Lord Mandelson should be investigated over alleged links to Gaddafi regime, says Prime Minister

Daily Mail – March 2, 2011

Lord Mandelson should ‘immediately’ refer himself to an independent committee to investigate whether he has worked with Libyan dictator Colonel Gaddafi since leaving government, the Prime Minister said today.

David Cameron was responding to reports that the Labour former business secretary has worked with Gaddafi’s regime.

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean, Labour’s foreign affairs spokeswoman in the Lords, and Adam Ingram, the former Labour armed forces minister, are also suspected of being involved with the reckless dictator

Mr Cameron was asked by Tory MP for Rugby Mark Pawsey: ‘There is an independent committee which ensures that once they have left office, former ministers act appropriately in their subsequent appointments.

‘It is reported that Lord Mandelson, Baroness Symons and Adam Ingram have worked for the Gaddafi regime. Will you ensure that these are thoroughly investigated?’

Mr Cameron replied: ‘You make a good point. I am sure those ministers and ex-ministers will want to immediately refer themselves to that committee so their links can be looked into.’

The call for an investigation comes on another day of violence in Libya in which Gaddafi has reportedly ordered mass air strikes on towns and cities that have been taken over by protesters.

And as bombings and bloody battles prised back the towns of Brega, Gharyan and Sabratha, Gaddafi gave a speech broadcast on Libyan state TV in which he vowed to continue ruling with his system of ‘direct democracy’.

The dictator of the North African regime said the world did not understand the Libyan system that ‘puts power in the hands of the people’

‘We put our fingers in the eyes of those who doubt that Libya is ruled by anyone other than its people,’ he told an applauding audience shown on Libyan television, referring to his system of ‘direct democracy’ which he outlined in his Green Book political manifesto.

Gaddafi’s brutish politics and open defiance of world leaders’ calls for him to step down will embarrass those who have previously lauded his under-pressure regime.

Lord Mandelson had earlier this week launched a shameless defence of the Gaddafi family yesterday, claiming he and Tony Blair were ‘absolutely right’ to make friends with them.

The former cabinet minister even said Saif, the second son of Colonel Gaddafi, should have called him for advice on spinning a positive message before he made a bloodcurdling TV address last week.

Saif became friends with Lord Mandelson and the financier Nat Rothschild and the three men have holidayed together at the latter’s Corfu retreat.

Lord Mandelson highlighted his close relationship with former Prime Minister Tony Blair and the North African regime when he told how Mr Blair had made two telephone calls to Gaddafi.

Lord Mandelson is among a string of high-profile political and business figures whose dealings that the Libyan dictator have been exposed after recent events in the troubled country.

They include former MI6 spy Sir Mark Allen, London School of Economics research fellow Dr Alia Brahimi, Tony Blair’s intellectual guru Lord Giddens and Labour peer Lord Desai.

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