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Tonight, British forces are in action over Libya. They are part of an international coalition that has come together to enforce the will of the United Nations and to support the Libyan people.

We have all seen the appalling brutality that Colonel Gaddafi has meted out against his own people. And far from introducing the ceasefire he spoke about, he has actually stepped up the attacks and the brutality that we can all see.

So what we are doing is necessary, it is legal, and it is right.

It is necessary because, with others, we should be trying to prevent him using his military against his own people.

It is legal, because we have the backing of the United Nations Security Council and also of the Arab League and many others.

And it is right because we believe we should not stand aside while this dictator murders his own people.

Tonight, of course our thoughts should be with those in our armed services who are putting their lives at risk in order to save the lives of others. They are the bravest of the brave.

But I believe we should all be confident that what we are doing is in a just cause and in our nation’s interest.