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What side was ambassador on over Vatican?

I listened with interest to yesterday morning's Mark Carruthers' BBC interview with 'our man in the Vatican' - Ambassador Francis Campbell.

Overall the interview was excellent, but what rather troubled me was that Mr Campbell appeared to represent the Vatican line on the issues, as opposed to the UK line.

Mr Campbell told us what the Vatican had done and how unprecedented the letter from Pope Benedict was to the Irish Catholic Church. But he did not tell us whether the British Government - whom he represents - thought this was sufficient.

Nor did he tell us whether the British Government would take the opportunity during the state visit to raise our country's concern at the Catholic Church's failures in relation to the handling of clerical abuse. Furthermore, he didn't say whether the Government would register its concern regarding the Vatican's continued advice not to automatically report all suspected cases of abuse to the authorities.

During any other state visit, where a county's human rights record is questionable, the Government would rightly raise these issues; our ambassador would rightly make this a point of any media interview.

It was slightly surprising that Mr Campbell appeared not to do this, but did take the time to promote - and some may say defend - the Vatican's line.

Is this what we expect from our ambassadors?

ULTONIAN

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