Former Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott has today (Wednesday) said that he has no has no objection to the release of Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi.
In comments which undermine the position of Labour’s leader in the Scottish Parliament Iain Gray – when asked on Sky News if he had any objections to al Megrahi's release, Mr Prescott said:
“No, I don't have any objections. If the man is dying, if compassion is part, as it is, of the Scottish administration and the medical authorities then get proof to that effect, then it's a decision for the legal authority. You know, Scotland has always had a great deal of independence of its legal authority, going back many years, so we have to respect that decision. And I do.”
Commenting on Mr Prescott’s intervention SNP Westminster leader and Foreign Affairs spokesperson, Angus Robertson MP, said:
“John Prescott’s intervention is very welcome, but starkly underlines the naked opportunism of Iain Gray and Labour in the Scottish Parliament. It is plain to most right thinking people that Kenny MacAskill made the right decision and, above all, he made it for the right reasons.
“John Prescott’s endorsement of the decision highlights the Iain Gray’s shameless attempts to politicise the situation. Last week, Iain Gray refused to give his opinion on compassionate release, which he said must be based on the medical reports. The Justice Secretary’s decision was indeed based on the medical evidence – which he published, showing a life expectancy for Mr Al Megrahi of some three months. Yet quite shamefully, at that point – and only at that point – did Iain Gray oppose compassionate release.
“Kenny MacAskill made his decision on the basis of the medical evidence presented to him which clearly supported the application for compassionate release – and on the recommendations of the Parole Board and Prison Governor.