Page last updated at 16:26 GMT, Tuesday, 22 September 2009 17:26 UK

Blair torture claim 'total lie'

Tony Blair
The Lib Dems say Mr Blair should not become EU president

Lib Dem claims that Tony Blair may have known about British complicity in the torture of terrorist suspects abroad has been dismissed as a "complete lie".

The Lib Dems say the ex-prime minister should appear before an inquiry into whether the UK condoned torture at all.

They are urging foreign governments not to support him for the new role of EU president until the issue is clarified.

But Mr Blair's spokesman said his government had never "authorised, condoned or colluded in torture".

At their autumn conference on Monday, the Lib Dems backed calls for a public inquiry into torture claims, saying ministers had failed to act on allegations that UK secret service agents had "systematically" used intelligence obtained through torture.

The party's foreign affairs spokesman Ed Davey said "a number" of allegations that government policy between 2002 and 2005 led to British agents being complicit in torture and it was "unclear what his (Tony Blair's) role was in the development of British policy".

Mr Davey said the probe would not be a "witch-hunt" but would seek to get to the truth of the extent of UK knowledge of torture, rendition and use of overseas territories in the illegal transfer of suspects.

The UK government has consistently repeated that it has never condoned or colluded in torture in breach of its international obligations.

"This is a complete lie from Ed Davey peddled simply to try and get himself some publicity," Mr Blair's spokesman said in response.

"As he has always said, neither Tony Blair, nor the government he led, has ever pursued a policy of authorising, condoning or colluding in the use of torture. He is opposed to it in all circumstances."



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