[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Friday, 21 November, 2003, 14:32 GMT
Reporters' Log: Bush in Britain
The BBC's team of correspondents bring you news updates, as they happen, on the final day of President George Bush's state visit to the UK.

Washington D.C. :: Adam Brookes :: 1720GMT

I think President Bush's trip was portrayed here in the media with considerable interest, especially in the degree to which Bush has managed to finesse his relationship with Britain and Europe. There was quite a lot of interest in the protests and what they were about, but they weren't seen as the defining motif of his visit.

Those pictures of George Bush as a "statesman", handling himself eloquently and fluently with Tony Blair, who is much admired here across the political spectrum, this stuff makes Americans happy. And it also doesn't do anything to harm President Bush's image in the run up to his re-election campaign.

Clearly one of the things he's going to have to tidy up in the coming year is American foreign policy and his relations with other important allies. These images gave the sense that America is really starting to get these relationships back on track.

Teesside Airport :: Guto Harri :: 1705GMT

In the end very little policy was sorted out. We all had a list that we were hoping to tick things off from. Was George Bush going to give the signal that perhaps he was going to lift those punitive measures that make it very hard for us to sell British steel in the United States? Not sorted, a few hints were dropped, but nothing was agreed.

And with Guantanamo Bay, again hints were dropped that if Tony Blair wanted to bring British suspects back to the UK to stand trial then President Bush might be agreeable to that, but again it wasn't sorted.

What happens in Iraq? Well they had lots of discussions on that. But in the end it was all overshadowed by those terrible events in Turkey, events which distracted them, but also added a certain poignancy and edge to what they were talking about.

Teesside Airport :: Justin Webb :: 1610GMT

It was telling that President Bush's political adviser Karl Rove, who was here, had a smile that covered his face from ear to ear. He was in jovial form. He thinks that, domestically for the president, the pictures, images and the progress he's made in solidifying his friendship with Tony Blair, has all been of a very high order here.

Sedgefield, Co Durham :: Guto Harri :: 1605GMT

It was very hard to see what was going on for most of the day. But it did sound as though Mr Bush had the chance to genuinely relax today. He got some sense of what it was like to spend a cosy afternoon in a cosy pub on a cold day in the northeast. And that's probably a lot more real than any experience he had in London in the last few days.

Sedgefield, Co Durham :: Guto Harri :: 1510GMT

President Bush has gone to the community college here and he's been talking to students and shaking hands, and actually probably getting to meet more people than he did in his couple of days in London. Some of the people here were clearly thrilled to have met somebody so famous.

Some people did ask about the war, but generally people were in favour of that. And I gather that one student asked Tony Blair about his health. Of course we know he had a bit of a heart scare a few weeks ago. But the prime minister told the student that he was fine now.

Sedgefield, Co Durham :: Guto Harri :: 1450GMT

The president is now headed back in the direction of Trimdon Colliery. It's from there that he'll be getting a chopper back to the airport where he catches his own plane back to the US. We were told that they were going to try to call in on a local school, I'm not sure if that's going to be the case now.

Trimdon Colliery, Co Durham :: Richard Wells :: 1440GMT

There have been minor irritations about the street closures and security here. People have had to park their cars some distance away from their homes and shops and walk. One district nurse was very annoyed at having to walk to a patient down a street behind me, very close to where the Blair's live.

But generally the view of the people here is that they are pleased to see the president, the disruption will be over in a couple of hour's time, and it's a price worth paying.

Sedgefield, Co Durham:: Guto Harri :: 1413GMT

Tony Blair is trying to show this Texan from across the Atlantic just how cosy a life there is outside of London and he does not have to spend all his visit in the glamour and privileged surroundings of Buckingham Palace he can see what most normal people do in the UK.

In the pub, he had a bowl of cream of leek soup, fish and chips with mushy peas and a glass of alcohol-free lager.

He is a teetotaller, he had a bit of a drink problem in the past so he is steering clear of that.

Trimdon Colliery, Co Durham :: Richard Wells :: 1340GMT

The noise of the four helicopters coming over this tiny village when the president arrived with his first lady was quite astounding.

Mr and Mrs Blair were outside waiting for the president and first lady to get off the helicopter and Mrs Blair ushered the next-door neighbours over, Eddie and Petra Greaves, with their daughter, Gemma.

They had the distinction of being the first ordinary people the president and first lady have actually met and had a chat to since the start of this presidential visit.

Neighbours on the other side were taking pictures and the president walked towards them, gave them a thumbs up and said: "Thanks for your hospitality."

We are seeing a different side to George Bush this afternoon - the normal guy who likes to speak to people and chew the fat.

