First time British troops ordered into fresh action under Cameron

THE military operations in Libya mark the first time David Cameron has ordered British troops into fresh combat operations and go some way to putting behind him the problems his Government faced over Libya.

When the uprising began in Benghazi Mr Cameron was one of the first and loudest voices calling for Gaddafi to go and for the international community to impose a no-fly zone.

However his Government faced widespread criticism when Foreign Secretary William Hague repeated incorrect rumours that Gaddafi had fled for Venezuela and over the slow speed of the evacuation operations of UK nationals.

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However Mr Cameron’s persistent diplomacy, alongside French President Nicolas Sarkozy, bore fruit with last week’s tough United Nations resolution, secured with American backing and the support of many Arab states and without the veto of either Russia or China.

The resolution appears to have come just in time to save the rebels, with Gaddafi’s tanks already entering the streets of Benghazi as the first French jets swooped into action.

Amid the exhilaration and uncertainty of the first days of war, Mr Cameron will not forget the example of Tony Blair who left office defined by war in Kosovo, Afghanistan and Iraq.

The Prime Minister has also made a point of telling MPs that – unlike the run-up to the invasion of Iraq – the Cabinet was fully briefed by the Attorney-General on the legal justification for intervention.

He has convened the Cobra emergency committee on an almost daily basis.