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Army chief admits it was 'extraordinarily difficult' to control barracks where Libyan soldiers were based

General Sir Nicholas Carter Credit: WO2 Will Craig/MoD/PA Wire

The head of the Army has admitted it was "extraordinarily difficult" to control the base where five Libyan soldiers accused of sex crimes were stationed.

General Sir Nicholas Carter said the alleged attacks were "completely beyond the pale" and "absolutely regrettable" as he appeared before the Commons defence select committee.

More than 300 members of the Libyan armed forces training at Bassingbourn Barracks near Cambridge, are being sent home following the allegations.

The Chief of the General Staff said he knew that some of the Libyans had sought political asylum. Asked if he thought that was appropriate, he replied "No, probably not."

The soldiers will now go home within days.

Bassingbourn is not a prison camp. It is extraordinarily difficult to control it, in that sense. From our perspective, we've done everything that we have tried to do to motivate and to be focused entirely on training. Indeed, we have run an extremely tough walking out policy in conjunction with the Home Office who have helped in all of this and the upshot is that it is absolutely regrettable that this has occurred."

– General Sir Nicholas Carter

PM says 'What happened in Bassingbourn is completely unacceptable'

David Cameron said 'What happened in Bassingbourn was completely unacceptable Credit: ITV News Anglia
Bassingbourn barracks, Cambridgshire Credit: ITV News Anglia
Andrew Lansley MP, South Cambridgeshire Credit: ITV News Anglia

The Prime Minister David Cameron has spoken out about the Libyan soldiers accused of sex attacks in Cambridge.

The MP for South Cambridgeshire Andrew Lansley challenged the Prime Minister to act during PMQs.

He asked for assurance that the soldiers would not be able to claim asylum and that the Ministry of Defence would give his constituents a full accounting for the failures in the delivery of the programme.

David Cameron said that what has happened at Bassingbourn is completely unacceptable.

David Cameron responding to Andrew Lansley's question Credit: ITV News Anglia

"These are criminal actions and I have asked the chief of the defence staff for a report into this. The decision was taken at the National Security Council, which I chaired, on the 28th of October to end this training altogether. The trainees will be returning to Libya in the coming days and in the mean time all un-escorted visits from the cam have been stopped altogether."

– Prime Minister David Cameron


Residents say Libyan soldiers have been seen frequently off base

People living in Bassingbourn say they've been worried about going out in the village after 5 Libyan soldiers training at the nearby barracks were arrested for sex attacks.

The Government has now confirmed that the 200 soldiers who have been training at Bassingbourn barracks since July, will be sent back to Libya in the next few days.

Click below to watch a report by ITV News Anglia's Olivia Paterson.

MP calls for halt to training of Libyan soldiers near Cambridge

Andrew Lansley MP says MoD should stop Libyan training programme in Cambridgeshire. Credit: Dan Kitwood/PA Wire/Press Association Images

A Cambridgeshire MP says Libyan soldiers should no longer be trained at Bassingbourn Barracks following a string of sex attacks.

Three Libyan men, who are undergoing training at the barracks, were charged with sexual assault after three women were attacked in Cambridge last Sunday.

The South Cambridgeshire MP Andrew Lansley says the Ministry of Defence should end the training programme at the base.


Cambridge parking charges may rise


New car parking charges are being proposed for Cambridge from 1 April next year.

Cambridge City Council’s proposals mean that short stays of one, two or three hours at the Grand Arcade, the Grafton Centre and Park Street car parks will cost 10p more from April. At Queen Anne Terrace car park short stays will increase by 10p per hour.

Longer stays on Saturdays at the Grand Arcade and Park Street will increase by a maximum of 10p per hour, with the cost of six hours’ parking at Queen Anne Terrace going up by 30p.

Season ticket holders will see prices increase by £10 per quarter for 24-hour and office hours’ permits.

“We are listening to the requests of retailers by limiting increases in prices for car parking this year, where changes are on average in line with the rate of inflation. “However, we are keeping to our plan to beat the queues at peak times by offering cheaper alternatives to the busiest car parks on Saturdays, and continuing to discount the cost of parking at off-peak times, such as evenings and overnight.”

– Cllr Kevin Blencoe

Transport minister visits sections of the A14

The A14 which crosses the region has long been a nightmare road for many motorists - not least the thousands of lorry drivers who get stuck in jams on it each day.

Now there may be light at the end of the dual carriageway - with improvement works being carried out and major changes planned for the route.

Today Transport Minister John Hayes visited a stretch that is being widened near Cambridge.

Abellio Greater Anglia disruptions likely to continue until at least 19:30

Disruption on Abellio Greater Anglia between Norwich and Ipswich due to person hit by a train between Norwich and Diss.

All lines are currently blocked between Norwich and Diss. Pasengers travelling between Norwich and London can travel via Cambridge. Abellio Greater Anglia expect disruption to continue until around 19:30.

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