Lib Dem leader condemns bomber release 'cynicism'

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The release of Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi was a "picture of cynicism and buck-passing", Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg said today.

He told BBC News that the dying Libyan should have stayed in prison in Scotland and the UK's commercial interests in his country should not have influenced its decision-making.

He said: "That is a picture of cynicism and buck-passing when I think people want principle and integrity on these kind of issues.

"If the real thinking in British Government was that British commercial interests were so important that they outweighed the justice system in this country and in Scotland, at least they should have had the courage to say so, rather than at least hinting that's the fact to the Libyans but not coming clean to the British people."

He added: "I personally feel that, when someone is convicted in a court of law of murdering 270 innocent people, there is no commercial interest in the world, there is no oil deal in the world, which somehow justifies overturning that ruling."