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PM takes questions from Chinese students


PM takes questions from Chinese students

Prime Minister Tony Blair has answered questions from students at the Tsinghua University in Beijing. When asked about the Iraq conflict, Mr Blair stated that he had no doubt at all that Iraq was trying to develop weapons of mass destruction.

He said that once the Iraq Survey Group had delivered their report on Iraq's banned weapons programmes people would see the truth. "I think when that happens maybe we will have a more informed debate about this whole question," he said.

On the decision to take action against the Iraqi regime, he said:

"I believe no matter how difficult it was, that it was the right thing to do. I also think, not simply in terms of the security of the world, but in terms of the suffering of the Iraqi people, it is better that they are rid of Saddam Hussein as their ruler, because he was a very cruel man who killed many, many thousands, hundreds of thousands of their people."

Read the Q&A session in full below:

PRIME MINISTER:

Thank you, and it is wonderful to be here in Tsinghua University, thank you so much all of you for coming out to say hello to me.

I just wanted to say a couple of things by way of opening and then you can ask me questions, and you must feel free to ask me any questions that you want to ask. It is a dangerous thing for me to say, but nonetheless, you do that. The thing that is amazing today is that the UK is now the number one destination for overseas students from China. We have got double the number of Chinese students as the United States of America. I like that. And that is a measure of how much collaboration there now is between universities like Tsinghua and universities in Britain. And one of the main universities is the London School of Economics, and my wife - who is there - she went to the London School of Economics, she went to the London School of Economics and she got a better degree than I did.

So the thing that has impressed me most from being back in Beijing is just the amount of change in China, and I think for the future the relationship between my country, the UK and China is going to be very important. Because the amazing thing is that in the first six months of this year, even with Sars and the problems that you had here, you had a growth rate of 8%. In the next couple of decades you will become the number one economy in the world - 1.3 billion people. How you develop both economically and politically as a country is going to have a colossal impact on the whole of the world, and we need to make sure that countries like mine in Europe, countries like the United States, and countries like China are working closely together. And one reason why I wanted to come and open the Clean Energy Project is that one of the big challenges we will face will be about climate change, and how we make sure as we grow economically we do so in a sustainable way, in a way that protects the environment, and that collaboration is important too. So we have got so much work that we can do together. And you students here who are the future of China, the decisions you take, and the way that you take them, is going to impact on the whole of the world. You will be the leaders of this country in the years to come, and how you lead, and the values with which you lead, will make a difference even in my own country to the citizens there.

And finally I want to say a special word of thanks to Steven here, because he taught at Durham University, which is just by my constituency in England and it is where my father used to teach, so he comes in a very, very good line of teachers from Durham University. That is all I want to say by way of opening. Let's have your questions.

CHAIRMAN:

Thank you very much Prime Minister. It is my great pleasure on behalf of the Tsinghua staff today to present today's Q and A, and I believe there are students here today already prepared with questions and they are very excited to meet you, to exchange ideas with the British Prime Minister. And our students today - about 90 - are from a very mixed diverse body, including engineering, law school students, journalism and economics as well. So we are going to do the practice, every 3 questions we will invite answers from the Prime Minister.

QUESTION:

Good Morning Mr Prime Minister. Welcome to Tsinghua University and thank you for your speech. I am from the School of Journalism and Communications. I think the topic of your speech today is about the exchange between China and Britain, and I think the UK is your topic. And nowadays when we think about the UK we think about the war and the tragedy of Dr Kelly - I am sorry to say that. Until now there is no hard evidence to show that Iraq has the weapons of mass destruction, and the British press say that your worldwide tour is just a disguise of your diplomatic mistake. So I really want to know, do you think this time, at this tragic time, in your political career, and how do you feel? Have you ever regretted making the decision to start the war?

QUESTION:

I am from the School of Economics and Management. I feel a great honour to be here. You once remarked to the US Congress that Britain would be part of a changing Europe. My question is, if Europe refused to change in a British way, will Britain remain part of it?

QUESTION:

I am from the Department of Electronic Engineering. Mr Blair said ... years ago that part of your work is to keep the media in check. Is this true? Don't you think it is a ... of a free press?

