Blair will stand by his man
Tuesday 15 September 1998
Downing Street even dismissed the significance of the Starr report. "The Prime Minister doesn't dump people because some report appears on the Internet," said Mr Blair's official spokesman.
He made his remarks as it became clear that the tide of American public opinion is starting to turn in Mr Clinton's favour and the prospects of impeachment are receding.
In the strongest expression of support for Mr Clinton during the sex scandal crisis that has engulfed the White House, the spokesman said Mr Blair would dismiss calls by some Labour MPs for him to distance himself from the beleaguered President.
Some MPs fear Mr Blair may be damaged by this close association with Mr Clinton, especially if the President is forced out of office.
They want him to scrap plans to meet Mr Clinton in New York next Monday.
Downing Street insisted, however, that the meeting would go ahead.
It would take place at a conference of centre-left parties on the global economy and the "third way" policy agenda sought by Mr Blair and Mr Clinton as an alternative to the "old right and left".
Mr Blair's spokesman said it was in Britain's national interest to maintain a close relationship with the leader of the world's most powerful country.
"He sees President Clinton as a very good friend and ally to this country, not least for what he has done on several occasions for the Northern Ireland peace process," the Number 10 spokesman said.
"This report is a matter for the American Congress and the American people.
"The Prime Minister is not a fair-weather friend and whether people like it or not, that's the way he operates."
Never the less, some differences between the two leaders have emerged during their telephone conversations about the world's economic problems.
Mr Clinton, anxious to be seen on the international stage to deflect attention from his domestic crisis, is keen to call a meeting of leaders of the Group of Seven (G7) leading industrial nations.
But Mr Blair, who currently chairs the G7, does not want to summon fellow leaders to a summit unless he is convinced it would achieve tangible results.
Aides say he wants to avoid a "talking shop" meeting which would be dismissed by commentators as a "damp squib".
A decision on whether to call such a meeting would be taken in the next two weeks.
- 1 The BBC has just done more to eradicate ‘terrorism’ than all our wars since 9/11
- 2 Dog thinks owner is drowning in lake, dives in and tries to pull him out
- 3 Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
- 4 Chilling drone footage captures Auschwitz ahead of 70th anniversary of liberation
- 5 Narendra Modi: Indian Prime Minister wears suit with pinstripes that spell his name to meet Barack Obama
Asteroid narrowly scrapes past Earth: how to watch the closest space rock for decades as it flies by
Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
Greece elections: Greek PM Alexis Tsipras takes aim at 'neo-liberal' Europe as country gears up for prolonged austerity battle
Pornhub star Mia Khalifa receives death threats after being ranked the site's top adult actress
Prince Philip set to be knighted by Australia: Celebrate by reading his greatest gaffes
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
French court convicts three over homophobic tweets, in case hailed as a 'significant victory' by LGBT rights campaigners
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British Muslim school children suffering a backlash of abuse following Paris attacks
Islamic history is full of free thinkers - but recent attempts to suppress critical thought are verging on the absurd
30,000 reasons why the rhetoric on immigrants claiming benefits can stop now
£38000 - £42000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the UK's best performing...
£35000 - £43000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Our award-winning client is one...
£15000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This leading provider of Atlas ...
£18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Opportunity to join established...