Tobias Ellwood said former Prime Minister David Cameron’s decision to order air strikes against former Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi was right because there was a “duty to protect” civilians during the country’s 2011 revolution.
However, Manchester bomber Salman Abedi’s strong links with the North African country have brought renewed scrutiny about Britain’s role in Libya in the aftermath of Gaddafi’s removal from power.
Tobias Ellwood claims the UK should have done more to prevent chaos in Libya
Since the 2011 revolution, the country has descended into an almost anarchic state, with rival governments and arms factions fighting for power at the expense of civilians.
As a result, the country has become a central hub of the refugee crisis, with thousands of boats having been launched towards Europe from the war-torn nation.
Speaking about the Libyan campaign at a Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) event, Mr Ellwood said: "I really do believe that not knowing the full outcome of events is not reason for inaction."
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He referred to the duty to protect civilian areas before adding: "But we didn't do it to try and transform Libya and do something else.
"We did it to support the people of Libya against a criminal and indeed a terrorist himself with what he did with the Pan Am flight and so forth.
"There were elections, there was a Prime Minister, there was a transition council as well and then also, of course, a general national congress.”
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Mr Ellwood heroically tried to save PC Keith Palmer after he was stabbed in the Westminster attack
The Bournemouth East MP hopeful, who also served as a captain in the Royal Green Jackets military unit, continued: “It was 40 years of misrule in a very complex society with huge tribal constructs across there, after 40 years all these tribes found they had a bit of space, a bit of elbow room, and yes perhaps we could have done more but we were asked to leave, the international community was asked to take a step back from its involvement.
"But, yes, there have been consequences of that which we now need to work with the Libyans to make sure that Derna and Sirte and places like this, where Daesh has now moved itself because we've been succeeding in Iraq, is not able to train those people that causes the harm in places like Manchester."
Manchester bomber Salman Abedi, who is of Libyan descent, was influenced in part by the people who formed little-known al-Qaeda affiliate Libyan Islamic Fighting Group.
The toppling of Gaddafi has not brought peace to Libya
Shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry, who was also speaking at the event, said: "There is absolutely no excuse for murdering 14-year-old girls because they are wearing miniskirts, and there is no negotiation with Daesh or with ISIS who simply want to attack our way of life."
Ms Thornberry said she voted for the 2011 intervention, adding: "But I didn't vote for it to continue in the way that it did and to fundamentally destabilise Libya."
Asked if there was anything the UK could have done about that, she responded: "I think we had to know when to stop."