Hoey tells ministers to seize Libyan assets to compensate IRA victims

Ministers have been urged to use seized Libyan assets to compensate the victims of Muammar Gaddafi-backed IRA terrorism.

Kate Hoey said there was £9.5bn of Libyan assets sitting in our banks
Kate Hoey said there was £9.5bn of Libyan assets sitting in our banks

Labour former minister Kate Hoey told ministers they should take advantage of the “£9.5 billion” in Libyan seized assets to pay victims who are “literally dying”.

Ms Hoey, who sits on the Commons Northern Ireland select committee, said: “This has gone on far too long, there is £9.5 billion sitting in our banks and if we as a United Kingdom government cannot find a way to get some of that money to go to those people who are literally as we speak ill and beginning to literally die off then I think that is a shame on all of us here and a shame on this government.”

Later in the House of Commons debate Tory MP James Cartlidge touched on the compensation paid to Fatima Boudchar, who was kidnapped and returned to Libya in 2004 in a joint M16-CIA operation, to press the government to help terror victims.

The South Suffolk MP said: “It’s very timely given the statement earlier by the attorney general which revealed, and it may be entirely justified, that a Libyan citizen wronged by this government has today received half a million pounds of compensation.”

Fellow Tory MP Laurence Robertson (Tewkesbury), who secured the debate, said: “Time is running out for many of the victims. Losing any loved one through natural causes is bad enough, losing someone through an accident is perhaps even more shocking but how much worse must it be when that life has been deliberately taken such as through terrorism, but add to that grief the involvement of a foreign rogue state.”

Conservative Bob Stewart (Beckenham) said it was “indisputable” that the Gaddafi regime supplied weapons and explosives used by the Provisional IRA, and suggested that money earned in interest on the frozen accounts be used to compensate British victims.

“It is indisputable that so many innocent people have died as a result of Provisional IRA activity using Libyan-supplied arms and explosives,” he said.

“It is indisputable that other nations have ensured compensation for victims of Libyan-backed terrorism and it is indisputable that huge sums of Libyan cash is frozen in London’s banks.”