Tony Blair insisted yesterday he had "no recollection" of Britain's alleged involvement in sending a dissident to be tortured in Libya and defended his government's "important" co-operation on terrorism with Muammar Gaddafi's regime.
The former prime minister, who met Colonel Gaddafi in Libya to seal a rapprochement days after Abdel Hakim Belhaj was secretly arrested and transferred to Tripoli at the apparent instigation of British intelligence agents in March 2004, said he believed the incident should be investigated but added he had no knowledge of the details of the case.
Asked on BBC Radio 4's World at One programme about the Belhaj case, Mr Blair, who as Prime Minister would have had the authority to approve the rendition, said: "I don't have any recollection of it at all."
He strongly defended the close ties he established with the Gaddafi regime. British intelligence is thought to have worked closely with Libya on identifying UK-based Islamists suspected of recruiting Britons to join the insurgency in Iraq.