A former Labour MP has accused the Scottish Crown Office of behaving "deceitfully and disgracefully" over its handling of the Lockerbie bombing case.
Veteran Labour figure Tam Dalyell made the comments after a Tory MP called for a public inquiry into the release of the only man convicted of the atrocity Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi.
Mr Megrahi was finally released last year on compassionate grounds by Scottish Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill. Many, including a number of families of those killed, believe that Mr Megrahi was a scapegoat and should never have been convicted of the bombing. Others, including the US government, condemned Mr MacAskill's decision.
Mr Dalyell, an ex-Father of the Commons who repeatedly raised the issue of Lockerbie, said: "My political opponents Mr Salmond and Mr MacAskill were quite right to release Mr Megrahi.
"They know perfectly well that he is an innocent man in relation to Lockerbie. It is I suppose understandable that they cannot as SNP leaders say so, since to do so would reflect appallingly on the Crown Office in Edinburgh which has behaved deceitfully and disgracefully over 20 years and on the quality of Scottish justice."
He continued: "If in their heart of hearts they had thought Mr Megrahi guilty they would in my opinion certainly not have released him."
Tory backbencher Daniel Kawczynski, who is chairman of the Westminster all-party group on Libya, called for a public inquiry into the decision yesterday and said Mr MacAskill should apologise for the "huge error" in releasing Mr Megrahi almost a year ago.
Mr MacAskill has already said he would be prepared to assist any inquiry held into circumstances surrounding Mr Megrahi's release.
[From an article just published on the website of the Morning Star.]