PRIME MINISTER:

There is the British media out there, and they may have been thinking all the questions were going to be very easy questions for me, but I would say the first three questions have been very testing questions. So if I have been trying to keep the media in check, I think I have failed really on that. And I think the questions that you ask are important, because it is important that the media, and also people, are entitled to ask the difficult questions of politicians. And one part of developing politics in any country is the ability to question the political leaders. Now these guys out there, they are the British media and they ask me some pretty searching questions from time to time, and sometimes it is true, you get a little angry about it or you get upset by some of the line of questioning. But I still think, however difficult it is, it is always better that you are able to ask the politicians the difficult questions and therefore to answer them. OK? So I don't want to keep the media in check, but I do want the chance sometimes to explain what I think in the way that I think it. You see. And these two questions that you asked, one about the Iraq war and the weapons of mass destruction, and then about Europe, these are big and difficult questions in my country at the moment, but also for the world.

And on the weapons of mass destruction, I have no doubt at all that Iraq was trying to develop those weapons. There is a group of people in Iraq now who are looking both at the programmes and at the weapons themselves, the evidence of the weapons and the evidence of the programmes, and that group of people have just begun their work, and when they come to make their report on their work we will be able to see what they have uncovered, and then people will see what the truth is.

So that group is in there now, they are called the Iraq Survey Group, they will be looking both to interview the experts and witnesses that worked on the Iraq programme, and also examining the sites for evidence of the programmes and the weapons themselves. And I think when that happens maybe we will have a more informed debate about this whole question. But you asked me whether I regretted the Iraq conflict. I have to say no, I don't regret it. I believe no matter how difficult it was, that it was the right thing to do. I also think, not simply in terms of the security of the world, but in terms of the suffering of the Iraqi people, it is better that they are rid of Saddam Hussein as their ruler, because he was a very cruel man who killed many, many thousands, hundreds of thousands of their people. And I think these questions are very difficult in the international community today, but I took that decision because I thought it was right for my country and right for the wider world, and I still believe that it was. So we have to in the end, as political leaders, stand by the decisions we make, and that is the position I took.

In respect of Europe, that is a very good question, because it is part of the dilemma Britain has. Britain wants to be part of Europe, but it also wants Europe to change. Now what if Europe doesn't change? Well I think what is important is for Britain to go into Europe with the confidence that it can change in the way that we wish, because we can't separate ourselves out from the continent of which we are a part, and you know Britain is part of the European continent, and so I think it is important that we remain part of Europe, I think that is important for economic reasons and for political reasons. And when we were talking about China earlier, we said it was 1.3 billion. Even when we have the 10 new countries join the European Union, and there will be 25 countries in the European Union, even then we will only have 450 million people, compared with your 1.3 billion. So it is going to be vitally important for Britain to be part of that figure, bloc of countries. And so for us to separate ourselves from Europe I think would be a big mistake. So we can't be sure whether we are going to win all these battles in Europe, but I think we will, and I think it is important that Europe develops in a way that is open, that is engaged with the rest of the world, and I think it is important that Britain is part of the European Union. And even if it is unpopular and difficult, and it is sometimes in my country because some people don't like Europe, I still think it is the right thing for Britain to do, and again I believe as political leader, if I think it is the right thing then I should argue for it.

QUESTION:

I am from the School of Economics and Management. I would like to turn to a question about education exchange. As you have just mentioned in your speech, the large amount of Chinese students who are right now studying in Britain. However, applying for a scholarship in a British university has always been too difficult. Moreover, as we know that most British schools will charge overseas students a very high tuition fee which is much higher than that of the local students. So we can't help wondering what are the main purposes for British schools to accept Chinese students to strengthen the cooperation between China and Britain in education, to bring more variety into the British campus, or mainly for the commercial purposes.

QUESTION:

I am a third year student from the School of Journalism and Communications. In the recent central ... summit you mentioned that one country could invade and overthrow the government of another to liberate the people, and this issue was opposed by all other attending countries. So my question is, is there any solid foundation in the international law to support your issue?

QUESTION:

I am from Tsinghua School. I would like to ask a more relaxing question. Your wife, Mrs Cherie, is a very successful barrister in Britain and it is said that her earnings are much more than the Prime Minister's salary. According to the Chinese traditional thinking, it is very important for the husband to earn more than a wife, it is a very important sector to maintain the family stability. So my question is, could you tell me something of your skills in balancing or harmonising your family relationships?

