Blair’s evidence to IRA-Libya inquiry ‘superficial’

2007: Prime Minister Tony Blair meeting Libyan leader Colonel Muammar Gaddafi at his desert base outside Sirte
2007: Prime Minister Tony Blair meeting Libyan leader Colonel Muammar Gaddafi at his desert base outside Sirte

A senior MP has accused Tony Blair of giving “superficial” evidence to his inquiry into links between the IRA and Libya.

Mr Blair has declined to appear before a Commons select committee investigating issues surrounding compensation for victims.

Instead, the former prime minister has in writing strongly denied trying to stop them from receiving recompense.

Northern Ireland Affairs Committee chairman Laurence Robertson wrote to Mr Blair.

He 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.”

Muammar Gaddafi gave arms and Semtex explosives to the republican group during the Troubles.

Semtex from Libya became the IRA’s most devastating threat during the Troubles and caused the loss of many lives.

The committee is considering how UK victims can be compensated.

It had invited Mr Blair to give oral evidence.

Mr Robertson asked why Mr Blair’s administration did not espouse the claims of UK victims against the Libyan Government.

He also asked how many meetings the former prime minister had with Gaddafi whilst in office and after leaving office, and whether compensation was discussed.

The committee is exploring options for compensating the bereaved like using the frozen assets of the Gaddafi family.