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

Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair 'privately urged' Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi to flee the country to avoid capture or being killed when the Libyan dictator's regime was crumbling, Hillary Clinton's emails have revealed. The controversial private emails of the former US secretary of state were released under the American freedom of information laws.

Blair, who was at that time a special envoy to the Middle East for the UN, US, EU and Russia, told Gaddafi through a phone call, "If you have a safe place to go then you should go there, because this will not end peacefully unless there is a process of change. That process of change can be managed and we have to find a way of managing it."

The message was revealed in an email dated 25 February 2011, between Blair's head of strategy, Catherine Rimmer, and Jake Sullivan, the top foreign policy advisor to Clinton, shortly after the uprising in Libya began. Rimmer said Blair made the call "very privately" and had delivered a "very strong message" to end the violence.

Blair also indicated he was ready to intervene with Western governments to negotiate a "managed" process of political change before the situation reached "the point of no return", Rimmer told Sullivan. The email emerged from the 55,000 pages of emails submitted by Clinton's lawyers to the State Department which have been publicly released at intervals at the end of every month under a judge's orders depending on what's classified and what's not.

The fresh details put the spotlight yet again on the former PM's soft stand on Gaddafi. It all started when a biography of David Cameron, Cameron At 10, by Sir Anthony Seldon claimed Blair tried to intervene with Downing Street during the Libyan uprising. He supposedly contacted Cameron's office saying the Libyan leader wanted to "cut a deal" with Britain. But Cameron who ordered RAF air strikes against Gaddafi's forces did not take up the offer. The rebels overran Tripoli in August that year, with the dictator captured and killed two months later.

The chairman of the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee, Crispin Blunt has already said he would like Blair to appear before them after the biography made the claims. The committee is also likely to question Blair on the infamous "Desert-Deal" made between Blair and Gaddafi in 2004, in which the Libyan dictator allegedly agreed to renounce terrorism in exchange for lucrative oil contracts from British Petroleum (BP). Though an official summons has not been issued to the former PM, it is expected soon.