Tag Archives: abdelbaset ali al-megrahi

Opinion: Releasing Megrahi was the right thing to do

The release of Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, the only person convicted of the Lockerbie Bombing in which 270 people died,  on compassionate grounds is almost always described in the media as a controversial decision but I think it was the right one.

I accept the cynical case that his release was convenient to the Scottish government in many ways: it prevented his “martyrdom” in a Scottish prison; it may have helped the lucrative business of trading with Libya; it was helpful to the SNP government’s wider aims to
remind everyone about ways in which Scottish and English law (and, by extension, Scotland and England) …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 6 Comments

Labour and the SNP’s judgement in Megrahi case completely wrong – Campbell

Lib Dem MP and member of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee Ming Campbell has been commenting on the revelations about the Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi case:

The Labour government completely failed to take into account the horrific nature of the crime, the consequences and the sentence imposed when it took the view that it could assist the release of Mr Megrahi.

Equally in Scotland, the Justice Secretary failed to take account of these three significant factors when reaching a conclusion about the exercise of compassion.

If both had paid proper attention, the Labour government would not have been so embroiled and the Scottish

Posted in News and Scotland | Also tagged | 9 Comments

What the papers say…

Civil  servants are as bad as bankers … The Telegraph trumpets Gladstone’s anniversary … Tories support Labour’s school Sats Tests … Another dodgy Tory donor exposed … Labour split on voting reform … Lords skim expenses cream … BBC to make film on Thorpe tragedy … what Chris Huhne thinks of Prince Charles … Unions sit on money for Labour … look at who says Hauge is Vauge …and the only thing the final polls of the year can agree upon is that Liberal Democrat support is holding up

Now Civil Servants join bankers in ludicrous bonuses – Daily Mail,, 24.12.09

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Davey: ministers seem prepared to have given Gaddafi anything he wanted

Yesterday’s Times revealed that Jack Straw signed a secret deal with Libya three years ago guaranteeing the Libyan killer of a British policewoman will never be brought to justice in Britain:

The Libyan killer of a British policewoman will never be brought to justice in Britain after a secret deal approved by Jack Straw. The Foreign Office bowed to Libyan pressure and agreed that Britain would abandon any attempt to try the murderer of WPC Yvonne Fletcher, shot outside the Libyan embassy in London 25 years ago.

Anthony Layden, Britain’s former ambassador to Libya, said this weekend he had signed the agreement with the Libyan government three years ago, when Straw was foreign secretary. At the time Britain was negotiating trade deals worth hundreds of millions of pounds with Libya.

The deal followed a visit by Tony Blair, then prime minister, to meet Colonel Gadaffi in March 2004 after Libya announced that it was ending its nuclear weapons programme. The disclosure will provoke criticism of the government after the row over the early release of Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi, the terminally ill Lockerbie bomber.

Lib Dem shadow foreign secretary Ed Davey has condemned the move:

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Daily View 2×2: Thursday 3 September

Good morning, on this fine morning – Charlie Sheen’s birthday, and one of Nottingham Lib Dem’s “delivery days.” Here’s hoping for no rain for me and for Charlie.

Top stories

Unbeknownst to the rest of us, the Tories have carried out a coup:

Tories claim: we have seized control of Scotland Yard

The Conservatives have wrested control of Scotland Yard from the Home Office and now have its top officers working to their agenda, a senior aide to the mayor of London, Boris Johnson, has told the Guardian.

Kit Malthouse, the deputy mayor for policing, has declared that he and Johnson “have our

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Nick launches ‘Don’t Short Change Our Troops’ campaign

It’s been a busy day for Nick… speaking out on the Prime Minister’s contortions over the release of Mr Al Megrahi, confirming his intention to accept Sky News’s invitation to a televised leaders’ debate, as well as launching a new Lib Dem campaign, this one aimed at increasing the pay of the lowest-paid troops by £6,000 a year.

Here’s the summary of the new proposals:

The proposals, which would mean that no service personnel in the Army, Navy or RAF would receive less basic annual pay than a new-entrant police constable or development-level firefighter, would be funded within the

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Nick and Ming speak out on Megrahi

Nick Clegg, who has publicly opposed the Scottish executive’s decision to release convicted Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset Ali Al Megrahi, today responded to the news that Gordon Brown – who has remained silent about the case until today – let it be known to the Libyan authorities via his foreign office ministers that the Prime Minister did not want Mr Al Megrahi to die in prison:

The Foreign Secretary has now admitted that the British Government made its position on Megrahi’s release clear to the Libyans.

