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IRA victims demand Tony Blair should explain why they have not received compensation from Libya

Ex-PM faces claims he intervened in a compensation deal between Libya and the US which saw British victims of Libyan backed terror excluded.

Published 26/07/2015

Tony Blair has denied intervening in negotiations between Libya and US.
Tony Blair has denied intervening in negotiations between Libya and US.

Victims of Libyan sponsored IRA terrorist attacks have demanded ex-PM Tony Blair explain why they have not received compensation.

The former Labour leader is facing calls to appear before a parliamentary inquiry over his alleged role in helping dictator Muammar Gaddafi in a legal dispute with the US.

An email obtained by The Daily Telegraph suggests that Mr Blair, after he left Downing Street, intervened on behalf of Libya in the long-running legal row with the US.

Mr Blair is accused of intervening in talks between Colonel Gaddafi and President George Bush that led to American victims of Libyan backed terror attacks getting compensation.

However, the deal meant that the family of an American murdered in the IRA bomb attack on Harrods in London in 1983 eventually received as much as £10 million while British victims, including three police officers, have been awarded no compensation.

In the email Sir Vincent Fean, British ambassador to Libya, wrote to one of Mr Blair's aides: “On USA/Libya, TB should explain what he said to President Bush ... to keep his promise to Col Q [Gaddafi] to intervene after the President allowed US courts to attach Libyan assets.”

He added: “He [Blair] could express satisfaction at the progress made in talks between the US and Libya to reach a Govt to Govt solution to all the legal/compensation issues outstanding from the 1980s. It would be good to get these issues resolved, and move on. The right framework is being created.

“HMG is not involved in the talks, although some British citizens might be affected by them (Lockerbie, plus some UK Northern Irish litigants going to US courts seeking compensation from Libya for IRA terrorist acts funded/fuelled by Libya).”

Susanne Dodd, the daughter of Inspector Stephen Dodd (34) who was killed in the Harrods blast told The Daily Telegraph: “American victims got millions; we got nothing. I believe Tony Blair is to blame for that.

“I would like to see Mr Blair called to this inquiry to explain the email obtained by The Telegraph. Why should one life be more important than another? It appears to be because of deals done behind our backs.”

The Northern Ireland affairs committee will begin its inquiry in September into the lack of compensation from Libya for British victims of IRA attacks, which were backed in the 1970s and 80s by the Gaddafi regime through the supply of plastic explosive Semtex and other weapons.

In 2008 Libya paid out £1 billion to US victims of Libyan terrorist attacks but British victims were excluded from the deal.

Mr Blair has always insisted that there is no evidence to suggest he had intervened in the compensation case.

A spokeswoman for Mr Blair told The Daily Telegraph: “Mr Blair did not have any involvement with the terms of compensation, nor any discussion with President Bush on the matter. The email you reference merely expresses government policy at the time which was to re-engage with the Libyans after they gave up their WMD (weapons of mass desturction) programme and chose to co-operate rather than sponsor terrorism.”

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