Sedgefield, Co Durham :: Laura Trevelyan :: 1315GMT

Mr Blair and President Bush are currently having lunch in the Dun Cow Inn. In front of me are several hundred protesters, a reminder of just how divisive this visit is. The two men did have a chance for private talks this morning over a cup of tea while they were at Mr Blair's home. They were basically taking stock of where their whole strategy is following those dramatic events in Istanbul.

Now I'm told that their resolve remains undiminished; if anything it's been strengthened. But of course, paradoxically what this week has shown is that while the president can come here and be protected, protecting ordinary people is quite another matter. And that is the dilemma for the two men now.

Trimdon Colliery, Co Durham :: Richard Wells :: 1230GMT

In recent years the French president Jacques Chirac and the French prime minister of the time Lionel Jospin, came here, and went to the Dun Cow Inn for a pub lunch. But the people here are saying that the level of security for those visits was nowhere near as strict or as tight as it has been for this visit.

This is no Camp David. Trimdon Colliery was built because of the two collieries that used to be around here. It is not the most affluent area of Co Durham. There are lots of terraced houses which used to be miners homes. The prime minister's home used to be occupied by a couple of teachers.

It is not perhaps the sort of place that President Bush and the First Lady usually spend their time. Hopefully they are enjoying this taste of the north east.

Sedgefield, Co Durham :: Guto Harri :: 1220GMT

We're only a few weeks away from Christmas and it's a bit like a pantomime here. If I was to shout out "do you welcome Bush?" one group of people over there would shout "oh yes we do". But another group would answer "oh no we don't".

Sedgefield, Co Durham :: Judith Moritz :: 1205GMT

The gate the two leaders have been taken into leads to Mr Blair's house, though we can't see inside. Much of the grounds of the house are sealed off. But you can see the proximity of the terraced homes next door.

Sedgefield, Co Durham :: Richard Wells :: 1200GMT

President Bush has arrived in the prime minister's constituency by helicopter, touching down on a playing field just yards from the Blair's home. The streets around the prime minister's home have been cornered off, parking has been banned and local people walking to their homes or the shops are being stopped, questioned and in some cases body searched. Even the postman delivering Mr Blair's morning mail has been turned away.

Sedgefield, Co Durham :: Judith Moritz :: 1120GMT

We're not being told what the president's exact movements will be, but the road here has been blocked off and there are many police officers lining the route. They're taking no chances. It looks like the president can be kept very much at arms length, if that is what they decide to do for security.

We also believe that he will be taken to the Blair constituency home in Trimdon Colliery. There are local residents who live there, right next door to Mr Blair in a row of terraces. They are able to stay in their own homes and will be able to get a lot closer.

Teesside Airport :: Janet Barrie :: 1045GMT

Here at Teesside airport there are a number of helicopters waiting to ferry President Bush and his wife Laura the short 10 or 15 minutes away from here, to the little village in Co Durham called Trimdon Colliery where Tony Blair has his house. They will be spending some time in his house there before they head to the town of Sedgefield, also in Mr Blair's constituency.

But they have been keeping the itinerary very close to their chest for security reasons.

Sedgefield, Co Durham :: Judith Moritz :: 1025GMT

Sedgefield is somewhere that has ordinarily a population of three thousand people. Well 1500 police officers have been brought in today. There are at the moment a few hundred protesters here, protesting at a range of different issues. Not just about the war in Iraq, not just about Guantanamo Bay. There are people here campaigning about the environment, about the "ghost ships" that are heading for Hartlepool, and students campaigning about student fees.

Buckingham Palace :: Branwen Jeffreys :: 1015GMT

There's a huge amount of activity around the palace gates at the moment, they're holding back the traffic. We're expecting that some of those senior figures who've been travelling with the president will leave by road. There is a little confusion over whether President Bush has himself left the palace; we're trying to get some clarification on that right now.

Buckingham Palace:: Branwen Jeffreys:: 1000GMT Friday

The Queen and President Bush have said goodbye and he is now leaving a rainy London for the 10-minute helicopter ride to Heathrow airport, where he will board Air Force One for the hour-long journey to the North East.

There are no protesters left here, in fact there is just a lone Bush supporter with a stars and stripes and a placard saying "Honk if you support Bush". I can't say I have heard many horns.

This is the end of the ceremonial part of the visit and from now on it is really a private visit to Tony Blair's constituency.

Sedgefield, Co Durham :: Judith Moritz :: 0910GMT

The exact movements of the prime minister and the president haven't been confirmed for security reasons, but we think they'll both have lunch at the village pub, the Dun Cow. President Bush is due to fly into Teesside Airport later this morning, and will visit we think the prime minister's constituency home at Trimdon Colliery down the road from here.





PRODUCTS AND SERVICES

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia
UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology | Health
Have Your Say | In Pictures | Week at a Glance | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes
Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific