Justice Secretary Kenneth Clarke has warned that Colonel Muammar Gaddafi could stage another Lockerbie-style terror attack in revenge for Britain's involvement in air attacks if he remains in power.
He told The Guardian: "We do have one particular interest in the Maghreb (the western region of North Africa), which is Lockerbie.
"The British people have reason to remember the curse of Gaddafi - Gaddafi back in power, the old Gaddafi looking for revenge, we have a real interest in preventing that."
His comments came as Britain signalled that it expected Nato to take charge of all international military operations over Libya, including air strikes on Gaddafi's ground forces.
After Thursday night's agreement for the US to hand command of the international no-fly zone to Nato - following days of diplomatic wrangling - Foreign Secretary William Hague said he expected the rest of the military operation to follow.
"I have every expectation that the whole operation, including the protection of civilians on the ground in Libya by our air strikes and missile strikes, will also be part of a Nato command," he told BBC Radio 4's The World at One.
The Ministry of Defence said the threat posed Gaddafi's air defences had been reduced to a "negligible level" and coalition air patrols could now concentrate on hitting his tanks and artillery.
Mr Hague stressed that coalition patrols were doing their utmost to avoid civilian casualties, although he acknowledged that it was more difficult when Gaddafi's forces were attacking built-up areas like the city of Misrata in western Libya.
Meanwhile David Cameron, while attending the EU summit in Brussels, sought to keep up the pressure on leading regime figures to desert their leader, warning they could face prosecution for war crimes at the International Criminal Court if they stayed.
"The people who are around him and are obeying his orders should realise that that time is up," he said. "Don't obey his orders, walk away from your tanks, leave the command and control that you are doing, give up on this regime because it should be over for him and his henchmen."