HC Deb 09 November 1999 vol 337 cc870-1
4. Mr. Tam Dalyell (Linlithgow)

If he will make a statement on his responsibilities in respect of (a) legal and (b) other matters in relation to Lockerbie. [96348]

The Advocate-General for Scotland (Dr. Lynda Clark)

My right hon. Friend has no responsibility for legal or other matters relating to Lockerbie.

Mr. Dalyell

I wish my hon. and learned Friend well in what I think is her first appearance at the Dispatch Box. What are the Law Officers going to do—or what can they do—to enforce sub judice rules in press reports, some of which might prejudice the trial in Zeist?

The Advocate-General

I thank my hon. Friend for those kind words of welcome—especially coming from him. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State and I have no responsibility for the matter that my hon. Friend mentioned—

Madam Speaker

Order. I am sorry to interrupt the hon. and learned Lady, but we cannot hear her. She should speak into the microphone and not turn round.

The Advocate-General

I was explaining that my right hon. Friend and I have no responsibilities for those trial matters, which are very much in the sphere of the Lord Advocate.

Mr. Menzies Campbell (North-East Fife)

I also welcome the Advocate-General to her first appearance at the Dispatch Box and welcome the fact that, according to the Scottish papers, it is not to be her last such appearance. Will she confirm that it is still the case that the unusual and extraordinary costs of the Lockerbie trial will be met by the Treasury and will not be a charge against the Scottish block grant?

The Advocate-General

I am much obliged to the right hon. and learned Gentleman. I hope that he also remains with us for a long time, as there have been reports in the papers about his possible absence, too. His question is correct, but as the matter is not within my sphere I shall write to him to confirm that.