Blair 'hid intentions for bomber's release'

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Tony Blair may have withheld key information from senior UK Cabinet colleagues by not telling them that he wanted to include the Lockerbie bomber in a deal with Libya’s Colonel Gaddafi, Alex Salmond suggested yesterday.

The Scottish First Minister made the comments during an appearance before the Commons Select Committee on Scottish Affairs, which is examining relations between the UK and Scottish governments after controversy over Abdul Baset Ali al-Megrahi’s release from life imprisonment on compassionate grounds last year.

Mr Salmond indicated that Mr Blair’s failure to tell Lord Falconer of Thoroton, one of the former Prime Minister’s most trusted political friends, and Jack Straw, Lord Falconer’s successor as Justice Secretary, was an explanation for their claims to the Scottish government that al-Megrahi was not included in the Prisoner Transfer Agreement (PTA) negotiated in 2007 between Britain and Libya.

Mr Salmond said that in communications with his Nationalist government at Holyrood, both Lord Falconer and Mr Straw appeared to believe that the UK would block Libya’s demands for al-Megrahi to be included.

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