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Written by Student Rights on 1 March 2011 at 11am

Student Rights take LSE Libyan money issue to the Prime Minister

Yesterday, Student Rights Advisory Board member Robert Halfon MP asked the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, David Cameron, about the London School of Economics and the Libyan blood money that they accepted.  £300,000 has been donated to the LSE by the Gaddafi Foundation, as part of a £1.5m promise.  This followed Saif al-Gaddafi receiving his PhD from the LSE, over which questions are now being raised.

Robert Halfon (Harlow) (Con): My grandfather was one of thousands of Jews who had to leave Libya because of Gaddafi’s appropriation of Jewish businesses and homes, and he came to this country because of its democracy. He would have been shocked to have seen not only the close relations between the last Government and Gaddafi, but the acceptance by our distinguished universities, particularly the London School of Economics, of more than £1 million from Gaddafi. Will my right hon. Friend take steps to ensure that such a scandal never happens again?

The Prime Minister: My hon. Friend speaks with great power. What I have said about relations with Libya is that, while of course it was right to try to bring that country in from the cold, the question is whether parameters should have been put on the relationship. I think that it is for everyone to ask what agreements they reached. I heard the head of the London School of Economics on the radio this morning trying to justify one such agreement. Let us hope that at least the money that the LSE has can be put to a good use. There is now also an Early Day Motion before the UK Parliament calling for the LSE to donate the money to a charity assisting the victims of Gaddafi’s regime.  This adds further pressure to the LSE Council and Director, Howard Davies who served as an economic envoy to Libya under the Blair government.  Student Rights also have 250 signatories to our petition (see here).