Mandelson in Gaddafi son party row
Victims of Libyan-sponsored terrorism would be "sick to the stomach" at reports that Business Secretary Lord Mandelson had attended a country house social event with the son of the country's leader, Muammar Gaddafi, a Conservative frontbencher said.
The Spectator magazine said Lord Mandelson and Saif al-Islam Gaddafi were guests at a recent shooting party at Lord Rothschild's Waddesdon Manor in Buckinghamshire.
The two men reportedly met at Lord Rothschild's villa in Corfu days before the announcement earlier this year that Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset al-Megrahi was to be freed on compassionate grounds and Saif Gaddafi later accompanied the dying terrorist back to Libya.
According to The Spectator, guests at Waddesdon Manor also included former Prime Minister Tony Blair's wife Cherie, although neither she nor Lord Mandelson is reported to have taken any part in the shoot.
Conservative Scotland spokesman Ben Wallace said: "The hundreds of victims of Libyan Semtex will be sick to the stomach to see Lord Mandelson gallivanting around the countryside with Gaddafi's son. What does it say about the values of this government that it one week lobbies for the release of a terrorist and the next week indulges in country sports with this regime?"
And backbench Tory MP Greg Hands said: "This extraordinary revelation, if true, raises serious questions for Peter Mandelson. Once again, he is mixing up his private associations and his public duties.
"For years, he has been at the centre of Britain's relationship with Libya. People will question why the First Secretary thinks it is appropriate to enjoy country house weekends with the man who escorted al-Megrahi home to a hero's welcome in Libya."
A spokesman for Lord Mandelson said: "We do not offer a running commentary on Peter Mandelson's social engagements, but we can confirm that he has never taken part in a pheasant shoot and never will. He has always said he is happy to see Saif Gaddafi again if the occasion arose."