Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie MSP today said that the first item of business on the new Cabinet Secretary for Justice’s desk must be to make a statement on claims that the SNP government used discussions over the possible release of the convicted Lockerbie bomber to their own ends.
Mr Rennie’s intervention follows the publication of excerpts from a new book by Kenny MacAskill, the former Justice Secretary who ordered the release of Abdelbaset al-Megrahi in 2009.
In his book, Mr MacAskill claimed he and former First Minister Alex Salmond sought new powers for Holyrood in exchange for accepting a prisoner transfer agreement covering Mr al-Megrahi.
Commenting, Mr Rennie said:
“In both 2007 and 2009 the First Minister said he had no involvement in the Prisoner Transfer Agreement and had not been consulted.
“Now Kenny MacAskill is claiming that Scottish Ministers were actively involved, and were trading away their objections in return for more devolved powers.
“People will be concerned. Many were alarmed at the time that Tony Blair struck a deal in the desert with Colonel Gaddafi. Now it is suggested that Scottish ministers were involved at the highest level in attempts to trade off their personal concerns in return for new Scottish powers.
“The first item of business on the new Cabinet Secretary for Justice’s desk must be coming to Parliament to set the record straight.
“We need to know whether the discussions that Mr MacAskill refers to in his book took place, who else was involved in these talks and what SNP Ministers thought was a fair price for their silence.”