Thursday, 27 August 2009




A YouGov poll for the Daily Mail has seriously undermined the position of the Liberal Democrats in Scotland as a majority of Lib Dem voters in both Westminster and Holyrood elections put their support behind SNP Scottish Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill. The poll which shows that 57% of Lib Dem voters back Mr MacAskill’s decision and that 76% of Lib Dem’s want Mr MacAskill to remain as Justice secretary will further add to the pressure on the Lib Dem leadership. Despite the opposition of Lib Dem leader Tavish Scott two MSPs have spoken out in favour of the decision, with reports of more in support, as have a senior councillor, former Presiding Officer David Steel and former Lib Dem leader Lord Owen. Commenting on the overwhelming support from Lib Dem voters for Mr MacAskill’s decision SNP MSP Michael Matheson said; “Kenny MacAskill faced a difficult decision, but he made the right decision for the right reasons. “With supporters of all parties endorsing the decision this poll exposes the opportunism of those party leaders who have chosen to politicise what was a judicial decision. “This poll is particularly humiliating for the Lib Dem leadership who are not only facing backlash from the back benches but from their membership and their supporters. “Tavish Scott should listen to the voices of the far more experienced figures in his party who have given their full support to the Justice Secretary’s decision. “With a Parliamentary debate next week the Liberal Democrats have an opportunity to reflect on their position and to support the principles of Scots Law by which anyone in Parliament and Government should abide.”


1. The Daily Mail / You Gov Poll of 1078 Scots adults between 24th and 26th August shows that amongst Lib Dem voters in a Westminster election 57% support Mr MacAskill's decision, as do 51% of Lib Dem voters in Holyrood elections. 2. 39% of Labour voters and 30% of Conservative voters also support the decision. 3. A majority of voters of all parties support Mr MacAskill remaining as Justice Secretaty (51% Con, 61% Lab, 76% Lib Dem) 4. Lord Owen – former Liberal Democrat leader:"I am a humanitarian,” he said. “Wherever you can you come down in the final analysis to looking at the individual. Are they entitled to die at home or die in prison? If it is humanely possible you should allow them to die at home 5. Lord Steel – former Presiding Officer: “I don’t necessarily think he made the wrong decision, I mean it was quite clearly made on compassionate grounds. It wasn’t made as part of a prisoner deal; it wasn’t made as part of a trade agreement, and I think people should focus on that and I think most opinion in Scotland therefore is in favour of the decision to release him on compassionate grounds.” 6. John Farquhar Munro, MSP : I’m of the opinion that Mr MacAskill had no other choice but the one he made. It was obvious from the doctors that Megrahi is suffering with cancer and that Megrahi’s health was going down every day and with that the correct thing happened and that MacAskill let Megrahi go with the information he had. 7. Central Scotland Lib Dem MSP Hugh O'Donnell : "I thought the release of Megrahi in the circumstances was the right decision." (Herald, 26/08/09) 8. Dr Christoper Mason, Leader of Liberal Democrats, Glasgow City Council in a letter to the Herald (26/08/09) “I wish to state, as a Liberal Democrat, that I think Kenny MacAskill's decision to release Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al Megrahi on licence was right."

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