there’s any clear evidence of any side targeting civilians I’m sure the Allies will act.
“The UN resolution isn’t to change regime, it’s up to the Libyan people to decide who they want to change their country.
“But I hope the Libyan people will be able to depose Gaddafi themselves and hold free and fair elections.”
Meanwhile, an international conference is to be held in London next week to take stock of developments in Libya and discuss the command structure for the allied military operations.
The meeting, on Tuesday, will bring together representatives of countries involved in the UN-backed intervention and those situated in the region.
In a statement, Foreign Secretary William Hague said the international community had to continue to take “united and coordinated action”.
“At the conference we will discuss the situation in Libya with our allies and partners and take stock of the implementation of UN Security Council Resolutions 1970 and 1973 (2011).
“We will consider the humanitarian needs of the Libyan people and identify ways to support the people of Libya in their aspirations for a better future.
“A wide and inclusive range of countries will be invited, particularly from the region.
“It is critical that the international community continues to take united and coordinated action in response to the unfolding crisis.
“The meeting will form a contact group of nations to take forward this work.”