ALEX Salmond has admitted to being "frustrated" by claims in the biography of the man convicted of the Lockerbie bombing that the Scottish Government wanted to stop publication of the reasons for him dropping his appeal.

The First Minister said yesterday that he had been both irritated and frustrated by claims by the book's author John Ashton that "somehow the Scottish Government was trying to delay or prevent" full publication of the statement of reason to the court.

"Nothing could be further from the truth," he said.

The book claims Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al Megrahi had been told it would be easier for Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill to release him on compassionate grounds if he dropped his appeal. Mr MacAskill denied the claim in a statement to Parliament on Wednesday and yesterday, at First Minister's Questions, Mr Salmond supported to his Cabinet colleague.

Mr Salmond said information in the book appeared to be based on a "partial explanation" of what was in the statement of reason and that made the case for publication of the details by the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission "irresistible".