PRIME MINISTER:

First of all, on the education exchange, well it is for all the reasons actually. I am not saying commercial reasons aren't a part of it, because the universities have got to be able to pay their way, but I think the main reason is educational exchange. Scholarships are difficult because we have got to fund them from government, and sometimes people will say to the government well you should be paying for our students, not paying for overseas students, so the scholarships can be difficult. But we are actually expanding our scholarship programme, and the fact that we have now got, I think in the last few years we have been hugely increasing the numbers of Chinese students, is an indication it may be difficult, but you are still managing to get there. So I hope, well you are from the School of Economics, that is OK. I don't know about the School of Journalism, I will have to think about that one. But you know I think educational exchange is going to be very, very important in the future, and I like to think as well that every time a student comes over to our country, when they go back I hope they are an Ambassador for my country back in China, or back in Russia, or whatever country they come from. And so we are trying to expand our university sector to take in more overseas students. So you apply for a scholarship and we will see what we can do.

The second question, well I don't believe it is right that one country can just go and invade another country and liberate its people, I think liberation of people is a good thing, but it has got to be done according to rules. But the reason why we took the view that we did in respect of Iraq was because we had a United Nations resolution that said that Saddam Hussein had to cooperate with the United Nations inspectors, and he wasn't. Now there was then a disagreement in the international community, that is true, but it is worth pointing out that we have got back together again in the United Nations Security Council, and on the reconstruction of Iraq there is now a new United Nations resolution, so we are working on that with everyone else. But I understand the difficulty, and I think it is really this. People worry about countries thinking they can run other countries, countries thinking if I don't like that government I can go in and change it, and I understand, and that is really what is behind your question, because really what you are saying is you have got to be careful having a situation where if America - probably what you mean - comes in and says well I don't like this government, I am going to go and get rid of it. I agree, you can't have a situation like that. But I do think we need to think as a world about what happens when you get a country that is doing something very dangerous for the outside world and its own people, how does the international community respond? You see we have got a situation close to here with North Korea, which your country - China - your government is trying to help resolve at the moment, and resolve it in a peaceful way. But the Chinese leadership accepts, like the British leadership, that you don't want North Korea to carry on developing a nuclear weapons programme. Now what happens if they simply say we refuse, we are going to carry on doing this, we don't care what the international community thinks. So there are difficult questions that arise. And if you look at China here, one of the things that is most amazing is the change, I can notice even from 5 years ago when I was last here, and people in China are getting better off all the time, their living standards are improving, their way of life is improving the whole time. But in North Korea these people are treated in the most terrible way. So yes we can't go and invade countries just because we want to, I agree with that, but on the other hand I think as the world moves closer together we have got to have some sense surely that a country can't just do whatever it wants, irrespective of the effects on the outside world or its own people. Now what we need are some rules in this situation, we need some law. I agree it is not right that if America decides this, or Britain decides this, or China decides this, then it just goes and does it. I agree, we need some rules in this situation, and that is what I was talking about in the American Congress, I was saying we can't just have a free for all where people do whatever they want, but on the other hand I think it is also true that as the world moves closer together, and as it matters more what countries do, because they can affect other countries, we can't just say a country behaves in a terrible way and we just let them do it. So that is the difficulty and we have got to try and resolve that with some rules and some laws that apply in those situations.

My wife is smarter than me, which is one reason why she chose to go into the law and not politics. But I sometimes read about what she is supposed to earn, and I just wish it was true. But you know I think nowadays women should be able to earn the same as men, and more if they are better. Don't you think? This is what is going to happen. Look at all the women here. Some of you are going to be lawyers, aren't you? Yes. Right. So if you are lawyers and China develops you are probably going to be earning a lot of money. And you don't mind earning more than your husbands, do you? Come on, you have got to get liberated. No, I think it is all right. I think whether people earn more depends on their own effort and it shouldn't depend on whether they are a woman or a man, it should be whether they are good or they are not good. That is my view.

QUESTION:

I am from the School of Law, Economics and Management. Seven days ago during your visit to the USA, newspaper cuttings commented that the UK had become the 51st state of the United States. I want your views about that comment.

QUESTION:

I am from the Computer, Science and Technology Department. Facing the tragedy of Dr David Kelly, you said that you had no intention of resigning over his death. Can you tell us frankly, what was your feeling when you heard the news on the plane to Japan, and how can you get through this political crisis and regain your people's trust?

QUESTION:

I am from the China Study Centre of the School of Public Policy and Management. I will ask you a question about an Asian EU. Some Asian scholars are thinking about the creating of an Asian EU, like the European Union in the east and south east Asia. Could I have your opinion of this reality and your imagine of its influence?

