» Thursday, December 30, 2004

Earthquake Appeal/ Prime Minister’s Holiday.

Asked if the Government were reconsidering the level of aid they were donating to those nations affected by the Earthquake in South East Asia, given that independent donations by the British public amounted to more than the amount given by the Government, the PMS said that as Hilary Benn and Jack Straw had made clear in yesterday’s announcement, the £15m was the first phase of the Government’s commitment to the humanitarian effort. Hilary Benn had made it clear that money was not the issue, the issue was finding effective ways of getting aid to the people who needed it.

Asked if the Prime Minister would support Chancellor Schroeder’s call for debt relief to be given to the countries affected by the Earthquake, the PMS said that the Government was already doing a lot to assist heavily indebted countries. DFID would be able to give figures of how much but the UK had played a full part in the international effort to help these countries and would continue to do so.

Asked if the Prime Minister was considering cutting short his holiday, the PMS said that he was not. Asked if the Prime Minister was meeting King Abdullah of Jordan today the PMS said yes, the Prime Minister was meeting him Jordan. He had also spoken to Kofi Annan on the phone yesterday. Whilst on holiday the Prime Minister had kept in regular contact with the Deputy Prime Minister, the Foreign Secretary and the Secretary of State for International Development and officials. Thanks to modern communications technology it was simple for the Prime Minister to talk to anyone he needed to at any time.

Asked when the Prime would be back, the PMS said that for reasons of security Downing Street would not be briefing on the Prime Minister’s travel arrangements. Due to security advice the Prime Minister had not travelled by commercial aeroplane to Egypt but he and the family had paid the commercial rate for the travel arrangements.

Briefing took place at 11:45 | Search for related news


  1. Once again our Prime Minister has debased his office by selfishly continuing with his free holiday in Egypt at the time of a great natural disaster. The reasons he has given in subsequent interviews ring VERY hollow and confirm his unsuitability for the office of Prime Minister.

    Comment by A J Kiberd — 5 Jan 2005 on 7:17 pm | Link
  2. An interesting article that puts Blair’s true priorities in perspective:


    I don’t care how many minutes silence are called for, its about time they spent a few minutes to sign off third world debt and recall troops from profit-motivated slaughters in the middle east.

    Comment by Uncarved Block — 5 Jan 2005 on 9:22 pm | Link
  3. Tony Blair remaining on holiday whilst thousands of British people are killed, lost and injured in the Tsunami.

    A classic example of leading from the rear, he should have returned home and been a true statesman. It does not matter to us that he says he was in touch by phone. A true leader leads by example and not by telephone.

    Would he have returned home if the telephones were down I wonder?

    Comment by Unhappy Citizen — 9 Jan 2005 on 9:34 am | Link
  4. I think he was right to stay on holiday; whatever he did he was going to be vilified in the press and it gave a chance for his cabinet to take some responsibility. The media always criticise the ‘presidential’ style of the Labour party whereby everything revolves around the personality of Tony Blair and not the work of the party as a whole. Blair couldn’t have done any more if he had been in the UK, and it is just overwrought sentimentality that demands he should have been crying crocodile tears on national tv.

    Comment by Polly — 14 Jan 2005 on 4:54 pm | Link

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