No mission creep in Libya: Hague
There is no "mission creep" in Libya, Foreign Secretary William Hague has said after holding what he said were "inspiring" talks with rebel leaders in Benghazi.
Mr Hague made a surprise visit to the rebel stronghold as part of a co-ordinated mission as UK assault helicopters joined the Nato-led airstrikes for the first time.
He said he had a "fairly clear sense" of the make-up of the opposition group Britain backs to take control of the country but conceded that its plans remained "embryonic".
But the escalation of the military mission with the introduction of the Apaches has renewed concerns among MPs that it has gone well beyond the remit endorsed by the United Nations.
Mr Hague insisted Britain, which has repeatedly called on Gaddafi to go, remained "strictly within the United Nations resolutions" which was vital to maintain international support.
"We will continue in that vein, intensifying what we are doing and the Apache helicopters are a part of that but this is different from mission creep.
"This is not mission creep changing the nature of the mission; this is intensifying what we are doing in order to make this mission a success."
The action could still take "days or weeks or months" he conceded, and could require peacekeeping troops on the ground after defeat for Gaddafi - though not with British soldiers.
Army Air Corps Apaches - flying from HMS Ocean off the Libyan coast - saw a second night of action, using Hellfire missiles to destroy a multiple rocket launch system near Brega.
RAF Tornados also joined other Nato aircraft in what the MoD called a "major strike" on a large surface-to-air missile depot in the capital Tripoli.