The conduct of the criminal investigation into the Lockerbie tragedy is in the hands of my noble and learned Friend the Lord Advocate, as is the conduct of the on-going litigation before the International Court of Justice. However, officials from my office are involved in consideration and discussion of the matter as appropriate.
In the light of yesterday's Adjournment debate, can the third most ancient Member of Parliament in parliamentary terms ask the second most ancient Member of Parliament in parliamentary terms whether, as a distinguished lawyer and Queen's Counsel, he is bothered that the investigation should have gone on for 10 long years? Are not crucial witnesses such as Vincent Cannistraro, Buck Revell and Oliver North naturally getting older and older? Would any trial be meaningful without their presence?
I do not think that I can accept my hon. Friend's comment that he and I are the most ancient Members of the House. I have known my hon. Friend for more years than anyone else in the House. He is the third most senior member and I am the second—perhaps that description would be more appropriate. I am aware of my hon. Friend's great interest in this subject and I have, in all seriousness, read the account of yesterday's debate in the House. However, the concern identified in my hon. Friend's question to me today is not one on which 1 can properly comment. It is a matter for my noble and learned Friend the Lord Advocate, who has conduct of the prosecution and, ultimately, for the court that tries the case.