Tony Blair gave superficial evidence to IRA-Libya inquiry, says MP

Michael McHugh

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.

Links between the IRA and Libya date back to 1972 when Gaddafi praised the group.

He later provided the IRA with the weaponry to wage an armed conflict which lasted 30 years and claimed many lives.

The dictator was ousted from power in 2011 and later killed during an assault on his birthplace.


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