David Blackburn

Gadaffi was the magnet that sent the government’s moral compass awry

Gadaffi was the magnet that sent the government’s moral compass awry
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The al-Megrahi story has rolled on for two weeks, and CoffeeHousers have probably had more than their fill; but every morning brings new revelations that undermine the government’s position further. Today, the Sunday Times reports that Gordon Brown, having been in favour of such a deal initially, vetoed the proposal that Libya pay compensation to IRA victims who were killed with arms supplied by Gadaffi. In a letter to the victims’ lawyer, dated 7 October 2008 (around the time Alex Salmond urged Jack Straw to take advantage of the fact that the PTA had stalled by renegotiating the agreement to exclude the Lockerbie bomber), Brown wrote: “The UK government does not consider it appropriate to enter into bilateral discussion with Libya on this matter.”  

Bringing Libya back into the international fold was important, and it is good news that Britain has benefitted commercially. But the determination to protect those benefits saw the government make excessive, if not reprehensible, concessions. Libya should compensate the victims of its vicarious terror, and the Prime Minister should have fought for that at all costs. The unravelling of the government's cover-up has demolished any claim it had to moral credibility.