House to Home with Amber Rudd MP

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My priorities for Hastings remain local issues, to do with transport, schools, hospitals and jobs.

I liaise with local groups and ministers to try to influence policy for the best result for our community. Next week I am particularly looking forward to the inquiry from our select committee into fisheries discards.

I am taking a lead in Westminster to make sure that our national and European policy is revised and improved to protect both our local fishermen and our fisheries stocks. But every so often, we have to look further afield. I believe we are in such a moment now. There are tumultuous events taking place in North Africa, starting from modest protests to full scale revolution. There is dramatic change going on across the top of a whole continent. The entire area is being re-shaped. This is the Mediterranean coast - it is close.

There will be consequences for us all depending on how the area settles down. British foreign policy is influential and relevant and we need to make sure that it stays that way.

In Libya, Colonel Gaddafi and his family have shown their true colours. He is dangerous to us and to his people. We are at a critical stage of deciding how to act to push for him to go. Sanctions have been agreed.

Now we need to push for a no-fly zone, so that he cannot fly over the protesters and murder them.

The last Government entered into five wars in its first six years. The new Government is not likely to make the same mistakes. This is relevant to us all. What sort of foreign policy do we want to have and at what point do we put our forces at risk?

I find that many people still want to talk to me about the mistakes made in Iraq and how we can get out of Afghanistan. All foreign policy also has a local impact both in terms of people wanting to know what is being done in our name, and in terms of actual soldiers and support staff going out into theatres of conflict to protect and fight for our interests.

But it is clear to me that we need to show strength and unity where a tyrant like Gaddafi is concerned. I hope we will get the no-fly zone to curb his dangerous behaviour. We need to achieve this in agreement with the other members of the United Nations.

We need to be ready to act, to be firm and above all to be united with other nations in our determination to get a peaceful outcome.