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Last Updated: Thursday, 21 September 2006, 10:41 GMT 11:41 UK
Oatens caught up in military coup
Belinda and Mark Oaten pictured in January
The Oatens in January, as Mark said he would stand for the Lib Dem leadership
Lib Dem MP Mark Oaten has spoken of his alarm at being caught up in the military coup in Thailand.

Mr Oaten shunned this week's Lib Dem conference in Brighton in favour of a get-away-from-it-all holiday with his wife to mark their wedding anniversary.

But instead of a relaxing trip to Hong Kong, Bangkok and Phuket they ran into the trouble with the coup in Thailand.

Mr Oaten quit as Lib Dem home affairs spokesman earlier this year after admitting an affair with a rent boy.

He later said he would not be standing for Parliament at the next general election.

Mr Oaten, 42, said today that his relationship with his wife Belinda, 38, was "fine".

Speaking from Bangkok, Mr Oaten said: "It is our wedding anniversary and we thought rather than being stuck at party conference we would go on holiday to Hong Kong, Bangkok and Phuket.

"Although I was nervous about a military coup, it is completely and utterly calm here in Bangkok, there is no problem at all. We are having a wonderful time."

Bloodless coup

Tanks are still on the streets of Bangkok as people returned to work in the Thai capital while the ousted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra is in London where he has a home.

The bloodless coup has been condemned by the US government and the European Union.

Earlier in the week, Liberal Democrat president Simon Hughes called for politicians to be allowed to have a private life.

Mr Hughes, who during the party's leadership race admitted to having had gay and heterosexual relationships, said people will be put off public service through fear of being exposed by the media.

He said not everyone was able to cope with the pressure the spotlight brings on public figures.

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