“It is now clear that Gordon Brown felt able to share his feelings with a power-crazed

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Haggis, Neeps and Liberalism #7: The Megrahi Documents

The Megrahi case has ripped apart the peace of the Scottish Parliamentary recess, with even some former Lib Dem leaders taking a differing view to our leader in Holyrood. Today the UK Government and Scottish Parliament have released papers relating to the discussions that have gone one over the last two years. It ranges from correspondence between Westminster and Holyrood, to memos of meetings with Libyan officials, to the compassionate release request listing medical conditions.

These start chronologically with the first letter from then-Lord Chnacellor Lord (Charles) Falconer to Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond outlining the Memorandum of Understanding that Westminster had set up with Libya regarding a number of judicial issues. The Memorandum was drawn up to look at increasing bilateral co-operation covering, amongst other things, commercial and criminal issues. The legal issues were not exclusively about Mr Al Megrahi, but looking at the bigger picture of co-operation between the two nations at large. However, Lord Falconer did say that nothing could be ruled in or out, but that co-operation and consultation between Westminster and Holyrood would be carried forward.

However, it the path of the UK’s justice secretary Jack Straw’s correspondence that sheds a lot of light on the situation, especially considering the Labour response in Holyrood.

Posted in Europe / International, Op-eds and Scotland | Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , and | 4 Comments

Daily View 2×2: 2 September 2009

Well, that’s it. August is over, nights are drawing in, it’s downhill to Christmas, and LDV’s daily 2×2 slot that’s more-or-less been on hold over the summer returns to its more-or-less 8am schedule to bring you two top news stories and two must-read blog posts from the world of Lib Demmery.

With just 120 days till the end of the year, 2nd September is the day the Great Fire of London broke out in 1666, the day Thomas Telford died in 1834, and Salma Hayek’s birthday. Happy birthday, Miss Hayek!

Two top stories

PM’s role in release of Megrahi

Gordon Brown

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Top of the Blogs: The Golden Dozen #132

Welcome to the 132nd of our weekly round-ups from the Lib Dem blogosphere, featuring the seven most popular stories according to click-throughs from the Aggregator (23rd August – 29th August 2009), together with a hand-picked quintet, partly courtesy of LibDig, you might otherwise have missed.

Don’t forget, by the way, you can now sign up to receive the Golden Dozen direct to your email inbox – just click here – ensuring you never miss out on the best of Lib Dem blogging.

As ever, let’s start with the most popular post, and work our way down:

Posted in Best of the blogs | Leave a comment

CommentIsLinked@LDV… James Graham: Nick Clegg – where have you been?

Over at The Guardian’s Comment Is Free blog, Lib Dem blogger James Graham has a pop at the Lib Dem leader for squandering the political opportunity presented by a quiet August. Here’s an excerpt:

Where was Nick Clegg when #welovetheNHS kicked off? He did, in fairness, manage to fire off a single tweet – 24 hours late – but the party made no attempt to use this as an opportunity to carve out its own distinctive agenda on health. Four days after his return to Libya, Clegg did manage to squeeze out a press release about Abdelbaset al-Megrahi but while criticising Gordon Brown for not making his own position clear declined to do likewise. Considering Clegg was calling for the summer recess to be cancelled just a couple of months ago, this does smack somewhat of dropping the ball. …

Posted in LibLink | Also tagged , and | 5 Comments

Daily View 2×2: 30 August 2009

2 Big Stories


Sunday Times: Lockerbie bomber ‘set free for oil’

Today’s Times has the big story:

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.

The Lib Dems Ed Davey – who has been leading the campaign for full disclosure over Mr Al Megrahi’s release – is quoted by the paper:

This is the strongest evidence yet that the British government has been involved for a long time in talks over al-Megrahi in which commercial considerations have been central to their thinking.”

Brown’s surprise Afghanistan trip scuppers Cameron

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Kennedy speaks out on Megrahi

While Nick Clegg has publicly disagreed with the SNP Scottish executive’s decision to release convicted Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset Ali Al Megrahi, former Lib Dem leader Charles Kennedy has joined David Steel in declaring his belief that the decision was the right one. Charles’s local paper the Ross-shire Journal reports his views:

The Justice Secretary faced an unenviable decision, in which neither of two practical options represents a good outcome. The whole tragic, tangled web of Pan Am Flight 103 raises profound issues of principle and of process.

