As senior Scottish advocates have said that it would be impossible for the two accused to have a fair trial in Scotland because of press publicity, and as the Libyan Government have now stated that they will hand over the two accused to the Arab League for committal to trial in The Hague or anywhere else, would it not help those who lost their relatives and friends at Lockerbie to have the issue resolved? My right hon. Friend is, as we all know, basically a straight, decent person, so will he endeavour to solve the problem and stop simply engaging in the throwing of insults? Could we not solve it in the interests of those who lost their relatives and friends at Lockerbie?
I certainly want a solution to this problem. We would like a solution as much as the relatives, but we need a proper criminal trial and there are genuine and practical difficulties in trying to establish such a trial in a third country. I think that many hon. Members, including—if my hon. Friend will permit me to say so—me, would, on grounds of principle, find a trial in a third country very difficult to accept. [HON. MEMBERS: "Why?"] I shall tell hon. Members why. It could suggest that a trial in Scotland or the United States would not be fair.
I am not prepared to accept that premise in terms of a trial in Scotland. Nor do I think that it would be remotely attractive for us to allow alleged terrorists to dictate where they may or may not be tried. That would be a bad principle. The Security Council resolutions say that they should be tried in Scotland or the United States—two countries with a particular interest in the matter.
I have to add that I am very doubtful that the Libyans would deliver the accused for such a trial, even if one were to be set up, but, for the reasons that I have set out, the trial should be either in Scotland, which would be the preference, or in the United States.