Britain's Foreign Secretary David Miliband said today that Gordon Brown did not want to see the Lockerbie bomber die in jail.
He was speaking as pressure increased for the Mr Brown to spell out his position over the release of Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi.
Mr Miliband stressed there was no deal with Libya, and the decision to release Megrahi had always been a matter for the Scottish Government.
He was questioned on the BBC Radio 4 Today programme over revelations confirmed by Foreign Office Minister Bill Rammell that he told Libyan negotiators Mr Brown did not want to see Megrahi die in jail.
Mr Miliband said: “He has spoken the truth absolutely clearly about what happened in the meeting.”
Asked if Mr Rammell had spoken the truth about his own view and the view of Mr Brown, he added: “We did not want him to die in prison, no, we weren’t seeking his death in prison.”
Mr Miliband’s comments were seized upon by Conservative leader David Cameron, who said the whole handling of the issue had been “shambolic”.
He told the Today programme: “The Prime Minister and the Government stand accused of double-dealing – saying one thing to the Libyans in private, refusing to express an opinion to the British public and indicating something else to the Americans. That is why we need an inquiry to clear this matter up.”
Mr Cameron said that, if he was prime minister, he would insist Megrahi should die in jail, as release on compassionate grounds was wrong.
He said: “We are talking here about someone who was convicted of murdering 270 people, who has served in jail less than two weeks for each of those people who were killed. He showed no compassion to his victims, they weren’t allowed to go and die at home in their beds."