A meeting between Boris Johnson and a cross-party delegation on the issue of compensation for victims of Libyan-sponsored IRA terrorism has been described as “positive”.

Last month the Government came in for heavy criticism after snubbing a proposed compensation scheme.

Officials were responding to a report from the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee, and ruled out using the UK’s political or financial support to Libya to secure cash.

From the early 1970s the Gaddafi regime supplied arms, explosives, funding and training to the IRA.

Following Wednesday’s meeting with Foreign Secretary Johnson, Ulster Unionist peer Lord Empey said: “I have been involved in this campaign for some time now, and I am pleased to say it was the most positive meeting yet with a Government Minister.

“Boris Johnson was well briefed and clearly realised that successive governments have not adequately addressed the issue over the years.”

The delegation from the Parliamentary Support Group for victims of Libyan-backed terrorism was led by Conservative MP Andrew Rosindell. Also in attendance at the meeting were British Ambassador to Libya Mr Peter Millett and Foreign Office Minister Allister Birt MP.

“Ideas were discussed as to how this deadlock could be broken and resources directed towards long suffering victims,” said Lord Empey.

“The Foreign Secretary was asked why the Americans had got money for their victims while Britain had got nothing? The response was that the US had introduced a waiver that prevented Libya being sued in the US courts, whereas the UK had not.

“The question was also asked, had Tony Blair done a deal with Gadaffi that placed the interests of some oil companies over the interests of the victims?”

The aim of the meeting was to look at the possibility of setting up a task force to look at issues for victims of Libyan-backed terrorism.

He added that discussions about individual claims and resources and issues around mental health were also brought up at the meeting.

A Private Members Bill, the Asset Freezing (Compensation) Bill, will have its second reading in the House of Lords on October 27.

Belfast Telegraph Digital

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