UK Conservative Party accuses Brown of double dealing on Lockerbie bomber case

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London, Sep.2 (ANI): Britain's Conservative Party has accused Prime Minister Gordon Brown of double dealing with regard to the release of Lockerbie bomber Abdul Baset Ali al-Megrahi.

An official document has emerged claiming that Libya was told that Brown wanted the Lockerbie bomber to die a free man.

The disclosure threatens to undermine the Government's determinedly neutral stance over the release of al-Megrahi.

It could also deepen the rift with the Obama administration, which yesterday demanded answers from the British Government over its role in the affair, The Times reports.

Papers released by the Scottish government included the minutes of a meeting with Libya earlier this year during which it was stated that Bill Rammell, then a foreign office minister, told Tripioli that neither the Prime Minister nor David Miliband, the Foreign Secretary, "would want Mr Megrahi to pass away in prison".

Britain is already under pressure over its decision to strike a prisoner transfer deal with Libya in defiance of a decade-old pledge to Washington.

The Foreign Office insists that the US was never given an absolute commitment, but revelations that Jack Straw, the Justice Secretary, believed that such a deal would be in the "overwhelming interests of the United Kingdom" have infuriated US diplomats.

Philip Crowley, chief spokesman for the US State Department, told The Times: "It's really up to the UK to explain its current position."

Yesterday's release of documents in both London and Edinburgh also show the pressure being applied by business leaders on the Scottish government to release al-Megrahi.

Lord Trefgarne, chairman of the Libyan British Business Council, wrote saying that the possibility of al-Megrahi dying in prison would have "serious implications for UK-Libyan relations". If his return under the prisoner agreement was not possible then the executive should consider compassionate release, the Tory peer added.

Rammell, who visited Tripoli in February, last night did not dispute Libyan claims about the views he attributed to Brown and Miliband.

"Neither the Libyans or the Scottish Executive were left in any doubt throughout this entire process that this was a decision for the Scottish Executive over which the UK Government sought no influence," he added.

Tory leader David Cameron has demanded an independent inquiry into the whole episode.

"The British Prime Minister has got to be straight with the British people. For weeks he's been refusing to say publicly what he wanted to happen to al-Megrahi, yet we now learn apparently privately the message was being given to the Libyans that he should be released," Cameron claimed. (ANI)

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