In response to the Brown press conference, William Hague said that he 'thinks' a Tory government would have acted differently regarding commenting about the release of the Lockerbie bomber:
Well I think that you would not have gave your opinion at all. It is clear that Labour and Brown have interests in oil development and the like over in Libya, so if they do disagree with the decision to let Migrahi it is obviously hard for Brown to say anything. Whilst I am not supporting the pursuit of oil over being principled, it is clear that a Tory government would have acted no different. It is easy for the Tories and indeed the Liberal Democrats to come out in favour or against the decision. However, if Brown had condemned it from the start, it would have obviously followed with talks around whether he is threatening the Scottish devolution settlement, something which some have said the SNP secretly wanted. Therefore, Brown was in a catch 22 situation, he is damned if he does, damned if he doesn't.
However, I believe Brown should have been honest about his views, as after all we are keen to state our views on foreign policy decision around the world. If we want to treat Scotland with independence, then we have to talk about decisions they make, and not shy away from these discussions in belief that it would rock the boat.
Personally, and I know this is something that is controversial, but I can see the reasoning behind compassionate release. With the considerable level of doubt around his imprisonment, there really needs to be calls from around the political debate for the need of an inquiry. However, the fact there is not, unfortunately shows that there may clearly be something to hide. I believe in justice and freedom, and so if there is such considerable level of doubt around his imprisonment, even from the families themselves, then surely, if the USA is so certain about his guilt, there should be an independent inquiry into it to silence the noises. If there had been this, and it had indeed shown him to be guilty then I feel that there would have been no problems around senior politicians such as Brown speaking up and actually saying, you know what, Scotland, keeping him in is the right thing to do. However, the fact there is so much doubt around the imprisonment, must play on Browns mind too.
This is a really difficult situation, but we need to approach it with the values of the democratic society we pride ourselves on. We need to consider the possibility that this was just a stitch up. If an inquiry had been done a long time ago, as many including the families of those killed have asked for, then we would be able to make a stark moral decision now. However, with so much doubt, it does make the decision and views around the release rather muggy. As for the Tories, they are having an easy ride in opposition saying they would do this and that, but thanking their blessings that they are not in Brown's shoes.