Monday, 7 February 2011

Cameron already the winner in Lockerbie paper trail

Labour government "did all it could" to secure the release of Abdul Basset al Megrahi, the man convicted of the Lockerbie bombing, according to the first leak of documents on the case.

The Daily Telegraph in Scotland seems to have had an early peek at the Lockerbie papers which are due out at 1pm today.

Here's the link to what will be a developing story during the day.

Also to whet the appetite here's the Vanity Fair piece on the Lockerbie deal which claimed that the Scottish government was willing to release Megrahi in exchange for a deal on the Scotland Act that would close down compensation claims from prisoners over slopping out.

That was met with a 24 carat quote from Kevin Pringle, the First Minister's spokesman: who describes the claim as “complete and utter garbage without a shred or scintilla of truth.”

Claim and counter-claim is what this story will be about all day long - Just Joan McAlpine and Guido Fawkes have been going hammer and tongs on the issue via Twitter all morning for no clearly discernable purpose (other than the attention, I guess).

By the time the dust and papers have settled this evening I reckon only Cameron will be the only winner.

The Prime Minister is on his feet at 3.30pm in the Commons, reporting on the European security Summit in Munich, but he will take the opportunity to condemn the release of the all over again.

He won't have to do much to sully Labour, he is ably assisted by the media narrative, and the SNP will defiantly insist that the decision was taken on compassionate and distinctly Scottish legal grounds (just as Jack Straw wanted them to).

At the time Cameron disagreed profoundly with the decision to release Megrahi. He said: "this man was convicted of murdering 270 people and he showed no compassion to them."

That's the kind of line, in the setting of the Commons chamber, that will make it to the US news networks tonight.

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