Tony Blair Gaddafi
Former British PM Tony Blair with deceased Libyan dictator Muammar GaddafiReuters

Tony Blair is to be questioned by MPs on 11 December over links between his former government and the now-deceased Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi. The ex-prime minister will make a long-awaited appearance before the Commons Foreign Select Committee as it examines past diplomacy with Libya, circumstances surrounding the Gaddafi regime's collapse, and the UK's decision to launch air strikes on Libyan forces in 2011.

Blair, who will appear as a "witness" in front of the committee members at 10.30am, is expected to be asked about a number of deals he made with Gaddafi. They were said to have paved the way for the dictator to give up his country's weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) in exchange for the reopening of ties with the West.

A subsequent meeting between Blair and Gaddafi some months later in 2004 saw Anglo-Dutch oil giant Shell announce it had signed a deal worth up to £550m ($835m) for gas exploration rights off the Libyan coast.

The current government inherited its foreign policy approach to Libya from Blair's government, according to the Foreign Select Committee's chair, Crispin Blunt MP. He told the Independent: "He was the one who reset Libya; it was his signal achievement, he has claimed, to disarm Colonel Gaddafi of his weapons, his WMDs."

Blunt argued Gaddafi was able to "buy himself out of the sanctions regime", which had previously constrained him, even though he was "certainly a supporter of terrorists".

The committee is also likely to probe Blair about his government's controversial collusion with the Libyan regime's security agencies during his time as PM. This includes the UK's involvement in rendition programmes in which Gaddafi's opponents were said to have been handed over to the country's secret police in the knowledge they could be tortured.

One such opponent, Abdul-Hakim Belhaj, brought a case against the UK government and former foreign secretary Jack Straw after he and his pregnant wife were rendered back to Libya with the collusion of British agents in 2004. The pair were then abducted and tortured.

The committee may also look beyond Blair's time in government. As rebels sought to overthrow Gaddafi in 2011, Blair allegedly tried to save the beleaguered dictator, even reportedly calling Prime Minister David Cameron to broker a deal. Blunt said these revelations "strengthen the case" for Blair to be further probed on his dealings with Gaddafi, but added: "We should avoid rushing to judgment. We do not arrive at the start of this inquiry with a conclusion in mind."

Blair's appearance will be streamed live on Parliament's website here.