PRIME MINISTER:

On the 51st state, well that is what is often said by people who oppose Britain's strong alliance with the United States of America. And actually it is not true to say that we don't have our disagreements with the United States, sometimes we do. The Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change was an example of that. We are disagreeing with them at the moment over certain issues to do with trade. But I think it is important that Britain has a strong relationship with the United States because we are allies that have fought together in many difficult situations, not least World War II when we liberated Europe from fascism, and I am proud of our relationship with the United States and I am proud of the partnership that we have. But I don't think that we should see a strong relationship with the United States as the only strong relationship we can have. You see I think there are two views of the world today. One is a view where you have all sorts of different powers, different pools of power if you like, and they each compete with each other, or balance off with each other, so you have America here, you have Europe there, you have Russia there, you have China over here. I think that is a dangerous thing in today's world. I think it is better if we all come together in the same place, and I tell you why. Because if you think ahead in the dangers that we face, America is not going to fight China, China is not going to fight Russia, Russia is not going to fight Europe. My father fought in the Second World War, a state in Europe when the whole of Europe was fighting each other. In two World Wars in the 20th century millions of people died. And today Europe is at peace, it is one European Union. And I don't think the problem that the world faces is a problem of ... between two nations, the problems that we face are problems to do with global terrorism and weapons of mass destruction in the hands of irresponsible people, I think they are climate change, I think it is economic globalisation, I think it is to do with how we extend development to the poorest parts of the world. But I think those challenges are best dealt with by nations working together. So we have a close relationship with the United States, but we are also part of the European Union. I would like a closer relationship between the UK and China, because I think how China develops in this international framework is going to be vitally important. So my thoughts of the world and how it develops is one where we don't break up into these different parts and then all compete against each other, I think that is 19th century politics. I think 21st century politics is about nations coming together on a common agenda. Now that means in my view, not that we come together simply on an agenda that America sets, but that we come together on an agenda that we set together. Which is why I was saying in my speech to the American Congress the other day, it is not just about terrorism, it is also about the Middle East peace process, it is also about poverty in Africa, it is also about climate change. So we can put these things together and we can work together, and I think that the path for Britain is not to be worried about our alliance with the United States, I think it is good that we have got an alliance with the United States, but I think we should be using that influence to try and bring the United States and other countries together on a common agenda that we are all happy with, that your leadership here in China is happy with, the European Union, the Russians, countries like India that are developing too. We have all got to get in the same place on the same agenda, and that is what we are working towards, because I think that is the best thing for people ... I really do.

First of all just let me say this, because I have been saying this to my own press in the last few days. This is a desperately sad time for the family of Dr Kelly, and his funeral has not been held yet and I don't want to say more about that situation. Except to say that there will be, as there should be in a democracy, a proper and independent inquiry into what has happened. And on the issue to do with Iraq and the Iraq war, which I really think is what is the nucleus, as I was saying to your colleague a moment or two ago, there is going to be, and is now in Iraq, a group of people that are going to look at the whole issue, interview the experts who worked on the Iraqi programme, and the scientists, and discover exactly what has happened to the programme and to the weapons, and I think it is best that people wait until they make a judgment, until we have the facts back from that group. And of course it is a difficult situation, but as I said to your colleague a moment or two ago, in the end in politics when you come to a big decision, particularly one as big as war or not, you have got to do what you think is right and I believe that what we did was right. Now I know that that won't be ... with that, but that is what I believe and that is what I hold to.

If Asia wants to join together in a bigger trading and political bloc, I think that will happen in time. Whether it is exactly like the European Union, I can't be sure of. But the one thing for sure, and it comes back to the point I was making earlier, the world is moving closer together. Asia will want to trade more, to work more closely together, and I think those types of collaboration are going to happen right throughout the world, it is happening in South America now with Mercosur, it is happening obviously in the European Union, but it is happening right round the world for very, very obvious reasons. The globalisation and the changes in the economy and technology are meaning that people have got to work closer together. So I think that these developments will continue and I think that if Asia wants to put itself together, whether like the European Union or not, I think that is a good thing and I am sure that in the end that is a development, a process of coming together that is going to continue.

QUESTION:

I am from the School of Law. I have some question about big concerns from people around the world, especially of the fight against Sars, that is how to provide adequate healthcare for the poor people. My question is what do you think is the most effective way to solve this problem in Britain, and is it necessary to collect more money from the people and also have an option ... In answer to the first question you said the research group in Iraq is still there carrying out their work and they still have no report on the research there. But what makes you believe that Iraq has a weapons programme there?

