Downing Street has slammed Ed Miliband’s accusation that David Cameron is directly responsible for the deaths of migrants in the Mediterranean following the bombing of Libya and the toppling of Colonel Gaddafi.
The Guardian reports that Miliband was due to make comments in a speech today at the foreign affairs think tank Chatham House, saying he blamed the increase in the number of people traffickers using Libya as a launch site to Southern European countries on the failure to formulate post-conflict plans after the tyrant was shot in 2011.
But speaking on the Today programme shadow foreign secretary Douglas Alexander said he was not blaming the Prime Minister.
However, in a press briefing note journalists were told Miliband would say: “David Cameron waded in and then walked away.”
“He will say the refugee crisis and tragic scenes this week in the Mediterranean are in part a direct result of the failure of post-conflict planning for Libya.”
And in order to distance themselves from their support of the bombing campaign he was due to say the Labour Party supported military action which led to the unsettled state where Isis is making ground “to avoid the slaughter Gaddafi threatened in Benghazi.”
“Since the action, the failure of post-conflict planning has become obvious,” the note said. “David Cameron was wrong to assume that Libya’s political culture and institutions could be left to evolve and transform on their own.”
But when confronted with the accusations which were due to be made, Mr Alexander back-peddled furiously, accusing Downing Street of manufacturing a row “designed to obscure the facts.”
“The speech rightly highlights the loss of influence that David Cameron has overseen, and it also highlights the widely accepted failures in Libya where the international community rightly took action to prevent Benghazi being turned into a slaughterhouse and then has abjectly failed to engage in post-conflict planning. That is widely understood and recognised.
“The fundamental conceptual error by David Cameron in Libya was believing the political culture was akin to the political culture in Tunisia, one of the few bright stars in a dark sky after the Arab spring.”
However, one counter terrorism specialist told Breitbart London that anyone who supported the toppling of Gaddafi was at fault for the inevitable breakdown in order following his death.
“By killing Gaddafi the Government eliminated a strong leader, who in latter years had been a useful ally in the troubled North Africa region,” the former NATO advisor said. “The power vacuum there has certainly created ideal conditions for the people smugglers and for others of more dangerous intent to travel to the EU. The action also created mistrust of us in the UN.”
The recent deaths in the Mediterranean by migrants from across Africa looking for a new life in Europe where they anticipate well paid jobs and benefits has restarted the debate about a common migration policy for the European Union since the bloc is now border less from Southern Europe up to Calais.
The Leader of the Socialist Group in the European Parliament Gianni Pittella where Labour MEPs sit said that the summit had resulted in “some positive steps but the EU needs a real common migration policy based on solidarity.”
“Nevertheless, we cannot hide our concern and disappointment regarding the persistent and short-minded political selfishness on the issue of migrants’ burden-sharing, and on the lack of any approach that respects humanitarian and human rights.”
And the leader of the Liberals, Guy Verhofstadt, where the one remaining Liberal Democrat MEP sits called for a ‘Centralised Common European Asylum System’ and an EU issued blue card instead of work permits.
UKIP immigration spokesman Steven Woolfe was also critical of the Prime Minister, saying “the only thing he has a hold onto is the fantasy that he can do anything significant to control our borders.”
“What is worse, because of our membership of the European Union, and with it a complete inability to control the numbers coming from the EU, the only way that he can try to deal with the immigration problem is to exacerbate what is essentially a European only policy.”