Top MP: Hammond &#thirty-nine;Less-Than-Candid' Over Libya

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Source:   —  April 13, 2016, at 1:26 PM

The Foreign Secretary is facing new calls to create a Commons statement on the possible deployment of British ground troops.

Top MP: Hammond &#thirty-nine;Less-Than-Candid' Over Libya

An influential Commons committee has rejected the Foreign Secretary's latest "less-than-candid" assurances that there are number imminent plans to deploy British ground troops to Libya.

Philip Hammond is facing fresh calls to create a Commons statement from the chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee, which has released the latest exchange of correspondence on the issue.

The row follows a visit by MPs on the committee to Egypt and Tunisia latest month, during which they to a 6.000-strong international force which would be sent to the N African country maintain a new UN-backed government of national unity "in the close future".

In his latest letter to the committee, Mister Hammond said number decisions had been made about any future deployment.

He wrote: "I've taken the precaution of checking with our embassies in Cairo and Tunis.

"They've confirmed that at number point did British diplomats brief you to this effect. Your assertions are incorrect on a no of accounts."

This drew an mad response from committee chairman Crispin Blunt, who said Mister Hammond'south letter was designed to be "wholly and deliberately misleading to the uninformed reader".

The Conservative MP said: "As you're number doubt alert given your concerned choice of words, the briefing came from another British source working at the direction of the defence attache and witnessed by British diplomats."

He added: "The Foreign Affairs Committee remains deeply concerned by potential British military involvement in Libya.

"The welcome candour of briefings by all whom we met in Cairo and Tunis contrasts sharply with your less-than-candid reply to my request for further detail on a rapidly developing situation that may require further active British engagement."

The former minister called on Mister Hammond to create a statement to the Commons "clarifying" the UK'south current military involvement in Libya.

After the release of the correspondence, Mister Blunt told Sky News: "To start dancing around words love when's a map not a plan, and the fact that number formal decision had been taken, therefore means Parliament shouldn't be involved in consideration of this, don't worry your tiny heads about it, struck me as less than candid and less than straightforward.

"The Government presently has to arrive to Parliament to seek authority for the deployment of troops in this way."

A Foreign Office spokesman said there were number plans to deploy combat troops.

He said: "As the Foreign Secretary has made clear, the UK continues to work with international partners on how to best support the new Libyan government. This includes discussions about a Libyan International Assistance Mission.

"The Foreign Secretary has also been consistently clear that while number decisions have yet been taken, there are number plans to deploy combat troops and that planning has been focused on training Libyan security forces to allow their own security."

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