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Last Updated: Monday, 13 February 2006, 17:28 GMT
Jet drama makes Blair miss vote
Tony Blair
Mr Blair said the incident was 'just one of those things'
Tony Blair has had to miss a crucial Commons vote after engine problems forced his flight home from South Africa to be cancelled.

The prime minister said he heard a "bang" on the aircraft moments before the pilot decided to abort take off.

"I didn't really have time to be particularly worried about it...it was just one of those things," he said.

He had been due to vote on the Identity Cards Bill, which has suffered a number of defeats in the House of Lords.

Relaxed

His attendance had been considered important after the government lost a division on religious hatred earlier this month by one vote when the prime minister did not take part.

Mr Blair had flown to South Africa at the weekend for a summit on international aid.

He was relaxed and smiling when he spoke about the drama on Monday.

"We were just about to take off, and I suppose in another few seconds we would have been in the air, and then suddenly there was a bang and I didn't really have time to be particularly worried about it," he said.

"So there it is. It's just one of these things."


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