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Last Updated: Wednesday, 26 May, 2004, 12:11 GMT 13:11 UK
Blair makes his Commons return
Tony Blair speaking as the dust passes behind him
Mr Blair was replying to the Tory leader when the dust was thrown
Tony Blair has faced MPs at prime minister's questions for the first time since being hit by a condom filled with flour dyed purple.

His appearance at noon was preceded by Speaker Michael Martin, who updated MPs on a review of security.

It came as two men appeared in court in connection with last week's incident.

Mr Blair was quizzed on apparent differences with the US over whether Iraq's new government would have a veto on coalition troops.


One of the men arrested last week after the flour incident, Guy Harrison, 36, was fined 600 on Wednesday and was ordered to pay 55 costs after pleading guilty to a public order offence at Bow Street Magistrates, London.

Patrick Ronald Davis pleaded not guilty to the same offence.

Under questioning from Michael Howard, Mr Blair told MPs that Iraqis would be given full sovereignty on 30 June.

And replying to Lib Dem leader Charles Kennedy he said that coalition forces would remain, with the permission of the interim administration.

He added the new government would also have control of prisons with US-led forces taking some responsibility until the administration is up and running.

Pressure from China?

The prime minister was also challenged by Labour backbencher Kate Hoey over his decision not to meet the Dalai Lama when he visits the UK this week.

"Was he told not to by China?" she asked.

Mr Blair said the UK Government continued to pressure the Chinese government over its occupation of Tibet, adding that he had met the Dalai Lama before and he would be "happy" to meet him again on subsequent visits.

Lib Dem MP Lembit Opik asked the prime minister about the government's decision not to hold a public inquiry into the deaths of several young soldiers at the Deepcut barracks.

Mr Blair said a thorough probe had been conducted into the deaths and the families were free to apply to the attorney general for new inquests.

Labour's David Winnick, a supporter of the war, asked Mr Blair if he agreed the coalition had been damaged by the conduct of American troops at Abu Ghraib prison. He called on US defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld to quit.

Mr Blair repeated his previous condemnation of any abuse of prisoners by coalition forces.

The prime minister was also asked questions about Labour's NHS successes and the European Working Time Directive.


Earlier, updating MPs on security, Mr Martin said restrictions on access to the "special" galleries - from which the attack on Mr Blair took place - would stay in place.

Only people invited personally by the Speaker - not MPs and Peers as previously - would be allowed to use those galleries until further notice, said Mr Martin.

"I realise that the restrictions on access to the galleries will cause inconvenience for some members, and for others, but I am sure that the House will appreciate it is in the interests of all those who work in this building that the lessons of last week's incident are learnt and acted upon," he said.

Security is widely expected to be upgraded after the attack on Mr Blair.


The decision to make a statement was taken at a meeting of the House of Commons Commission which oversees security in the House.

The Commission is considering recommendations made by security services following last week's incident.

Mr Blair was speaking during his weekly half-hour question and answer session when one of the projectiles hit his back, prompting an evacuation by MPs.

Campaign group Fathers 4 Justice claimed responsibility.

The incident occurred despite a 600,000 security screen being installed in the chamber at Easter.

House of Commons Speaker Michael Martin
"Only people personally invited by me will be able to access the special galleries"


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