Thursday, 10 September 2009

Petition to set up public inquiry into Lockerbie

An online petition to the UK Prime Minister has been instituted. It reads: We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to launch a public inquiry to investigate the Lockerbie bombing.

I would have preferred the petition simply to refer to the "Lockerbie disaster" since there are those, such as John Parkes and Robbie the Pict, who contend, on grounds which are not fanciful, that the destruction of Pan Am 103 was caused, not by a bomb but by the explosion of munitions being carried as cargo. This explanation, as well as the various IED explanations, deserves to be explored. I would also have preferred the petition to refer to an "independent inquiry" since the demand that the inquiry be "public" makes it easier for the UK Government to resist on the ground that certain pertinent evidence is so sensitive that its public disclosure is not in the national interest: witness the assertions of public interest immunity advanced by the Foreign Secretary in Abdelbaset Megrahi's now-abandoned appeal.

However, notwithstanding these reservations, I shall be supporting the petition. British citizens or residents who wish to sign it can do so here.


  1. Hello,

    I set up the petition. Apologies for the incorrect wording. I'm hoping, however, that this kind of thing will be brought up in any subsequent public inquiry.


  2. That is to say, that I hope that the first public inquiry will explore the events of the day and the grounds of the conviction. It'll be a difficult enough struggle to get the government to agree to investigate it as it is. Quashing the conviction is paramount - the guilt of others can follow.

  3. As an inveterate Lockerbie petition organiser, I'm very surprised Mr Glendinning was able to slip this petition for a public inquiry past Number 10's rather efficient filtering system.

    Downing Street might however welcome such a petition at this juncture. The petition, which closes for signature on 9 December 2009, could be used by the UK at the UN General Assembly later this month to fend off the expected calls by Libya, the Arab League and the African Union for a 'United Nations Inquiry into the death of UN Commissioner, Bernt Carlsson, in the 1988 Lockerbie bombing' (see closed petition

    Despite these misgivings, I've signed Mr Glendinning's petition on the strict understanding that it's going to be a short sharp public inquiry - that is, neither a series of mini inquiries, nor a long drawn out Bloody Sunday type of inquiry.

  4. The Number 10 petitions website says that 500 signatures are now required to trigger an official response to a petition.

    I wouldn't be at all surprised to see, once this Lockerbie public inquiry petition closes on 9 December 2009 with, say, 600 signatures, that the required total of signatures is miraculously doubled to 1000!

    That's exactly what happened to my first petition which asked the Prime Minister to compensate and substantially increase the FCO pension of British diplomat, Patrick Haseldine, who was sacked for writing a letter to the Guardian 18 years ago.

    The full background and justification for this petition are set out in Patrick Haseldine's Wikipedia article. We believe that Patrick Haseldine was wrongfully dismissed from HM Diplomatic Service on 2 August 1989, having written a letter that was published in the Guardian newspaper on 7 December 1988. His sacking, and prior suspension for six months for appearing on BBC TV's "Question Time" on 25 February 1988, clearly constitute interferences with his Article 10 right to freedom of expression.

    Accordingly, Haseldine should be paid not only ex gratia compensation (on a par with the out-of-court settlement made in February 2006 to former Scottish police detective, Shirley McKie - see her eponymous Wikipedia article) but also a significantly enhanced FCO pension

    My petition had secured 126 signatures at its closure on 22 February 2007, when just 100 were needed for the official response.

    Notable signatories included:

    a. Sir Geoffrey Bindman, human rights lawyer;
    b. Iain McKie, father of Shirley McKie;
    c. Peter Preston, former editor of The Guardian;
    d. Michael Russell MSP, Scottish Minister for Culture, External Affairs and the Constitution;
    e. Dr Jim Swire, father of Lockerbie victim Flora Swire; and,
    f. David Winnick MP.

    By April 2007, Number 10 had surreptitiously revised the required number of signatures upwards to 200. Which meant that my petition's 126 signatories were denied an official response from the then Prime Minister (Tony Blair).

    Let us hope that the Lockerbie public inquiry petition ( doesn't suffer the same dastardly fate!

  5. At 6:00pm on 9 December 2009 the petition had a creditable 204 signatories.

    Another 296 people need to sign before midnight or the PM will simply ignore it.