Holyrood opposition emerges as pressure builds on London

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Holyrood opposition MSPs have joined together in order to attack the Scottish government as the transatlantic row over BP’s Libyan oil deals threatened to turn the spotlight onto London.

The emergence of Labour’s Richard Baker and the Conservative’s Annabelle Goldie coincides with demands that Westminster publish all documents relating to the notorious ‘deal in the desert’.


Holyrood opposition MSPs have joined together in order to attack the Scottish government as the transatlantic row over BP’s Libyan oil deals threatened to turn the spotlight onto London.

The emergence of Labour’s Richard Baker and the Conservative’s Annabelle Goldie coincides with demands that Westminster publish all documents relating to the notorious ‘deal in the desert’.

The two have attacked the Scottish government’s decision not to accept the invitation for Ministers to attend the Senate hearing into events leading up to the release of Mr Megrahi.

Annabel Goldie, Scottish Tory leader, said: “A no-show would only fuel suspicion that they have something to hide. We need clarity, not confusion.”

Richard Baker, Scottish Labour justice spokesman, said: “Kenny MacAskill is running away from criticism as fast as Alex Salmond is running away from responsibility for the decision.
 
“Only Kenny MacAskill can explain his decision to release the man convicted of the worst terrorist atrocity committed on Scottish soil.”

The Scottish government has instead offered to provide written answers to any further questions the senate committee may have.

Mr Salmond reiterated that the only documents held by the Scottish government relating to the affair, that are not already in the public realm, are correspondence received from the British and American Governments and both have thus far refused permission for them to be released.

“That being the case, I believe I have offered all assistance that could reasonably be expected of an overseas government and respectfully decline your invitation for Scottish ministers to appear at the hearing,” the First Minister said.

Also invited to appear is Labour’s former Justice Minister Jack Straw.  Mr Straw has yet to decide whether to accept the invitation saying that he would first consult former PM Gordon Brown.  Thus far it is not known if a similar invite is to be extended to Tony Blair who attended the secret ‘deal in the desert’ with Col Gadaffi.

The hearing followed letters written by four US senators who had questioned the medical evidence given to Kenny MacAskill and the role of BP after the oil giant won contracts on the back of the prisoner transfer agreement between the then Labour government and Libya.

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