British politicians smell blood over Lockerbie bomber
Opposition parliamentarians want an inquiry into reports that access to Libyan oil affected the British government's decision to allow convicted Lockerbie bomber to be eligible for release.
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Brown's Labour government "will not now escape the suspicion of a terrorist-for-trade deal unless they agree to the transparency of a full inquiry," Liberal Democrat Edward Davey said. "The Prime Minister can no longer hide behind (Scottish government) compassion for a sick man when it seems compassion for commerce was at the center of his government's thinking."
"We need a select committee inquiry so ministers and officials can be questioned about exactly what was said and done over relations with Libya," said David Lidington of Britain's Conservative party.
If the committee were to launch an inquiry when parliamentarians return to the Commons on Oct. 12, Conservative party MP Malcolm Moss said it would be possible to question former Prime Minister Tony Blair, who was responsible for securing a prisoner transfer agreement with Libyan strongman Muammar Qaddafi. Some Labour MPs may resist such an inquiry, reports the Times, "but if public anger at the bomber’s release grows, they may find their stance untenable."
The Scottish Parliament is set to debate the decision to release Megrahi on Wednesday.
Quit bashing Scotland!
Meanwhile, Scots have had enough of the international second-guessing.
"Rather than make Scots lose all faith in their leaders, the international mudslinging may have the paradoxical effect of stiffening Scottish spines," reports Newsweek, citing new polls that "suggest voters resent the overseas interference."
Despite Scottish opposition politicians' attempts to blast the government for marring Scotland's good name, "all this might ultimately help the country's ruling nationalists, who have proposed a referendum on Scottish independence to take place next year."
And Scots can feel good that antiapartheid icon Nelson Mandela on Sunday backed the decision to release Megrahi. Of all the world figures to back that decision, you'd be hard-pressed to find one more respected than the man affectionately known as Madiba.
Will it stop the flow of questions surrounding the sensitive topic, though? Unlikely.
Megrahi’s not that ill?
A Scottish parliamentarian who used to be a doctor has cast doubt on the claim that Megrahi only has three months to live, something key to his eligibility for release on compassionate grounds. Also, check out our piece on how the Lockerbie bomber’s release exposed a US-British divide on justice.