MacAskill splits with his wife after 22 years, blaming pressures of job




MacAskill splits with his wife after 22 years, blaming pressures of job

JUSTICE secretary Kenny MacAskill has separated from his wife, it has emerged, amid claims job-related pressures may have played a part in the split.
Mr MacAskill and wife Alison had been married for 22 years before separating earlier this year. It is believed the couple fought to save the marriage for several months after encountering problems in 2008.
But it emerged yesterday that Mr MacAskill had moved out of the family home in Edinburgh and into a one-bedroom flat.
The politician confirmed he had spilt with Alison – the mother of his two sons, aged 22 and 20 – in a short statement, adding that they remained “good friends”.
Mr MacAskill, the MSP for Edinburgh East and Musselburgh said: “My wife and I separated on the best of terms after some months trying to reconcile, and no third party has ever been involved.”
According to reports, friends of the couple believe his high-pressure job may have played a part in the separation in May.
The past year has seen Mr MacAskill face many difficult and high-profile situations, putting him at the forefront of Scottish politics.
Last October, Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi was revealed to be suffering “advanced stage” prostate cancer, prompting calls from Libya for him to be released from his life sentence.
In March this year, Libya’s minister for Europe Abdulati Alobidi met with the Scottish Government to discuss the case. Then, in April, a prisoner transfer agreement (PTA) between the UK and Libya came into force, allowing Megrahi to apply to serve the rest of his sentence in a Libyan jail.
In May, the Scottish Government revealed Libyan authorities had applied for the transfer of Megrahi – around the same time Mr MacAskill and his wife separated.
And in August, Mr MacAskill announced his decision to return Megrahi to Libya on compassionate grounds, amid growing criticism from around the world.
Mr MacAskill has also been under pressure over Scotland’s open prisons after a series of escapes by inmates.
In 2007, Robert Foye absconded from Castle Huntly for the second time while serving a ten-year sentence for attempted murder.
In May this year, murderer John Brown went on the run from Castle Huntly days after another prisoner, Brian Martin – nicknamed The Hawk – handed himself into police after escaping the same jail.
Professor Cary Cooper, a psychologist at Lancaster University, said:
“People in the public eye do have a lot of pressure on them and it can affect their relationships.”
He added: “Being a politician is not like most jobs. You work long hours and are not with your family as much.
“On top of that, it can be very stressed. Mixed together, it can have a serious effect on your life away from work.”
THE pressure heaped on Kenny MacAskill over the Lockerbie bomber was undoubtedly the most intense of his career.
However, earlier this year, there was speculation that a vote of no confidence in the justice secretary would be brought to Holyrood after the escape of dangerous prisoner Brian Martin, nicknamed “The Hawk”, from Castle Huntly jail in Perthshire.
In March 2008, Mr MacAskill offered a public apology after a 16-year-old girl was raped by Robert Foye after he too had absconded from Castle Huntly.
And the justice secretary sparked a furious backlash last May after describing prison as a “bit of a skoosh” for short-term prisoners.
Mr MacAskill’s critics have also accused him of presiding over a “soft-touch” justice system after it emerged some people convicted of attempted murder and serious assault had been given prison sentences of less than six months. Opponents have also seized on a 30 per cent rise in community service orders for criminals.
The number of such orders issued by courts rose from 4,298 in 2003-4 to 5,593 in 2007-8.
Mr MacAskill has also faced heavy criticism over his plans for minimum pricing of alcohol



Covering business in the parliamentary chamber as well as individual committees and cross-party groups from the last fortnight

by Dec 03, 2012No Comments
Topical questions
27.11.12: Prison sentences (early release)

Lewis Macdonald (North East Scotland) (Lab) asked what changes it will make in relation to people who have been released from prison early and then reoffend before the end of their original sentence.
Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill said the Scottish Government intends to legislate through the criminal justice bill next year.
He said that will simplify the law relating to courts being able to impose consecutive sentences on offenders who are still serving sentences for previous offences.
Mr MacAskill said the current law allows courts to impose an order under section 16 of the Prisoners and Criminal Proceedings (Scotland) Act 1993.
That gives the court discretionary powers to return offenders to custody as a punitive measure.
He said: “In addition, the court has discretion to decide whether the sentence for the new offence should run consecutively to any section 16 order that has been imposed. That means that the court is able to impose a section 16 order and a sentence for the new offence that run consecutively.” MacAskill said those powers are already available to the court and the law is “not as clear as it could be”.
He added: “Our proposed changes will ensure that the courts are clear that they can impose a punishment so that the offender completes their previous sentence before the sentence for the new crime starts. Parliament will be given the opportunity to consider and scrutinise the provisions when the bill is introduced.”

20.11.12: Prison healthcare
The Justice Committee heard evidence about issues surrounding the transfer of prison healthcare to the National Health Service. 
Before the session began, Convenor Christine Grahame MSP (SNP), cited a quote from
Dr Lesley Graham’s report entitled ‘Prison Health in Scotland: A Health Care Needs Assessment.’ In the report, Dr Graham says of prisoners: “They are risk takers in every sense, with their liability to addiction, sexual disease, physical or emotional trauma, many with significant brain damage, and at a much higher risk of early death. The majority smoke, have drug problems and mental illness. A significant minority report alcohol problems and experience of abuse. Their lives are chaotic. Their health, in physical, mental and social dimensions, is poor.
Experience of prison can erode, preserve or strengthen the first two, but reliably destroys social well-being.” The Committee then heard from healthcare professionals who have been involved in the change, with contracts switching from the Scottish Prison Service to the NHS in November last year.
Dr Richard Groden of Glasgow Community Health Partnership said: “There have been a number of developments in NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde since the transfer, and they are on-going. One of the first big pieces of work was a health needs assessment, which was undertaken by public health specialists, to identify the needs of the population.” Dr Groden said that aforementioned work is helping the NHS to identify learning disability support posts currently being advertised.
He added: “Those people will not only identify and work with individuals with learning disabilities but raise awareness among the prison workforce, including by training SPS staff in identifying those who have learning disabilities and in how prisoners can access support and community services on their release. We also deal with addictions. One of the advantages of our approach is that we have been able to select doctors on the basis of interviews and match some of the needs with some of their skills.” He said they also have in place two “very experienced” community addictions doctors who are working at Barlinnie and Low Moss, adding: “That added advantage supports the addiction services available in those prisons.” Frank Gibbons, healthcare manager at HMP Barlinnie, said treatment times had been improved by linking the technology underpinning patients’ records.
General questions
22.11.12: Sex offenders
Paul Martin (Glasgow Provan) (Lab) asked the Scottish Government how many of the 33 recommendations in the Justice 2 Sub Committee‘s report, ‘Justice System (Child- Sex Offenders)’, on managing registered sex offenders have been delivered since 10 May 2007. 
Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill replied: “In Scotland, we have in place a strong legislative framework, robust monitoring arrangements and agencies working together with the expertise to protect the public from sex offenders. Of the 33 recommendations, 31 have been implemented: nine were implemented before 10 May 2007 and 22 have been delivered since then. Work to implement the protection of vulnerable groups scheme in Scotland began on 28 February 2011.
To date, 279,000 people have become scheme members. Once implementation is completed, research into the impact of the scheme will be


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