QUESTION:

I am from the International Relations Centre of the School of Public Policy and Management. It seems that Great Britain and China have experienced very friendly and co-operative relations during the past 50 years, but during the recent international incidents, such as the Iraqi war or the Kosovo issue, has brought some negative impact to the Chinese people, especially to some government officials, experts and also to our college and university students. So I want to know what is your comment on the past bilateral relations and what is your expectation for those two government to develop in this coming decade?

QUESTION:

I am from Journalism School. I have a question. As we all know the British Museum has the largest collection of Chinese antiques out of China. Sorry I feel really nervous, and I like your tie.

PRIME MINISTER:

Inaudible.

QUESTION:

Thank you. How did the Chinese antiques find their way to the British Museum? And it is reported that many Iraqi antiques have been stolen and robbed. Will these robberies and thefts contribute to the collection of the British museum?

QUESTION:

I am a graduate student of Journalism School. I am really impressed about your strong support for the educational and cultural exchanges between China and the UK, but recently I have had news that some universities in the north-east of Britain have just ended the programme of Chinese culture and language. It is a pity. And those universities even include the prestigious University of Durham, and you just mentioned your father was there as a professor many years ago. And I also note you are an MP from that region as well. So do you think this change made by those universities will affect the Sino-British culture and educational cooperation. If not, what will you do about this?

QUESTION:

I am from the Automation Department. You are around my father's age and like my father. Would you tell me here honestly, like talking to your own children, that you never lied on the Iraq war?

PRIME MINISTER:

Well now, what have we got? First of all Sars and healthcare. I tell you what I think are the two things that are going to be most important in healthcare in the next few years are first of all the fact that people are going to live much longer, and I think there is going to be increasing difficulty therefore in societies providing those people work for those people that are retired and will need a lot more healthcare. I can't remember the exact figures, but it is something like 70% of the beds that are occupied in the British healthcare system in hospitals are occupied by people who are over the age of 60. So that is one issue that is going to be driving healthcare. The second thing is going to be science and genetics in particular. Because what is going to happen with science, and Britain has done a lot of work, as you may know, on the human genome project, what is going to happen is we are going to be able to map out the likely path of illness for any individual, almost at birth, that will happen in the next few years, and we will also be able to treat through genetic means a lot more of the illnesses that people have. So many of the things to do with cancers and other things, there are going to be dramatic changes there. Now what does that mean? I personally believe that the way that we have organised our healthcare system in Britain has one great strength and it has got one weakness. Our great strength is we are organising it on a collective basis for all people, irrespective of their wealth. So it doesn't matter whether you are rich or you are poor, you get treatment in our National Healthcare system, and I think that is a good principle and I want to keep that principle. But I think the weakness of our system and where we have got to develop it is that we need to have a far more flexible system of how we deal with healthcare, so that you have all sorts of different ways of helping people, some of it may be through work that is done in local communities in primary healthcare, some of it will be done in the hospitals, some of it will be done in managing chronic diseases. But it is going to be delivered in a different way from before. So the way I would like to see our healthcare system organised is organised on a collective basis in the sense that everyone gets access, no matter how healthy you are, no matter how poor you are, but that we are using the new technology and the science that develops to make it a much more individualised system of healthcare where the individual person gets the healthcare treatment in the place that they need it, rather than trying to treat everyone as if we were still living 30 - 40 years ago.

QUESTION:

... according to the press it says that many poor people have to wait for maybe 12 months to get their medical treatment ... how can you give them prompt medical care for the poor people?

PRIME MINISTER:

Actually people used to wait even longer than that in certain instances, but we are bringing those times down by increasing the capacity of the Health Service. So actually the average time that people wait for operations now is down to 7 - 8 weeks, and we are going to reduce that even further and actually now nobody is waiting over 12 months, and the majority of people will get treated, 70% of the people are treated within 3 months. So there is a way to go, but we are getting there. And actually for people in Britain today, particularly I think for poorer people who need access to healthcare, they don't want us to get rid of the National Health Service, they want to keep the National Health Service, and I think that is important for the future.

