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Tuesday, 25 September, 2001, 17:18 GMT 18:18 UK
Parliament to be recalled
Tony Blair
Tony Blair will give a statement to MPs
Parliament is to be recalled for a day next week so Tony Blair can bring MPs up to speed with events in the wake of the US terror attacks.

Downing Street has confirmed that MPs will come back next Thursday to hear a statement from the prime minister, before spending a day debating the situation.


The Conservative Party is recognising the seriousness of the international situation

David Davis
Labour's annual conference will end early on the Wednesday to allow the recall.

And the Conservatives have said their conference the following week in Blackpool will also end early.

It will be the second time since the attacks that Parliament has been recalled from its summer recess, which is due to end on 15 October.

Leader of the Commons Robin Cook said: "It is right that we should demonstrate the strength of our democracy in this fight against terrorism and this recall of Parliament will give the prime minister and the government an opportunity to update the House of Commons on the developing situation."

Officially Mr Blair must ask the Commons Speaker Michael Martin to recall Parliament so the debate can take place next Thursday.

Mr Blair's spokesman said that there was a possibility that Parliament could be recalled even earlier "should that be appropriate".

The news came as the political conference season was getting under way with Liberal Democrat delegates meeting in Bournemouth.

Mr Blair had talks on Monday at Number 10 with the new Tory leader, Iain Duncan Smith.

'Serious situation'

Tory party chairman David Davis told BBC Radio 4's Today programme on Tuesday that their truncated conference would stick to "extremely serious" issues.

With British troops likely to be in action within weeks it was "entirely necessary that we reflect the seriousness of the international situation whilst at the same time balancing that with the democratic need to have party conferences".

David Davis
Mr Davis: Important not to show weakness
Defence, foreign affairs, terrorism, the economy and public services were likely to be the only main issues discussed on the conference floor.

Re-affirming Tory support for government policy in the current crisis, Mr Davis added: "What we believe is the important role of opposition is to give constructive support to the government... (and) to make absolutely sure that Britain's enemies - the enemies of the civilised world, frankly - don't see a weakness in western democracy by seeing us squabbling amongst ourselves."

The Liberal Democrats say their conference this week in Bournemouth will continue until Thursday as planned, although the arrangements will be reviewed on a "day-by-day" basis.

Campaigns director Lord Razzall said: "The basis on which they are going to shorten their conferences is for a recall of Parliament and that does not apply to us."


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See also:

24 Sep 01 | UK Politics
Blair builds support for action
24 Sep 01 | Liberal Democrats
Kennedy cautions on 'war' talk
19 Sep 01 | UK Politics
Blair begins anti-terror talks
18 Sep 01 | UK Politics
Blair continues alliance building
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