Gordon Brown says Scotland came under no pressure to free the Lockerbie bomber as part of a trade deal.
The British prime minister says the release of Abdel Basset al-Megrahi, who’s now reportedly in intensive care dying from cancer, was entirely up to Scotland.
Official documents show Britain didn’t want to damage ties with Libya but Brown denies there was a cover-up.
“On our part, there was no conspiracy, no cover-up, no double-dealing, no deal on oil, no attempt to instruct Scottish ministers, no private assurances by me to Colonel Gaddafi. We were absolutely clear throughout with the Libyans and everyone else that this was a decision for the Scottish government,” he said.
But Brown’s denial has failed to convince the leader of the opposition Conservatives who says al-Megrahi should not have been released.
“On the one hand Gordon Brown has completely refuse to give his opinion on the release of this mass murderer. But on the other hand was content for the Libyans to be told that he shouldn’t die in prison, that is double dealing,” said David Cameron.
Megrahi was freed on compassionate grounds last month, eight years into his life sentence for his part in the bombing of Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie in 1988. A total of 270 people died.
But the decision of the SNP minority-led government has also been roundly condemned by the Scottish parliament which voted to censure the move.
Only in Libya, it seems, is the outcome viewed as positive.
Film of his return was used by Colonel Muammar Gaddafi on Tuesday to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the revolution which saw him become Libya’s leader