London, Sep.6 (ANI): British and Scottish Members of Parliament are keen to know whether former Prime Minister Tony Blair played a role in a deal between Britain and Libya to secure the release of the Lockerbie bomber Abdel Baset Ali al-Megrahi at a meeting in a London club in 2003, long before either the Scottish government or Gordon Brown was involved.
According to The Independent, questions are being raised in Parliament over the meeting that Blair orchestrated that brought Libya in from the cold.
MPs are set to demand the minutes of an extraordinary cloak-and-dagger summit in London between British, American and Libyan spies held three days before Blair announced that Colonel Muammar Gaddafi was surrendering his weapons of mass destruction programme.
At the time of the secret meeting in December 2003 at the private Travellers Club in Pall Mall, London – for decades the favourite haunt of spies – Libyan officials were pressing for negotiations on the status of Megrahi, who was nearly three years into his life sentence at a Scottish jail.
Whitehall sources said the issue of Megrahi’s imprisonment was raised as part of the discussions, although it is not clear whether Britain or America agreed to a specific deal over his imprisonment, or a more general indication that it would be reviewed.
MPs are to investigate what was promised by Britain at the talks on December 16, 2003 and the role that Blair played in the affair.
Until now, the controversy over Megrahi’s release last month has centred on discussions between Gordon Brown’s government and the Scottish executive and Libya since 2007, with Blair apparently not involved in any way.
It has also focused on claims that the deal was related to oil deals, with Jack Straw admitting yesterday that BP’s interests in Libya played a “big part”.
But authoritative sources said the seeds for Megrahi’s release were sown in 2003, when Libya made the historic agreement to end its status as a pariah, and that the focus on oil and trade was a “red herring”.
Last night, a spokesman for Blair could not be drawn on the December 2003 meeting. (ANI)