|Alex Salmond's Scottish government is facing an embarrassing vote of censure after the crisis over its controversial decision to free the Lockerbie bomber deepened yesterday.|
Furious opposition leaders have forced Salmond to hold a parliamentary vote next week – which his government is expected to lose heavily – over the decision to send Abdelbaset al-Megrahi home to a hero's welcome in Tripoli last Thursday.
The first minister agreed to a fresh debate on the Lockerbie affair after MSPs were recalled to the Scottish parliament yesterday for an emergency session to hear the Scottish justice secretary, Kenny MacAskill, explain his decision to release Megrahi on compassionate grounds.
The Scottish Labour leader, Iain Gray, led the attacks by accusing MacAskill of a "deeply flawed" decision that had "damaged Scotland's reputation from start to finish". The minister had been "mishandling the whole affair from start to finish", he added.
MacAskill's discomfort grew after Gray later claimed the minister had misled parliament by claiming he was required to meet Megrahi in person earlier this month under a prisoner transfer treaty signed by the UK and Libyan governments.
Jack Straw, the UK justice secretary, had confirmed yesterday that this was not true, Gray said. MacAskill was only required to take written representations from Megrahi. "MacAskill has been caught out misleading parliament over his claim he was duty-bound to meet Megrahi in person," Gray added.
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Scottish government faces censure over Lockerbie bomber.
Good. Any officials dumb enough to believe Qaddafi promises while signing off on the agreement deserves to be embarrassed.