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Blair facing renewed calls to reveal if he discussed IRA compensation with Gaddafi

By Deborah McAleese

Published 29/01/2016

Tony Blair meets Colonel Gaddafi in 1997
Tony Blair meets Colonel Gaddafi in 1997

Tony Blair is under pressure to reveal details of talks he had with Colonel Muammar Gaddafi about compensating victims of Libyan-sponsored IRA attacks.

The former Prime Minister has refused to appear before a parliamentary inquiry investigating claims he helped the dictator strike a deal that denied UK victims of terrorism compensation from the Libyan regime.

The Northern Ireland Affairs Committee has accused Mr Blair of supplying "superficial" written evidence to the inquiry and has requested details of meetings he had with Gaddafi.

Libya paid out £1bn to US victims of Libyan terrorist attacks in 2008, but UK citizens were excluded from the deal.

Mr Blair is accused of intervening in negotiations between Gaddafi and former US President George Bush that led to American citizens receiving payouts.

Following his refusal to give evidence in person to the inquiry, the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee has drawn up a list of questions that they want Mr Blair to answer.

In a letter to Mr Blair, committee chairman Laurence Robertson wrote: "The committee is disappointed by your reluctance to appear before us as we are not looking to implicate you in having tried to prevent the UK victims of the IRA from receiving compensation.

"We did, however, find your written evidence to the committee to be somewhat superficial, and there were further questions that it raised to which it would be helpful to have answers."

Some of the information the committee has asked Mr Blair to reveal includes the number of meetings he had with Colonel Gaddafi, whether the issue of compensation for UK victims of IRA terrorism was discussed at any of the meetings, and details of discussions that he had with former US President Bush about compensation for US victims.

The former Prime Minister has also been asked to respond to claims from IRA victims that he should have pushed for their inclusion in the settlement reached between the US and Libya.

Mr Robertson added in his letter: "Although we continue to believe these issues would be most effectively addressed through your appearance before the committee, in the interim I would be grateful if you could provide written answers to these questions."

In a letter to the committee in December, Mr Blair said the issue of compensation for IRA victims was never raised with him as far as he was aware.

Earlier this month, he declined an invitation to answer questions in person.

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