David Cameron declines to appear before Commons committee holding Libya inquiry


David Cameron has declined to appear before a parliamentary committee to give evidence to its inquiry into Libya, citing diary pressures.

The House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee asked the Prime Minister in March to come before it to answer questions before the end of the current parliamentary session this month, in order to clear the way for it to publish its report on the UK's military intervention in the 2011 uprising against Muammar Gaddafi and its aftermath.

But Mr Cameron has now written to committee chairman Crispin Blunt to say that Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond had already provided evidence from the Government.

A committee spokeswoman said that the FAC would now press ahead with the publication of its report.

Prime ministers have traditionally refused to appear before the cross-party select committees of backbench MPs which scrutinise departmental policy, arguing that this is a job for individual ministers. Instead, they attend regular sessions of the Commons Liaison Committee, which brings together the chairs of all the select committees - with one such event taking place today.

In his letter, Mr Cameron told Mr Blunt: "I am afraid that, for reasons I am sure you will understand, the pressures on my diary in this period will not permit me to appear before the end of the current session of Parliament.

"But I know that the Foreign Secretary and other relevant parts of the Government have provided the Committee with a good deal of written and oral evidence, and I certainly do not wish to hold up the process of you producing your draft report."