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Cameron apology urged over visit

Published 11/02/2010

David Cameron has been urged to apologise for his visit to Apartheid-era South Africa
David Cameron has been urged to apologise for his visit to Apartheid-era South Africa
Former South African president Nelson Mandela with David Cameron

On the 20th anniversary of Nelson Mandela's release from prison, a senior Labour MP and former trade union leader have called on David Cameron to apologise for his visit to Apartheid-era South Africa.

Mr Cameron acknowledged his party's "mistakes" over South Africa when he visited former President Mandela in 2006. But a biography published last year disclosed that he visited the country as the guest of anti-sanctions lobbyists in 1989, when the ANC leader was still in jail.

A Conservative spokesmen said at the time that the visit was a chance for Mr Cameron to "see for himself" what conditions in South Africa were like, and noted that he met anti-Apartheid campaigners and opposition politicians while in the country.

But former anti-Apartheid campaigners, including Sheffield Central MP Richard Caborn and ex-TUC general secretary Norman Willis, have written to the Tory leader to demand an apology.

"Your trip, paid for by lobbyists against sanctions, was a long time ago," they wrote. "But it was then, and is now, a question of values and judgment.

"Since the details of this trip became public, you have refused to comment on it, refused to explain why you had to keep it quiet and refused to apologise for your actions.

"We hope that on the anniversary of Nelson Mandela's release, you will set the record straight and do what is right."

Press Association

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