[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Sunday, 27 August 2006, 05:05 GMT 06:05 UK
Tories 'were wrong over S Africa'
Nelson Mandela and David Cameron
Mr Cameron was very impressed by Nelson Mandela
Conservative leader David Cameron has denounced his party's policy on South Africa during Margaret Thatcher's era, in an article in the Observer.

"The mistakes my party made in the past with respect to relations with the ANC and sanctions... make it all the more important to listen now," he wrote.

Lady Thatcher would not back sanctions in the 1980s, calling Nelson Mandela's African National Congress terrorists.

Mr Cameron met the former South African president in South Africa last week.

He called him "one of the greatest men alive" and said he had learned lessons from him.

He wrote: "The fact that there is so much to celebrate in the new South Africa is not in spite of Mandela and the ANC, it is because of them - and we Conservatives should say so clearly today."

Because of his age, Mr Cameron is looking at these events as part of history
Lord Tebbit

However, former Tory party chairman Lord Tebbit defended Lady Thatcher's policy of "constructive engagement" with South Africa and said it had "been a success".

He told the Observer: "Because of his age, Mr Cameron is looking at these events as part of history. Others of us who lived through them and had input into the discussions at the time see things very differently."

He added: "The result was an overwhelmingly peaceful transition of power in which the final initiative for the handover came not from foreigners but from native South Africans - Afrikaner South Africans, at that."

Mr Cameron said in his newspaper article he had drawn "two big lessons" from his visit to South Africa. The first was the importance of patience when trying to achieve long-term change.

"The second lesson is a related one: the importance of humility," he wrote.

Cameron warned on Tory core vote
17 Jul 06 |  UK Politics
Tebbit backs 'hug a hoodie' call
14 Jul 06 |  UK Politics
Tories plan for more female MPs
21 Aug 06 |  UK Politics
Tories' lead grows, poll suggests
22 Aug 06 |  UK Politics
Tebbit warns of Cameron dangers
12 Jan 06 |  UK Politics

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific