MP backs Bassingbourn Barracks plan

Andrew Lansley

Andrew Lansley - Credit: Archant

A POLITICIAN has backed government plans to use Bassingbourn Barracks as a training ground for the Libyan Armed Forces.

South Cambridgeshire MP Andrew Lansley has called it a “good thing” that the UK is working with other G8 nations to promote long-term stability in Libya, following the country’s civilian uprising in 2011.

He said: “As a recently vacated base, Bassingbourn is an appropriate choice for this project. I am very grateful for the personal assurance I have received from my colleagues at the Ministry of Defence on this issue. They have told me all those coming here will be properly vetted and secured on the base.”

Bassingbourn Barracks closed down in March following the army’s withdrawal last year. This led to protests by residents when all the clubs and societies based there were evicted.

Mr Lansley added: “My principle regret is that this does frustrate our hopes for a positive outcome, both for the many clubs operating from the site, and for its long-term outcome. Of course, these are issues which I will continue to pursue for my constituents.”

The Prime Minister announced at last month’s G8 summit the UK would be one of several countries helping to train the Libyan army.

The barracks will be home to up to 2,000 Libyan personnel, who will be brought to the UK in a number of small groups for 10-week courses.

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Fears have been raised by some residents, but a Bassingbourn parish councillor, who asked not to be named, said: “We have just got to accept these things. There may be occasional problems or misunderstandings but these issues come with any project. Too many people hold a not-on-my-doorstep attitude and it is not productive.”

Members of the Libyan Armed Forces are expected to arrive later this year.