PMs visit to London
Jack Straw recalls his
foolish days in the No movement
Balzan reporting from London
London, Foreign & Commonwealth Office - "I told the Prime Minister
some of my personal history. I was in the No movement in
1975, an advisor to the (late) Barbara Castle. With hindsight I think
the British people made the correct decision in voting for Europe."
Jack Straw was addressing the press and Prime Minister Dr Eddie Fenech
Adami, who is on a one-day visit to the capital.
"I would like to congratulate the Maltese government for the negotiation
package it brokered with the EU," Straw said.
"The decision to vote yes or no in the
referendum is very much a decision to be left to the Maltese people."
Quizzed by a member of the British press on the Iraq crises and the
position taken so far by EU candidate countries, Jack Straw answered;
"The candidate countries have every right to express their views
on the crisis in Iraq."
Straw would, however, not answer a question put to him by the same journalist
on Frances position.
A reporter from Super One asked what would happen to British investment
Mr Straw said he would not be led into predicting anything, but said
EU membership contributed to reaffirming the UKs economic stature.
As Straw talked one could see the changing of the guard on a bright
but frigid London late morning from the windows of the press conference.
Foreign Secretary Jack Straw met the Prime Minister at the Foreign and
Commonwealth Office, the meeting was scheduled for 20 minutes, but in
fact it went on for 35.
Following the meeting the PM and his entourage, which included Maltese
High Commissioner George Bonello Du Puis and his personal assistant
Richard Cachia Caruana were whisked away for a scheduled meeting with
Queen Elizabeth at Buckingham Palace.
None of the press was allowed to accompany the PM on the visit.
In an impromptu press conference at Malta House, the Prime Minister
said the meeting with Mr Straw was "very interesting". He
said the timing of the invitation was decided by Prime Minister Blair
and goes to prove the importance the UK gives to Maltas EU accession.
The Maltese premiers visit also included a meeting with the British
It comes at a crucial time for Malta in its run-up to the 8 March referendum
and a new low for Tony Blair, who has lost a substantial number of public
approval points over the last months because of his position on Iraq.