Tony Blair used his final foreign trip as prime minister to sign a confidential deal with Moammar Gadhafi to train Libyan special forces and supply him with Nato secrets.
A copy of the accord obtained by The Daily Telegraph shows that the two leaders agreed to co-operate on defence matters in a range of areas, including exchanging information about defence structures and technology.
It was signed during the former Labour prime minister’s “Blair-well” tour of Africa in May 2007, in Gaddafi’s tent in the Libyan desert.
Included in the document was an agreement on “co-operation in the training of specialised military units, special forces and border security units”.
They also signed up to “exchanges of information on Nato and EU military and civil security organisations”. The document was personally signed by Mr Blair and Gaddafi.
A passing reference to it was contained in a joint communique between the two countries, which was issued at the time and posted on the Foreign Office website before being removed a few weeks ago.
The full version of the accord makes clear the extent to which Mr Blair agreed to co-operate with the Gaddafi regime on defence matters.
Under the terms of the deal, Britain was committed to “exchanges of information and views on defence structures, military and security organisations; exchanges of visits by experts and exchange of printed materials in the field of military education and science; exchanges of information on current and developing military concepts, principles and best practice, and the conduct of joint exercises”.
The two countries also agreed to co-operate in “training in operational planning processes, staff training, and command and control; training of personnel in peace support operations; training co-operation relating to software, communications security, technology and the function of equipment and systems; exchanges of information and experience in the laws of armed conflict; and the acquisition of equipment and defence systems”. In the Commons, David Cameron criticized the last government’s approach to Libya.
Asked by Ed Miliband, the Labour leader, to say sorry for the faltering evacuation of Britons from Libya last week, the Prime Minister hit back: “Perhaps if apologies are in order you should think about one – the appalling dodgy dealing with Libya under the last government.
“I do think there are lessons to learn from what was the deal in the desert. The last government was correct to encourage the giving up of the weapons of mass destruction but I think more parameters should have been put on the relationship.”
Patrick Mercer, the Conservative MP, said: “The events of the last few days show just how misjudged many of Tony Blair’s judgments were. Just four years on from when he got into bed with Gaddafi, the Libyan dictator is now on the run. I wonder if the former Prime Minister now feels that this accord with Gaddafi really was such a triumph.”
Mr Blair did not comment.