SDLP leader and South Down MP Margaret voted against Libyan intervention in the House of Commons on Monday evening. Speaking afterwards she said,
“ The SDLP have real and very serious and concerns about the civilian costs of this military intervention. Military intervention should only ever be an option when all UN resolution measures and alternative approaches have been exhausted.
“We recognise the human tragedies already inflicted upon the Libyan people by Col Gaddafi. However, as with the Iraq War where many civilian lives were lost by allied military actions we are concerned that intervention at this time will only result in further civilian deaths in Libya, with the dangers of a humanitarian disaster and long-term military involvement.
“The focus should be on protecting civilians and removing the Gaddafi regime’s ability to attack their own people. Sources close to the airstrikes are already reporting that what is happening in Libya differs from the aim of imposing a no-fly zone, and what is required is the protection of civilians, not bombardment of more civilians. For these reason the SDLP voted against the Government.
“It is very important that the international community offers more than destruction to the people of Libya. When they eventually take power in their own country we must be prepared to offer reconstruction and support for democratisation free of any external strategic interests.”