Sunday, 18 July 2010

Tory MP calls on PM to hold inquiry into Megrahi release

A Tory MP has made a fresh call for a full public inquiry into the release of the only man convicted of the Lockerbie bombing.

The chairman of Westminster's all-party group on Libya, Daniel Kawczynski, has written to the prime minister.

He urged David Cameron to hold Scottish ministers to account for their decision to allow Abdelbaset al-Megrahi home to Libya on compassionate grounds.

The Scottish government said an inquiry had already been held. (...)

The US Senate foreign relations committee said it would ask BP officials to testify after the company admitted lobbying the British government in 2007 over a prisoner transfer agreement (PTA) with Libya.

The Scottish government denied having any contact with BP before its decision.

A spokesman for Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond said the Scottish government had opposed the PTA between the UK and Libya, which was brokered by former prime minister Tony Blair.

The spokesman said Megrahi had been released on compassionate grounds.

"If the US Senate wants to get the truth about the 'deal in the desert' by the UK and Libyan governments in 2007, they should call Tony Blair to give evidence," the spokesman said.

"Blair was its architect - he would be the one who knows about an oil deal.

"Kenny MacAskill rejected Libya's prisoner transfer application for al-Megrahi and he based his decisions on both the PTA and the compassionate release application on strict justice criteria."

The spokesman added: "We have of course had an inquiry in the Scottish Parliament, and also by the Westminster Scottish Affairs Select Committee, which was very critical of the UK government for keeping Scottish ministers in the dark about Tony Blair's deal in the desert on a prisoner transfer agreement with Libya."

[From a report on the BBC News website.

I wonder precisely what powers Mr Kawczynski believes the Prime Minister (or, indeed, the UK Government) has to "hold Scottish ministers to account" in respect of a function (deciding on the compassionate release of a prisoner in a Scottish jail) that the law of the land confers upon the Scottish government. Or is this just a case of a British MP wanting to demonstrate that he can be just as daft and uninformed and publicity-hungry as a US senator?]


  1. Given the mounting cynicism and bad faith of all of this, I can't help but wonder if this late low-level Conservative agitation isn't really an excuse slyly to stick it to their Labour predecessors. After all, the accusation of "ducking responsibility" or attempting to slither out of accountability hardly seems to apply to MacAskill, whatever one made of his decision.

    For those opposed to the compassionate release, the persistent innuendo may serve to dazzle and distract a few voters, come some future election day. More importantly, by attacking SNP ministers, the Tories can readily anticipate the tale turning to Labour's deeds and misdeeds while in office.

    All the Tories have to do is waggle the vague accusation - and await ripostes citing Labour's Prisoner Transfer Agreement, with all of its murk and commercial bells and whistles. All in the best interests of the Coalition, you might think, to bring back to mind and reinforce perceptions of the outgoing government's record of murkiness, want of transparency and dodgy dealing.

    Alternatively, the man may simply be an idiot and the Machiavellian weighing of the costs and prospects of this are simply my own.


    See page 15 -
    "Mr. Obidi said that Mr. Megrahi had refused to see his doctor earlier in the day. He was apparently unhappy that the doctor's report had not made a sufficient case to persuate the court to grant interim liberation...."

  3. Tyoographical correction to quote above: "persuate" s/b "persuade".

  4. Just dangle the prospect of a UN Commission of Inquiry into the targeting of Bernt Carlsson on Pan Am Flight 103 in front of Frank Duggan, the four US Senators, Hillary Clinton, David Cameron and Daniel Kawczynski, and watch them all go scuttling away running for cover!