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Oxford was pressurised by Blair government to accept Gaddafi's son

By Richard Garner

The Blair government tried to pressure Oxford University into accepting Saif al-Islam Gaddafi as a student as part of diplomatic efforts to establish warmer relations with his father.

A senior Foreign Office civil servant contacted Oxford in 2002 to ask academics to accept the son of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi — two years before Tony Blair's “deal in the desert” with the Libyan dictator which formally re-opened diplomatic links between Britain and the regime.

The revelation comes in the long-awaited report by Lord Woolf into the LSE's Libyan connections, an investigation highly critical of the way the university accepted Saif Gaddafi as a student and later took a £1.5m donation from his charity foundation.

Oxford was repeatedly urged to accept Saif Gaddafi because it would benefit the British Government's efforts to establish warm relations with Colonel Gaddafi.

But academics refused, since Saif clearly lacked the academic qualifications required for entry.

Professor Judith Rees, director of LSE, said: “It's sad, and certainly very painful reading for someone like me who has spent most of their career at the school.”

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