The former Guantanamo prisoners who settled alleged torture claims for a reported £14m offered to forego any compensation in return for the release of the last remaining British detainee in Guantanamo - Shaker Aamer.

The revalation came in an exclusive interview with Moazzam Begg, one of the 16 former prisoners who will receive a payment in cases alleging the complicity of the British Secret Services’ in torture.

Mr Begg, the first detainee to speak out following news of the settlement broke, said the offer to forego the cash was made in a meeting with Justice Secretary Ken Clarke.

He said: “Ken Clarke met with the prisoners and talked to us. We told him very, very, clearly Shaker was our main concern in all of this above any financial compensation.

“We were even ready to forego that if that was the choice on offer - Shaker’s freedom or a settlement. But that was not on offer.

“All of us in the discussions made it very clear we all want Shaker back and that is more important to us than any monetary compensation. That was the view of us unanimously.”

Mr Aamer - a British resident from Battersea who is married to an English national - has been held in the Cuban prison since February 2002 despite never being charged with any offence.

Mr Aamer has been offered the settlement but, Mr Begg - who was detained in Guantanamo for two years from 2003 before being released without charge - believes, he can only accept that on his release.

He said: “The Government has shown it wants to settle these cases, but one of the outstanding things is there is no settlement until Shaker has settled.

“We have come to agreement, it is a different matter with Shaker, he is still in Guantanamo.

“We have to hear what he has to say and then he would be in a position to decide if he wanted to settle himself. No one can do that on his behalf.

“We maintain he should have returned years ago, the case isn’t settled and cannot be settled until he is returned.”

He added: “The Government got Binyam Mohamed [another British resident and former detainee] back to the UK, and he was accused of being involved in a dirty bomb.

“Shaker has never even been designated for charges. Binyam has no family in the UK, Shaker has a British wife and children.”

Mr Aamer, a father-of-four who has never met his youngest son, was captured in Afghanistan by the US in August 2001 and sent to Guantanamo in February 2002.

The US cleared him for release in 2007 but both the US and UK authorities blame each other for delays in his case.

“We have had extensive discussions with the Government at which his [Shaker’s] family was present and the Government told us the ball is in the US court,” Mr Begg added. “But if the British push hard enough they will get him back, I have no doubt in my mind.

“Ministers would not give us a timetable for release but they are a new Government and should be given the benefit of doubt - but the clock is ticking.”

Yesterday, Foreign Secretary William Hague said he had discussed the case with Hilary Clinton [US Secretary of State] and “reiterated our position that we would like to see this gentleman returned to the United Kingdom".

During his time in Guantanamo, Mr Aamer has spent more than a year in solitary confinement and alleges he has been beaten and deprived of sleep.

Mr Aamer’s case against the British Government is potentially more damaging than other detainees because he, unlike others, alleges MI5 interrogators were present when he was mistreated in Afghanistan.

Mr Begg said he was relieved the Government had finally arrived at a settlement offer but if it wanted to “turn over the page on Guantanamo” need to secure Mr Aamer’s release.

He said: “I’m glad its over, it could have dragged on for years on end. I probably would have pulled out.

“But we [detainees] don’t want to talk about the claims and settlements. We are all here and free. We want to talk about the person who is still in prison, Shaker Aamer.

“We want to make sure that issue is very much kept alive.”