Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Cameron: ‘Megrahi should have died in jail’

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

David Cameron has said Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset al-Megrahi "should have died in jail".

The Prime Minister made the comments as he sought to calm renewed criticism in the United States of his release amid fresh questions over the role played by oil giant BP.

Mr Cameron, making his first official visit to Washington since taking office, said the decision to free al-Megrahi had been "profoundly misguided" but denied that the beleaguered oil giant had been in any way involved.

Earlier, No 10 said that Mr Cameron had now agreed to meet a group of US senators who are pressing for a new investigation into the case.

Previously, officials had said that Mr Cameron was unable to find time for talks with the senators in his "very full schedule" and had instead offered them a meeting with the British ambassador Sir Nigel Sheinwald. (...)

During a radio interview in Washington, he said: "I will say to them (the senators) that I agree that the decision to release al-Megrahi was wrong. I said it was wrong at the time.

"It was the Scottish Government that took that decision. They took it after proper process and what they saw as the right, compassionate reasons. I just happen to think it was profoundly misguided.

"He was convicted of the biggest mass murder and in my view he should have died in jail. I said that very, very clearly at the time; that is my view today.

"Of course BP has got to do everything necessary to cap the oil well, to clean up the spill, to pay compensation. I have met with BP and I know they want to do that and will do that.

"But let's be clear about who released al-Megrahi... it was a Government decision in the UK. It was the wrong decision. It was not the decision of BP - it was the decision of Scottish ministers."

[So much for the "respect" that the Tories said would characterise the new government's dealings with the Scottish government (and other devolved administrations). So much also for the policy of building bridges to the Libyan regime.]

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