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William Hague accuses Brown of losing moral compass over U-turn on IRA families and Libya

HagueSquare Gordon Brown's offer to support IRA victims seeking compensation from Libya has this evening provoked the following angry reaction from shadow Foreign Secretary, William Hague:

"The Prime Minister's announcement is a stunning admission that the Government has failed to support the families of the victims of IRA terrorism in their pursuit of compensation from Libya. This U-turn comes only after today's reports that Gordon Brown was personally involved in a decision not to engage Libya on this issue.

"The British Government should have provided active support as a matter of course not as a result of public pressure. But Gordon Brown and the Government he leads have long lost their moral compass and this is just another example of the disastrous mess and muddle in which they find themselves on the Megrahi affair."

The Government's previous line on the issue is here the form of the answer given to shadow Foreign Office Minister David Lidington by Bill Rammell on January 13th 2009:

Mr. Lidington: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the Prime Minister's meeting with the hon. Member for Belfast North and others on 10 December, whether he plans to press the Government of Libya to reopen the question of compensation to victims of terrorism in the UK; and if he will make a statement.

Bill Rammell: The meeting between the PM and the hon. Member for Belfast North and others on 10 December provided an opportunity for discussion on this issue. The PM is acutely aware of the sensitivities and frustrations of this issue, as he expressed during this meeting. I would emphasise that the Government does not condone in any way Libya's past actions and the victims of IRA atrocities have our whole hearted sympathy. We have tested the Libyan position on IRA compensation on a number of occasions and the US raised it on our behalf in August this year. Each time the Libyans have reiterated that they consider the matter closed. As the PM stated on 10 December, we will not therefore seek to negotiate a bilateral settlement on this issue with Libya. However, we will monitor the position of Libya in relation to this issue. The Government have already openly responded to queries on compensation for victims of IRA terrorism and will continue to do so. 

Jonathan Isaby


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