Monday, 7 February 2011

Lockerbie- what Brown said, and didn't say

Other people, like my good friend Paul Waugh, have commented that any British Prime Minister would have come to the same conclusion as HMG that it was in Britain's interests to have the Lockerbie bomber released before he died in gaol.

Not to pre-empt Cameron's statement - he has previously said he would have let the man rot in prison - there is one respect in which he would have handled this differently from Gordon Brown.

Remember at the time of Megrahi's release, with all the ensuing saltire-waving in Tripoli, there was not a squeak out of Prime Minister Brown.

It was a moment when he could have said he had personally written to Gaddafi warning him not to celebrate the release, but instead there were days and days of radio silence from the PM.

Two weeks later Brown said that his silence had been prompted by his determination to focus solely on persuading the Libyan regime not to make Megrahi's release a subject of celebration once he returned to Tripoli.

He said: "There was no conspiracy, no cover-up, no double-dealing, no deal on oil, no attempt to instruct Scottish ministers, no private assurances by me to Colonel Gaddafi."

He said the Lockerbie bombing was a "terrorist act of the gravest brutality", but added that Libya had moved from being a sponsor of international terrorism to being an ally in the fight against nuclear proliferation.

"It is in all our interests and Britain's national interest that Libya rejoins the international community. So it was the duty of those responsible to look at all possible outcomes of the Megrahi case and their effect on our relations with Libya and on international terrorism and nuclear proliferation."

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