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Cameron tells Commons that Brown and David Miliband did not provide full picture about their desire to see Lockerbie bomber released

Tim Montgomerie

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At 1pm today the Cabinet Secretary completed his review of government papers that covered the release of the Lockerbie bomber. The BBC's report of the review:

"The previous UK government did "all it could" to facilitate the release of Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi, a report on the case has said. Sir Gus O'Donnell, the country's most senior civil servant, said there was an "underlying desire" to see Megrahi released before he died. But his report concluded that it was made clear to Libya that the final decision was up to Scottish ministers."

The Prime Minister has just told the Commons that the report shows the decision to release Megrahi was taken by Scottish government and without pressure from Westminster. There was, he says, no conspiracy between BP, the Labour government and the Scottish government to have the convicted murderer of 270 people released. It also shows, however, that the previous Labour government did not tell the full story and, in the words of Gus O'Donnell, had an "underlying desire to see Mr Megrahi released before he died".

Mr Cameron repeated his view - stated at the time - that Megrahi "should have died in jail" and that it was a "bad decision" to release him. Megrahi, dying at home, was not a luxury he afforded people on the PanAm flight.  109 Labour ministers gave, he continued, "insufficient consideration" to the impact on opinion - in America and amongst the victims' relatives - of the release of the worst mass murderer in British history.

Sir Malcolm Rifkind, from the backbenches and Scottish Secretary at the time of the Lockerbie bomb, was more direct, saying the report showed Labour government was "up to it's neck" in the release of Al Megrahi.


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