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Tony Blair may face grilling from MPs over Gaddafi claims

Published 31/08/2015

Prime Minister Tony Blair was allegedly part of an effort to save Muammar Gaddafi during the 2011 military intervention
Prime Minister Tony Blair was allegedly part of an effort to save Muammar Gaddafi during the 2011 military intervention
Former prime minister Tony Blair may be called before the Foreign Affairs Committee

Tony Blair could be summoned before MPs over allegations he was part of an effort to save Muammar Gaddafi during the 2011 military intervention.

A biography of David Cameron has claimed the former Prime Minister approached Downing Street to say he had been contacted by "a key individual close to Gaddafi" and he wanted to "cut a deal".

According to the book, Mr Cameron decided not to follow up the approach because he wanted to avoid "doing anything which might be seen to give the Libyan leader succour". Gaddafi was later killed by rebel fighters on the streets of Sirte.

Crispin Blunt, chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee - which is conducting an inquiry into the Libya campaign - indicated it was likely to ask Mr Blair to come and explain his involvement.

He said Mr Blair would also be able to provide information about the policies the government pursued previously, when he oversaw a controversial rapprochement with Gaddafi in 2004.

"Any inquiry would have to have a look at that, and then the suggestion that he made an intervention during the course of 2011 certainly strengthens the case for having him come and give evidence," Mr Blunt added.

But the Tory MP stressed that the committee would approach Mr Blair's actions with an open mind. "We should avoid rushing to judgment," he told the Press Association. "We do not arrive at the start of this inquiry with a conclusion in mind."

Conservative backbencher Daniel Kawczynski, a committee member and the author of a book on Gaddafi, accused Mr Blair of indulging a "sordid" and "irresponsible" idea.

"I think it is very irresponsible for Mr Blair to even have suggested it," he told The Times.

Nadhim Zahawi, another Tory on the committee, told the newspaper: "With these revelations, we should be pushing for Blair to come and explain as part of the inquiry."

Other claims in the biography by Anthony Seldon, titled Cameron at 10 and serialised in the Mail on Sunday, included:

:: Former MI6 head Sir John Sawers said the intervention in Libya was for "humanitarian reasons" rather than in Britain's "national interest".

:: The ex-chief of the defence staff, Lord Richards of Herstmonceux, accused Mr Cameron of staging a "half-baked" campaign to oust Gaddafi and being more interested in a "Notting Hill liberal agenda" than"statecraft".

:: President Barack Obama refused to take Mr Cameron's calls for three days in the run-up to a crucial vote by MPs to authorise military action in Syria.

:: Mr Cameron became so frustrated with London Mayor Boris Johnson coveting his job that he told him to "f****** shut up" or Ed Miliband would end up as prime minister.

Downing Street has refused to comment on the claims.

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