European Council and North Africa — Statement

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 8:12 pm on 7 February 2011.

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Photo of Lord Steel of Aikwood Lord Steel of Aikwood Liberal Democrat 8:12, 7 February 2011

My Lords, I am sure my noble friend will understand that the trauma and horror of the downing of the Pan Am flight was felt particularly strongly across the south of Scotland, where we all felt sympathy with the people in Lockerbie. For that reason, I will confine my questions to that issue.

He will recall, as he said a moment ago, that the previous Government told the public and the House of Commons that this was entirely a matter for the Scottish Government and that they were not putting pressure on them. That is true. Would he agree that Sir Gus O'Donnell has shown, as he quoted a moment ago, that policy was developed whereby the UK Government were doing everything short of telling the Scottish Government what they had to do to secure Mr Megrahi's release and that we have to conclude that the Government were telling the truth but not the whole truth?

The other part, not mentioned in the Prime Ministerial Statement which the Minister repeated just now, is that Sir Gus O'Donnell's report also tells us that the Scottish Government were raising other policy issues with the UK Government at the same time as dealing with that difficult and grubby issue. That had not come out before, either. Sir Gus's report appears to cast some doubt on not the veracity-because lies were not told-but the straight-forwardness of both the UK Government and Scottish Government at the time. In the words of the final sentence of a Scotsman leader this morning, "Something is being concealed".