“The most regrettable aspect of what has happened is that the appeal was withdrawn, and there is now no clear route to try to resolve all the doubts which surround the Lockerbie bombing and Mr Al-Megrahi’s conviction.

Posted in News | Also tagged , , , , and | 9 Comments

Lib Dems step up pressure on Brown over Lockerbie comments silence

Gordon Brown has, after five days’ silence, commented on the Scottish government’s decision to release on compassionate grounds Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi, the Libyan convicted of involvement in the Lockerbie bombing. Mr Brown said he was “repulsed” by the welcome Mr al-Megrahi received on his arrival home.

Ed Davey, the Lib Dems’ shadow foreign secretary, is unimpressed:

Gordon Brown’s comments on Lockerbie are a masterclass in evasion. When a decision is made by another politician, and has such grave international consequences, the Prime Minister’s refusal to say whether or not he supports it almost amounts to negligence.

“It is hard to see why he can’t tell us what he thinks of the decision to release a man who has been convicted of the worst terrorist attack in British history. As long as Gordon Brown remains silent on this issue, people will suspect he has something to hide.”

This appears to be yet another example of Mr Brown’s tin-ear for communication. It strikes me the Prime Minister had two choices, both of which are (to my mind) equally valid.

Posted in News | Also tagged , and | 18 Comments

Brown’s silence on Megrahi: “absurd” says Clegg, “right” says Steel

Nick Clegg has today condemned Gordon Brown for issuing no statement following the release on compassionate grounds of convicted Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset Ali Al Megrahi:

Although the decision to release Megrahi was a Scottish one for which Gordon Brown was not personally responsible, the fallout puts the UK at the centre of an international storm.

“In these circumstances, it is absurd and damaging that the British Prime Minister simply remains silent in the hope that someone else will take the flak.”

He went further on this lunchtime’s BBC Radio 4 World at One, openly criticising the decision of the Scottish Executive, saying, “I find it difficult to accept that someone convicted in a British court of law should be released as he was.”

But speaking on this morning’s BBC Radio 4 Today Programme his predecessor Lord (David) Steel – a former presiding officer of the Scottish Parliament – defended the Prime Minister’s stance:

Posted in News | Also tagged , and | 43 Comments

Daily View 2×2: 23 August 2009

The rest of The Voice’s Daily View team may have decided to have a lie in each morning during August, but we’re made of sterner stuff here on the Sunday slot. And as it’s a Sunday, it’s also time for the now traditional bonus musical extra.

Big Stories

The release of Abdelbaset al-Megrahi

The director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation has blasted Scotland for releasing Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset Ali Mohmet al-Megrahi saying the decision “gives comfort to terrorists.”

In a letter to Scottish Minster Kenny MacAskill dated August 21, FBI Director Robert Mueller said he was “outraged” at the decision to release Megrahi, who is dying of cancer, on compassionate grounds.

“Your action in releasing Megrahi is as inexplicable as it is detrimental to the cause of justice,” Mueller wrote. “Indeed, your action makes a mockery of the rule of law.

“Your action gives comfort to terrorists around the world who now believe that regardless of the quality of the investigation, the conviction by jury after the defendant is given all due process, and sentence appropriate to the crime, the terrorist will be freed by one man’s exercise of ‘compassion.'” (AFP)

Fraud allegations over Afghan elections

Reports of widespread and systematic fraud and intimidation continued to emerge amid delays in the counting of votes in the Afghan elections, raising the spectre of turbulence when the results are announced.

Allegations of ballot-rigging were particularly prevalent in the southern Pashtun belt. The region, which holds the key to the contest, also suffered from drastically low turnout due to Taliban violence and threats. There were accounts of the insurgents’ retribution against voters, including fingers being chopped off. (The Independent)

2 Must-Read Blog Posts

  • Paul Walter explains how his views of the party’s Real Women policy proposals are changing.
  • Simon Goldie’s post is probably the shortest that’s been highlighted in these round-ups, being basically just a link through to a provocative and thought-provoking article in the Financial Times.

(Both of these posts have been selected from those which appeared on Lib Dem Blogs on Saturday. To read more from other Liberal Democrat blogs, take a look at the Lib Dem Blogs website and to see what Lib Dems have been saying on Twitter, take a look at Liberal Tweets.)

Sunday Bonus

It’s Sunday. Ready your vocal chords. Hit play and sing along. You know you want to.

Posted in Daily View | Also tagged , , , and | 6 Comments
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