David Cameron had no choice but to postpone today’s speech: while it would have been a relief to get the darned thing over and done with, a navel-gazing address on Conservative Europe policy would have done him no favours in the long-term when the Algerian hostage crisis is still going on.
The Prime Minister will be briefed at 9am with another COBRA meeting and will then give a Commons statement at 11am. He was horrified yesterday to discover that Algeria had launched its rescue mission without consulting the UK, when he had already asked to be informed. The Mail quotes one official saying ‘We asked them not to go in with all guns blazing and they just did it anyway. They insisted this was their sovereign territory and it was their operation.’
Though events have been beyond his control, Cameron is good in a crisis, and adept at handling sensitive situations. Today’s statement will provide some more of the ‘further bad news, very difficult news’ that the Prime Minister warned about last night. Today will be another test of his premiership: just not quite the one he had pencilled in for 18 January.
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