7 Sep 2009

Britain to support claim against Libya

7:41 pm on 7 September 2009

In a significant change of policy, the British government says it will help the families of IRA victims seek compensation from Libya, which supplied the Irish republican group with arms and explosives.

More than 100 victims of IRA violence have been seeking redress from Libya, the BBC reports.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown has previously said was not appropriate for his government to get involved, leading to accusations that he was afraid of jeopardising trade deals with Libya.

Mr Brown insisted his government's priority had been to ensure Libya renounced terror and nuclear weapons.

He said a "dedicated" team of officials would now help seek compensation for the families.

Opposition MPs described the move as a 'U-turn' and said it undermined the Prime Minister's authority and made Britain look weak.

A lawyer for the victims, Jason McCue, said he was overjoyed by Mr Brown's support, which he suggested could enable a compensation claim "to be cleared up within a matter of weeks".

Mr McCue said some families have campaigned for justice for more than 20 years.