Below is a copy of the letter of 5 November 2008 from Alex Salmond, the First Minister of Scotland to the Libyan embassy.
This letter was published eighteen months ago by the Scottish Government.
It relates to the Wikileaks news, all over today’s media, that Bill Rammell, a Foreign Office minister in the Labour Government of Gordon Brown was actively engaged in dialogue with Libya about the possible release of Megrahi, in spite of denial by the then British Labour Government.
A spokesperson for the First Minister said:
“The importance of this letter is that it shows beyond doubt that, regardless of whatever the then Foreign Office Minister Bill Rammell was communicating to the Libyan authorities, the First Minister made it absolutely clear that compassionate release could not be considered at that time because Megrahi did ‘not conform to the guidance on life expectancy for release on compassionate grounds’, and no application had been received.
It was an entirely different matter by August 2009 when the Justice Secretary took the decision, by which time Megrahi’s condition had become ‘hormone resistant’, and the report of the Scottish Prison Service Director of Health and Care said that his clinical assessment was that a three-month prognosis was a reasonable estimate, drawing on the work of a range of specialists and other Scottish Health Service professionals involved in Megrahi’s care from when he was first diagnosed with cancer in September 2008.”
The reference in the Wikileak cables that the First Minister said he would take the decision is “entirely wrong, and fourth hand information” – as we said on 7 December. This reference in the cable of 28 October is based on a conversation that the US Charge d’Affaires in London had with an FCO official who himself was reporting what he had heard about a discussion between the First Minister and Jack Straw.
What the First Minister said is that he would reply to the letter on behalf of the Scottish Government – which he did, on 5 November, rejecting consideration of compassionate release at that time.
OTHER COMMENT FROM THE SCOTTISH GOVERNMENT
“This leaves the former UK Labour government with all the questions to answer about its conduct.
“This diplomatic correspondence, much of which has already been made public, totally vindicates the Scottish Government’s position. We were clearly the only ones playing with a straight bat and interested in applying the precepts of Scottish justice, which we continue to do and continue to uphold. The cables confirm what we always said – that our only interest was taking a justice decision based on Scots Law without fear or favour, which was exactly what was done, and that our public position was identical to our private one.
“The decisions to reject the PTA application and grant compassionate release were taken by the Justice Secretary, according to the precepts of Scots Law.
“The cables also show that the former UK Government were playing false on the issue, with a different public position from their private one – which must be deeply embarrassing for the Labour Party in Scotland – and that the US government was fully aware of the pressure being applied to the UK Government.”
Remember the hypocrisy of the US Senators and the superficial bandwagon jumping by Holyrood's resident Labour ****hole, Richard Baker? Of course, Bill Rammell never told Iain Gray and Richard Baker what their Westminster masters were up to, otherwise they would have said so in the Scottish Parliament. Wouldn't they?