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Last Updated: Wednesday, 12 May, 2004, 16:18 GMT 17:18 UK
Powell's plot to put Straw on spot
Colin Powell
Mr Powell decided against plan
Foreign Secretary Jack Straw is used to fielding tough questions from BBC News Online readers.

But now it has emerged he was very nearly put on the spot by a particularly clued-up correspondent - a Mr C Powell, of Washington, USA.

US Secretary of State Colin Powell thought about sending in a question to his UK counterpart after seeing a promotion on News Online for the BBC's interactive Talking Point programme.

He revealed the mischievous plot in an e-mail to Mr Straw.

'Amused'

The story emerged earlier on Wednesday, at the Foreign Office in London, as Mr Straw answered questions from around the world on Talking Point.

Breaking off from a reply, Mr Straw said: "I may just say, by the way, that Secretary Powell turns out to be an avid fan of the BBC's programmes.

"And he noticed that he could e-mail me with a question for this programme.

"He sent me an e-mail to say had been thinking about this, but he decided otherwise!"

Democracy plainly does not mean torture
Jack Straw

Mr Straw later revealed the contents of the e-mail to BBC diplomatic correspondent and Talking Point presenter Bridget Kendall.

"It said something along the lines of 'I notice on the BBC website you are answering questions from around the world and that I can ask you what I want.

"I nearly thought about e-mailing in, but I then I thought if I did that I would be giving the whole world my e-mail address'," Miss Kendall reported Mr Straw as saying.

The e-mail was signed "CP".

"The foreign secretary seemed amused but not surprised.

"He gave the impression he thought the US secretary of state used the internet, and even the BBC site, quite a lot," Miss Kendall added.




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