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Volume 535: debated on Monday 14 November 2011

Our estimate on 12 October was that the net additional cost of operations in Libya would be £160 million. Our estimate at the same date of the cost of replenishing munitions used in Libya was £140 million. That estimate assumed that operations would continue until the end of December. We are currently calculating a new estimate based on the actual end of operations on 31 October, and I expect to make a further statement in early December. I expect the new estimate to be lower than the one previously given.

Given Libya’s vast oil wealth, does the Secretary of State think it might be appropriate in due course for Libya to make some form of compensatory payment to the United Kingdom for those costs incurred?

The UK’s motivation in intervening and playing a leading role in the Libya campaign was not based on an expectation of financial reimbursement; it was to prevent a humanitarian disaster and to protect the vital interests of this country. The Libyan situation, as hon. Members have already pointed out, remains fragile and our first priority is to assist the Libyan people and the Libyan Government in stabilising the situation. Seeking financial reimbursement is not a current priority.