Straw won't attend Megrahi hearing

By Andrew Grice
Saturday 22 October 2011 22:05

Jack Straw last night refused to give evidence to a United States congressional hearing on the release of the Lockerbie bomber.

The former Justice Secretary said he could not help the Senate inquiry because he had "absolutely nothing to do" with the decision to free Abdelbaset al-Megrahi on compassionate grounds last August. Its Foreign Relations Committee is investigating whether BP lobbied for Mr al-Megrahi to be sent back to Libya to help it to win an oil contract.

Kenny MacAskill, the Scottish Justice Secretary, also confirmed he would not accept an invitation to testify as he had "no information to provide" on alleged lobbying by BP. Congressman Eliot Engel said he was "very disappointed" by the decisions.

Mr Straw, who negotiated a prisoner-transfer agreement with Libya, wrote to the committee: "I had absolutely nothing to do with that decision. I saw no papers about it, and was not consulted about it."

Senators will hold a hearing next Thursday, and wanted to take evidence from Mr Straw, Mr MacAskill and the BP chief executive Tony Hayward. Although Tony Blair's name was on a draft list of potential witnesses, a formal request for him to give evidence was not made.

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