MSPs back calls for debate on Lockerbie inquiry

MSPs today said further talks should take place on calls to hold an independent inquiry into the Lockerbie bombing conviction.

Abdelbaset al-Megrahi was convicted ten years ago of the December 1988 bombing of Pan Am flight 103. The attack resulted in 270 deaths.

The Scottish Parliament's Public Petitions Committee agreed to refer a petition calling for an inquiry, lodged by pressure group Justice for Megrahi, to Holyrood's Justice Committee for further consideration.

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Committee member SNP MSP Bill Walker said it was important that "the truth" surrounding the issue is revealed.

He added: "I am desperate that the truth of this whole matter should come out. The truth must come out and we must do everything in our power to help it come out.

"This should go to the Justice Committee.

"This terrible thing happened a long time ago now and we must get to the truth sooner rather than later."

The petition, which was lodged by the group last year, calls on Holyrood to urge the Scottish Government to open an independent inquiry into the 2001 conviction.

Justice Committee convener Christine Grahame sat on the Public Petitions Committee in the last session.

During previous discussions on this issue, she said: "There are so many conspiracy theories around now that I think it's time that we had a clean, clear look at the role of Scottish justice in this.

"The issue is not whether Libya, or any other country, was guilty. The issue is, was Mr al-Megrahi rightly convicted, and we have not heard the answer to that yet."

The Scottish Government has already refused the petition's call for an inquiry into the conviction.