Inquiry urged into Lockerbie bomber release

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Indy Politics

A UK public inquiry should be held into the release of the Lockerbie bomber, a backbench Tory MP said today.

Daniel Kawczynski, who chairs the Westminster all-party group on Libya, also called on Scottish Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill to apologise for the "huge error" in releasing Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi almost a year ago.

David Cameron is expected to face criticism from American politicians over claims that BP lobbied for the release of Megrahi to secure an oil deal, as the Prime Minister flies into the US today for his first official visit since taking office.

Mr MacAskill has already said he would be prepared to assist any inquiry held into circumstances surrounding Megrahi's release.

But Mr Kawcynski, the MP for Shrewsbury and Atcham, told BBC Radio Scotland today: "Clearly Mr MacAskill has made a huge error which has impacted on British foreign policy.

"So far, I haven't heard any explanation or apology from Mr MacAskill and it's very daunting for relatives of those who have died when ministers make decisions which turn out to be flawed, then they're not prepared to account for themselves and not even prepared to apologise.

"I would like to take this opportunity of asking Mr MacAskill to make an urgent statement and an apology for the gross error that he has made."

Mr Kawczynski said the "national Parliament" at Westminster is not able to hold Mr MacAskill to account for the decision.

"That's why I think the only way to do it is to have a national public inquiry."

Four US Democrat senators last week asked Britain to investigate the release of Megrahi, who has terminal cancer.

They want an inquiry to examine claims that oil giant BP lobbied for his release to smooth an exploration deal with Libya. An influential senate committee is also to examine the case.

The Scottish Government released Megrahi from prison on compassionate grounds in August last year after medical advice indicated he had less than three months to live.

Megrahi is the only man to have been convicted of the Lockerbie atrocity, which saw 270 people killed in the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 on December 21 1988.

His release from Greenock Prison was met with anger, especially among victims' relatives and politicians in the US.