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What’s this going to do to the Megrahi debate?

August 29th, 2009


Sunday Times

Was it a “murky” deal for oil after all?

The main lead in the Sunday Times tomorrow looks set to take the Megrahi release debate into new territory for the paper says it has leaked ministerial letters suggesting this was all about an oil deal with Libya.

This is how the story starts: “The British government decided it was “in the overwhelming interests of the United Kingdom” to make Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi, the Lockerbie bomber, eligible for return to Libya, leaked ministerial letters reveal.

Gordon Brown’s government made the decision after discussions between Libya and BP over a multi-million-pound oil exploration deal had hit difficulties. These were resolved soon afterwards.

The letters were sent two years ago by Jack Straw, the justice secretary, to Kenny MacAskill, his counterpart in Scotland, who has been widely criticised for taking the formal decision to permit Megrahi’s release.

The correspondence makes it plain that the key decision to include Megrahi in a deal with Libya to allow prisoners to return home was, in fact, taken in London for British national interests.”

If this is as the story reports then it could be explosive for both the Scottish and British governments.

Polling news: The August MORI is out in the Observer and has with changes on last time COM 43 (+3): LANB 26 (+1): LD 17 (-31) – so in line with almost every poll in August with changes in line with the margin or error.

Mike Smithson