In respect of our bilateral relations, there will be disagreements, there was a disagreement over Kosovo and there was a disagreement over Iraq. But I think we can manage those disagreements and there is still an awful lot that we are doing together. So if you look at what is happening in the reconstruction of Iraq now, we have got a new United Nations resolution, that China has supported as well as other countries, and there will be a Donors Conference in October where I hope that China participates along with other countries. So there will be differences. We are never all going to agree in the international community, the question is how do we manage those disagreements. Do we fall out permanently, or do we say well we disagreed on this and now we have got to move on, and I think it is best to do it in that latter way.

Where is the man that liked my tie? Yes, I think I know what you were meaning about the collection of Chinese antiques. I am sorry about that, I think that is something that happened in history quite a long time ago. But as for the Iraqi antiques, the museum was plundered in Baghdad, but actually they have managed to get a lot of those antiques back and the museum is going to reopen, and certainly none of them are finding their way to Britain, and what is more we have made it clear that any antiques that do find their way to Britain will be returned to the Iraqi people, so I think that is important.

As for the educational programme, well obviously, since Steven here has been talking to me about it, I am going to have to go back and look at it. But universities, they may be doing it for all sorts of reasons, perhaps it is just financial reasons and difficulties that they have got, but that will happen from time to time. There is never enough money to do all the things that you want to do, but I can assure you that we will carry on welcoming Chinese students to the UK, and even if they can't come to the particular place in Durham, I am sure they can come to other places.

What would I say to my children? What I would say to them is this, that in the end as a political leader you have got to take the decisions that you think are right, and those decisions are sometimes very, very difficult. But I believe passionately in relation to Iraq, we could not allow Saddam Hussein to carry on developing weapons of mass destruction, and don't be in any doubt that he was doing it, because we had 23 different United Nations resolutions about the very issue of Saddam and weapons of mass destruction. So please don't anyone here think this is something that suddenly was dreamed up by the Americans or the British, it was there, it was a serious issue. That is why the United Nations inspectors were in Iraq throughout the 1990s. They were then forced to leave at the end of 1998, it was why they went back in in November after the United Nations resolution. So I don't have any doubt about the threat that he posed, and I don't have any doubt either about the danger of that threat in the hands of a man like Saddam. It is difficult for people here just to appreciate this, but out of a country of 23 million, 4 million of its people were in exile - 4 million of them were in exile. Literally tens of thousands of children used to die of malnutrition every single year, of preventable diseases, because of the way he ran the country. And to allow someone like that to carry on being a security threat to the world I thought was the wrong thing, so I took the action that I did. Now there will be people here, and I totally understand it, who disagree with that decision, and the difficult thing about being a political leader is that in the end you have to take the decisions that you believe are right and stand by them. And I took that decision that I believed to be right and I have to stand by that, and I get criticised by it, and that actually in the end is also important, because in my country, if the people disagree with me, they can put me out of office, they can vote me out and they can vote someone else in, and that is democracy. And so what you have got to do as a political leader in a democracy is you have got to say this is where I stand, that is what I believe. If you believe that, you can vote for me; if you don't believe it, you don't have to vote for me, you can vote for somebody else. Now I can't say more than that to you. I can only say that I took the decision that I believe was the right decision, and I think that in times to come people will look back on what has happened in Iraq and if we can make that country stable and prosperous and democratic, we can start getting peace in the Middle East, then removing Saddam Hussein will have been the starting point for change right across that region. Now I am aware, I agree, there is a disagreement, there is a disagreement between Britain and China about this issue. But in the end I have had to decide, as the British Prime Minister, what I think is right and do it. And if the British people disagree with it, they have got the right to say well we will put him out and we will put someone else in. Now that is democracy and it is important that every single person here thinks about that very, very carefully, because China is a country in a huge state of development and you want to develop in a way that is stable and secure because it is so important for the rest of the world. But when you are me, as the British Prime Minister, and you take a decision as difficult as that, you have to take it on the basis that you think it is right and you have to stick by it, and I took the decision I thought was right and I stick by it. And that is what I would say to my children or anybody else's children.


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Gordon Campbell: On A Bad Week For Malcolm Turnbull, And The Queen

Malcolm Turnbull’s immediate goal – mere survival – is still within his grasp... In every other respect though, this election has been a total disaster for the Liberals. More>>

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Gordon Campbell: On Bidding Bye Bye To Boris

Boris Johnson’s exit from the contest for Conservative Party leadership supports the conspiracy theory that he never really expected the “Leave” option to win the referendum – and he has no intention now of picking up the poisoned chalice that managing the outcome will entail... More>>

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