The Justice Secretary Jack Straw, at a Guardian seminar, has implied that he would not have gone to visit Mr al-Megrahi in prison if the decision had been his.

It’s a nudge towards criticism of the Scottish Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill, going slightly further than other Cabinet ministers have dared to go in public.

There has been a lively discussion behind the scenes in government about whether to attack the SNP… I hear that the Scottish Secretary Jim Murphy in particular has been chomping at the bit to go for the SNP administration but has been reined in by the PM and others.

As for where this story goes next, No. 10 believes it has received assurances from Col Gaddafi’s son, Saif, that the Lockerbie bomber, Mr al-Megrahi, will NOT be turning up as some kind of guest of honour to be feted at next week’s 40th anniversary celebrations for the coup that brought Col Gaddafi to power.

The Prime Minister’s foreign policy adviser, Simon McDonald, has spoken to Saif Gaddafi on the phone. Number 10 now waits to see whether or not that assurance collapses like previous ones.