Blair defends handling of fuel crisis

In a specially arranged press conference Prime Minister Tony Blair today said that he had handled Britain's week-long fuel crisis in the best way possible.

In a specially arranged press conference Prime Minister Tony Blair today said that he had handled Britain's week-long fuel crisis in the best way possible.

Speaking from Downing Street the PM said that although it would have been easier to cave in to the demands of protesters, who he acknowledged had valid concerns, it would not have been good government.

A "short term fix" of tax cuts would be irresponsible and the effect on the country's financial standing and credibility would be catastrophic", Mr Blair said.

He argued that in a democracy can not be run by a government that surrenders to every protest it faces.

Speaking as the crisis appeared to be coming to an end, Mr Blair said that 12 of the 20 main depots were now working normally but "lives have been and still are at risk".

He added that there was still "some way to go" to end the fuel crisis and said it would be "some days" before supplies at petrol stations were back to normal.

Answer a question from the press mr Blair expressed bewilderment as to why Esso had decided to increase its petrol prices at the height of the crisis.

"The world oil price as far as I'm aware has actually gone down in the last few days," he said.

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