Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Britain's ambassador to US faces axe over release of Lockerbie bomber

[This is the headline over a report on the Mail website. It reads in part:]

Britain’s ambassador in Washington is facing the axe over his role in the Lockerbie affair.

Diplomatic sources say Sir Nigel Sheinwald will be made the scapegoat for the diplomatic spat because he helped broker Tony Blair’s ‘deal in the desert’ with Libyan dictator Colonel Gadaffi.

British sources say they have been told by American officials that Sir Nigel is too close to Lockerbie case because he helped arrange lucrative Libyan contracts on behalf of BP, the company at the heart of the row.

The ambassador, who took up his post in 2007, would usually be expected to serve another two years. (...)

Senior coalition figures want to push Sir Nigel into retirement since he is also seen as a New Labour throwback after serving as Tony Blair’s senior foreign policy adviser.

A British source in Washington with close links to the Embassy said: ‘Sir Nigel is seen as tainted by the Lockerbie affair. The Tories have been looking for a way to ease him out for a while and this should help speed things along nicely.’

While the Scottish Government took the final decision to release Abdelbaset al-Megrahi on ‘health grounds’ after he was given just three months to live, the Government had already signed a prisoner transfer agreement paving the way for his return.

[You read it first here.]

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