Brown faces Lockerbie backlash

Gordon Brown faced renewed criticism for his refusal to discuss the release of the only convicted Lockerbie bomber after he maintained his silence on the issue despite releasing a statement praising the England cricket team’s Ashes victory.



Downing Street said that the release of Abdulbaset Ali Mohmed al Megrahi on compassionate grounds last week had always been one for the Scottish administration. However, it emerged that the Prime Minister would be writing to the England team following their win against Australia.

Both the Chancellor, Alistair Darling, and the Foreign Secretary, David Miliband, spoke out last week after the public anger over the hero’s welcome given to Megrahi on his return to Tripoli. President Obama and the head of the FBI have also condemned the release.

Nick Clegg, the Liberal Democrat leader, said that Mr Brown’s refusal to comment on the decision to release Megrahi had become “absurd and damaging”. He also revealed that he disagreed with the Libyan’s release. “Although the decision to release Megrahi was a Scottish one for which Gordon Brown was not personally responsible, the fallout puts the UK at the centre of an international storm,” he said.

Pressure has also been on Mr Brown to break his silence after revelations that he discussed Megrahi’s case with the Libyan leader, Colonel Gaddafi, when they met last month. He has also been asked to explain what advice was given to Holyrood on Megrahi’s application for release on compassionate grounds and a separate request to be transferred to a Libyan prison.

An official spokesman for the Prime Minister said that releasing a statement discussing Megrahi’s release was a “uniquely sensitive and difficult decision”. He added: “Clearly the Prime Minister recognises this was a very difficult decision, and was clearly an extremely sensitive one, and there will be very strong feelings from the families of those people who were victims of this terrorist attack.”

However, the spokesman did confirm that Mr Brown did not believe the decision to release Megrahi would give encouragement to terrorists. “This was a decision taken by the Scottish Justice Secretary in accordance with the laws of Scotland,” he said. “I don’t see that anyone can argue that this gives succour.”

A senior Tory MP has called for Parliament to be recalled to discuss the decision to free the Libyan. In an open letter to the Prime Minister, John Redwood, the MP for Wokingham, said that MPs had to be given the chance to debate the issue. “When you first took the highest political office in the UK you stated that you wished to restore the UK Parliament to a more central role in our democratic life,” he wrote. “You cannot be serious unless you today recall the UK Parliament, to meet later this week.

“We also want to know more about the UK’s relationships with Libya and the USA,” he added. He also said MPs needed an “urgent debate on the state of the economy”.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Life and Style
tech
News
The 67P/CG comet as seen from the Philae lander
scienceThe most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Arts and Entertainment
Ian McKellen as Gandalf in The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies
film
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Koenig, creator of popular podcast Serial, which is to be broadcast by the BBC
tvReview: The secret to the programme's success is that it allows its audience to play detective
News
Ruby Wax has previously written about her mental health problems in her book Sane New World
people
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executives - OTE £60,000

£25000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about Custom...

Recruitment Genius: Care Workers Required - The London Borough of Bromley

£15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This homecare agency is based in Beckenh...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executives - OTE £50,000

£25000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about Custom...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executives - OTE £50,000

£25000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about Custom...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas