BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
 You are in: UK: Politics  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
England
N Ireland
Scotland
Wales
Politics
Education
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
EDITIONS
Tuesday, 10 December, 2002, 22:38 GMT
Cherie statement gets mixed reaction
Cherie Blair accompanied by Fiona Millar
Friends say the press should 'lay off' Mrs Blair
Cherie Blair's statement was greeted with a mixture of sympathy and admiration from MPs across both parties.

Friends told the media to "lay off" the prime minister's wife after she went public to say she was "sorry" for causing her husband and the Labour Government any embarrassment.


What shone out from her statement was her honesty, her directness, her courage

Tessa Jowell
But David Davis, who shadows the deputy prime minister, reiterated the Conservative Party's call for an independent review of the controversy, stressing that Mrs Blair's statement had left key questions unanswered.

"Mrs Blair gave us a very good account about how she felt about it and why she did what she did," he told the BBC.

"But she cannot answer the questions about the behaviour of the government - that can only be answered by someone who is free of the Number 10 system."

'Draw a line'

He told Channel 4 News that MPs still "don't know what the interference might have been" in convicted fraudster Peter Foster's deportation case.

Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell heaped praise on Mrs Blair's courage and honesty and urged the media to "lay off" her.

It would take a "pretty warped human being" not to draw a line under the affair, she said.

"Cherie's statement tonight would have been seen by millions of people," she said.

"What shone out from her statement was her honesty, her directness, her courage in making the statement, her sense of regret that she had been the cause of all this difficulty for the prime minister, for her family ... it's impact on the government.

"She said that she regretted that.

"She admitted to her mistakes and frankly you have to be a pretty warped human being still not to be prepared to draw a line under this and say 'OK, that's fair enough, this is now the end of the matter'."

'Candid account'

Ms Jowell said the prime minister's wife had put up with media criticism for years with "great dignity and with great presence".

"I think she is a great asset to us. We are very lucky that we have Cherie, that she is willing to put up with what's thrown at her because she believes basically that what she is doing is worth it," she told Channel 4 News.

Labour MP Andrew Mackinlay called on the newspapers to leave Mrs Blair alone, arguing that she had given a full and frank explanation of recent events.

But he did acknowledge that "she might have come forward sooner".

Tessa Jowell
'Lay off' Cherie Blair, Ms Jowell urges media
"I say well done to her. She came over as a good mum and gave a very candid account," he said.

"I think for the press to pursue her now would be malevolent.

"It seems to me there is now a full explanation and one which I think squares up.

"The press are right to inquire but now there is a full explanation they should back off."

Immigration minister Beverley Hughes said the statement had "clearly" been emotional for Mrs Blair.

"I don't think people don't realise how upsetting, how difficult, it is when you really feel that in a very public way you are in the eye of a maelstrom like that which I think generally people will accept that she did not intend to make," she told Sky News.

"I think people will take what they've seen tonight to be a very full and frank and genuine account of how this all has arisen."

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Rachel Wright
"She made a highly emotional statement"
Bridget Prentice, Labour MP
"It was a very human statement"
The BBC's Andrew Marr
"It felt like a pretty full explanation"
 VOTE RESULTS
Cherie speech: Were you convinced?

Yes
 38.56% 

No
 61.44% 

30800 Votes Cast

Results are indicative and may not reflect public opinion


Latest news

Background & analysis

Profiles

AUDIO VIDEO

HAVE YOUR SAY
See also:

10 Dec 02 | Politics
10 Dec 02 | Politics
10 Dec 02 | Politics

E-mail this story to a friend



© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes