Asset Freezing (Compensation) Bill vetoed

The long-running campaign by UK victims of Libyan-backed IRA bombings to pass a bill in parliament for financial compensation was dealt a new blow today, being vetoed in the Commons by a government whip, despite having passed in the House of Lords.

In what looks like a moment of desperation, an obscure parliamentary procedure was invoked to kill off the Asset Freezing (Compensation) Bill, a cross-party private members bill, which targets the  £9.5 million that Gaddafi held in the UK before his death.  No explanation for the intervention was given, just a single word; “object”.

Campaigners argue that, while US citizens who were injured on British soil have received six-figure sums from Gaddafi, British and Northern Irish victims have never had a penny.   A deal cut between the US and Gaddafi in 2008 explicitly excluded UK citizens.

A series of delicate evidence submissions to the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee by establishment figures including Tony Blair, have highlighted a certain sensitivity on the part of the British government as regards its own role in denying succour to its citizens.

While some have seen this as indicative of personal involvement on the part of Blair, it does not explain the squeamishness of subsequent Tory governments.

In December 2015, Blair wrote to the NI Affairs Committee to say that compensation for victims of Libyan-backed IRA attacks was never raised with him.  Further, he said, victims were already looked after.  “And of course a statutory compensation scheme for victims of terrorism in Northern Ireland was already in existence, having been set up by a previous government.  The needs of victims were therefore being addressed through the existing structures and mechanisms.”

Given that British victims say that they have never heard of such a scheme, let alone benefitted from it, what’s Blair’s game?  Is he making an implicit threat?

Northern Ireland, as a highly contentious part of the United Kingdom that many journalists are either too nervous or too bored to consider, is rarely scrutinised in Britain, being ‘other people’s business’.  Those other people include MPs sitting in Westminster, however, as well as taxpayers and an unnaturally high concentration of spooks.    Has Northern Ireland been designated as the tradesmens’ entrance for the UK?  Useful, sometimes vital, but not something to talk about in polite society.

This week Theresa May refused to meet Susanne Dodds, the daughter of a police officer killed in the 1983 Harrods bombing.  Today Dodds accused May of personal intervention in ensuring that Gaddafi’s money is kept safe from victims.

“Not only has the Prime Minister refused to meet me, she sent a government minister to object to the second reading,” she said. “It is disgraceful how the government are treating the victims.”

Lawyers for the victims, McCue & Partners, have been critical in the past of Blair’s agenda-setting prestidigitation – unsurprisingly, given McCue’s own part in securing a promise to pay from Libya’s transitional government back in April 2011.  The firm is particularly troubled by Blair’s insistence that Libyan-IRA Semtex compensation was a separate issue to that of Lockerbie victims and the family of  Yvonne Fletcher.  “Why is there so much secrecy surrounding this issue? The victims deserve to know the truth,” it said.

The UK government spent thirty years fighting to preserve both what it saw as its constitutional validity and the safety of its British citizens, so why is it now ignoring the latter, in order to maintain the cloud of unknowing over Northern Irish affairs?


  • OPB58

    Where is the special relationship between May and DUP to ensure victims are compensated? A serous failure for DUP parliamentary group.

  • johnny lately

    I suspect the British government don’t want to go down that road else they become the focus of compensation claims from all those victims families who’s loved ones were murdered with weapons imported into Northern Ireland by British intelligence and their agents.

  • grumpy oul man

    A strange decision. You have to wonder the reasoning for it.
    It would seem that a amnesty for soldiers who commited murder here is sexier than the plight of the victims of IRA violence and their relatives.
    Of course if lybyan money is used (because they supplied the ordinance ) it does set a precident for those killed by ordinance supplied by Britain or acquired by its agents.
    Johny lately might have a point.

  • john millar


  • chrisjones2

    And vice versa with Northern Irish families murdered by a PIRA armed by an Irish Minister using state money

  • johnny lately

    Was there not an inquiry and a court case around those allegations but like John below says post up your proof as your well known for claiming things that exist only in your own head.

  • chrisjones2

    There was and the politician was acquited while the Irish Army officer acting under orders was found guilty and hung out to dry. Haughey was sacked. Matter of record. The guns went to PIRA

    Then there was all the other evidence that came out in the in Smithwick Inquiry which found that the 2 RUC Officers were set up by a mole in the Garda and that the murder investigation in the Republic was stymied by political expediency and the determinatioin to deny that this was possible. That amounts to collusion

    There were other interesting snippets too nin Smithwick. For example in the Narrow Water Massacre forensic evidence in the Republic was deliberately destroyed and there was political interference to deny any Irish involvment in the murders. Again that was state collusion in murder

    I suggest you look the reports up – they are freely available

  • johnny lately

    So you have no proof that state money was used to finance weapons to be sent to the IRA.

    Regarding the Smithwick inquiry probably is not the same as definitely and theres more reason to believe those two police officers were set up by their own seeing as dead men dont talk an all that, fellow RUC officer and member of the Glenanne gang, John Weir in his testimony has lots to say about the activities of Harry Breen.

    Your talking absolute rubbish about Narrow water once again all in your own head perhaps you could provide links to your facts.

    Isn’t it a fact that the Irish government have publicly asked the British government to allow them or an international observer access to information they hold regarding the Dublin Monaghan bombings and have been denied or ignored.

    Another atrocity the British wish to hold back evidence from is Kingmills yet unionist like Tom Elliott brush that fact under the carpet and doesn’t Willie Frazer now believe Captain Robert Niarac was the well spoken terrorist with an English accent who called out the orders at Kingmills, just like the Miami Showband atrocity where a well spoken person with an English accent called out the orders and now questions are being asked about McGurks bar.

    If you have evidenc that any Irish government official or members of the Garda or IDF were complicit in the murders of RUC officers/ british soldiers or innocent citizens then post it up else your just making a fool of yourself Chris.