Docklands IRA victims plan mass lobby of MPs after Compensation Bill is scratched

Killed by IRA Semtex bomb at Canary Wharf in 1996... newsagent Inan Bashir, 27, and shop-worker John

Killed by IRA Semtex bomb at Canary Wharf in 1996... newsagent Inan Bashir, 27, and shop-worker John Jeffries, 29, remembered at 2016 anniversary - Credit: Archant

Survivors of the 1996 IRA bombing at Canary Wharf in east London are to stage a mass lobby of MPs after the Government killed off the First Reading of a Parliamentary bill that could release funds for compensation.

Anger erupted after a Conservative whip used an obscure Commons procedure on Monday to derail the Asset Freezing Compensation Bill, already through the Lords.

It could be used to unfreeze £9.5 billion in assets the Libyan dictator Colonel Gaddafi had stashed in London before his assassination in the 2011 Libyan uprising.

Some of the cash could be spent to compensate victims and their families including those at Millwall’s Barkantine Estate on the Isle of Dogs who still suffer today.

Gaddafi was responsible for supplying the Semtex used by the IRA for the massive bombing of the Midland Bank HQ in March, 1996, which killed two men and injured more than 50 other people.

“It’s heartbreaking that a senior MP blocks the Bill that gave us hope to alleviate the suffering we’ve faced for 21 years,” Docklands Survivors’ Association founder Jonathan Ganesh tells tomorrow’s East London Advertiser.

“I have no idea why anyone with an ounce of compassion would block something to help victims.”

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The government said the assets cannot legally be touched as they are frozen under a UN resolution.

Jonathan, a Midland Bank security guard who was rescued himself trapped in the rubble, is planning a mass lobby of MPs at Westminster next Tuesday.

“Our campaign goes on.” he insists.

“This was a chance to make a stand against terrorism. It was the only chance in history for a democratic parliament to sent a message to every terrorist around the world that if you kill or maim an innocent citizen, you’ll be held to account eventually.”

The Bill gets a second reading on March 24—but the Docklands campaigners fear the Government might block it once and for all.

Jonathan lost two friends in the bombing, newsagent Inam Bashir, 27, and shop-worker John Jeffries, 29, both killed outright.

Many IRA atrocities were carried out with Semtex explosive supplied by Gaddafi, including attacks on Harrods in Knightsbridge in 1986 and the Royal Horse Guards at Hyde Park Corner, as well as Canary Wharf 10 years later.