Fightback begins against Blair’s EU presidency bid

By Ian Dunt

The fightback against Tony Blair’s aspirations to become EU president has begun with a vote in the Liberal Democrat conference calling for him to be prevented from taking the post.

Delegates in Bournemouth voted for the former prime minister to not be supported by any British or EU government for the post until an inquiry had established his role in the “formulation of British policy on torture”.

Lib Dem foreign affairs spokesman Edward Davey said: “No government can in good conscience support Tony Blair as a potential president of the European Council while it remains unclear what his role was in the development of British policy on involvement in torture.”

The vote came after a debate which saw party members call for a full public inquiry into allegations of complicity in torture by MI5 and MI6.

It follows recent revelations that the Met will be investigating the security services over the allegations.

Delegates also voted for the government to provide the inquiry with full details on each and every policy it has adopted over the last 20 years on how British officials should act in circumstances where they may risk being complicit in torture.

They demanded the immediate release of the summary of the 42 intelligence documents relating to the treatment of Binyam Mohamed and for the government to renegotiate the terms of its agreement with the United States over the use of Diego Garcia.

“With the police now investigating claims of complicity in torture against both MI5 and MI6, the government can no longer resist calls for a full judicial inquiry,” Mr Davey continued.

“Ministers must not be allowed to continue to hide behind ongoing police investigations.”