Official Report

  • Meeting of the Parliament 01 March 2012
    • Climate Justice
    • Scottish Executive Question Time
    • First Minister’s Question Time
      • Engagements
      • Secretary of State for Scotland (Meetings)
      • Schmallenberg Virus
      • Childcare Provision
      • Children’s Hearings System
      • Lockerbie Bombing (Inquiry)
        • Christine Grahame (Midlothian South, Tweeddale and Lauderdale) (SNP):

          6. To ask the First Minister whether, in light of comments in the recently published biography of Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi, the Scottish Government considers that an inquiry into all aspects of the Lockerbie bombing is now urgent. (S4F-00502)

        • The First Minister (Alex Salmond): The only appropriate forum for the determination of guilt and innocence is the criminal court. As the Cabinet Secretary for Justice made clear yesterday, an appeal route remains open although, of course, the matter cannot be determined by the cabinet secretary. The cabinet secretary also explained the position regarding an inquiry staged by this Parliament.

        • Christine Grahame: Can the First Minister clarify who might have a locus to pursue any posthumous appeal on behalf of Abdelbaset al-Megrahi?

        • The First Minister: The primary locus would be thought to lie with the relatives of Mr al-Megrahi. However, as the cabinet secretary maintained yesterday, it is a matter for the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission.

          On the important issue of the Data Protection Act 1998 and the publication of the commission’s report, one of my greatest frustrations was to hear Mr Ashton claim that the Scottish Government is somehow trying to delay or prevent the full publication of the statement of reasons to the court. Nothing could be further from the truth. For the past three years, we have enthusiastically pursued a way to get the full report into the public domain. Given that, as the cabinet secretary said yesterday, we have now had television documentaries and a book that seem to be based, in part, on a partial explanation of what is in the full statement of reasons, my own view is that the case for full publication is irresistible. The full contents of the SCCRC report should now be made available to the public, hence the cabinet secretary’s renewed attempt with Kenneth Clarke to provide the protection from data protection provisions that would make that possible. I make one last observation. If the Parliament controlled its own data protection, we could do that very quickly indeed.

        • Lewis Macdonald (North East Scotland) (Lab): Mr Salmond and Mr MacAskill have told us often, since the event, that the release of Mr al-Megrahi on compassionate grounds was not dependent on the withdrawal of his appeal. Can the First Minister tell us today whether they ever made that clear to Mr al-Megrahi and, if so, when?

        • The First Minister: Lewis Macdonald totally failed to land a blow on the cabinet secretary yesterday, so I do not think that he is entitled to a rematch today. Kenny MacAskill made the position absolutely clear yesterday. If the member had thought up better questions yesterday, perhaps he would not be so frustrated today.

          12:34 Meeting suspended. 14:15 On resuming—
    • Scottish Executive Question Time
    • Living Wage
    • Decision Time
    • BBC Scotland (Job Cuts)