Court ruling adds to confusion for stranded Britons

Thousands of British tourists stranded in Thailand faced chaos and confusion today as a court banned the country's ruling party.

The father of a British tourist stuck in the resort of Phuket said his daughter had told him how fights had broken out among thousands of tourists besieging a military airfield.



Some Britons were escaping from the strife-torn country on relief flights which were taking them to London via Hong Kong, Singapore or Kuala Lumpur.



But many faced a battle to get away, with the UK not actually laying on any extra flights but merely liaising with foreign airlines to get as many Britons away as possible.



Anti-government protesters have sparked the travel chaos in Thailand by occupying and forcing the closure of the main Bangkok international airport.



It was not immediately clear what would be the effect of today's ruling by Thailand's Constitutional Court that the main ruling party be dissolved and the prime minister and 36 party executives be banned from politics for five years.



One of the stranded Britons is advertising agency worker Nadine Howard, from Hampstead, north west London, who is stuck in the Thai resort of Phuket at the end of a two-week holiday with her boyfriend.



She had been travelling with Taiwanese carrier EVA Air but was unable to get a flight from Phuket to Bangkok to get back to London.



Her father Philip Howard said today: "They have had to pay £1,000 to get a flight from Phuket to Hong Kong and then they are hoping to fly back to London from there.



"Neither she nor I could get through to EVA Air so I went to their headquarters in London. The person we spoke to there was very helpful, but they were overwhelmed. It's impossible to realise the scale of the problem. The airline was trying to sort out travel for thousands of people stuck in Thailand."



Mr Howard went on: "Nadine told me of a military airfield where thousands of people were waiting for flights. Locals told her not to go there as fights have broken out. Apparently the place is like a refuge camp."



Foreign Office minister Bill Rammell said major airlines including Qantas and Emirates were laying on extra flights with UK Government support to help people stranded in Thailand get home.



An Emirates flight leaving Chiang Mai airport last night was expected to carry well over 100 British nationals on board.



In a statement released by the Foreign Office, Mr Rammell said: "We are continuing to work with our international partners to support efforts to defuse the unrest in Thailand.



"Several thousand British travellers remain stranded in Bangkok. Our priorities are to ensure their immediate welfare and to find ways of ending their uncertainty and helping them get home.



"The only way such large numbers of people can leave Bangkok for their homes is through co-operation between governments, airlines and tour providers: we need a systematic approach not a symbolic one.



"Our embassy team on the ground is providing support to British travellers and looking after their welfare. Extra staff are on their way to help this effort.



"We have talked to all the major airlines and tour operators with large numbers of British ticket holders. They are working with our support to provide additional flights from alternative airports.



"Qantas are now laying on additional flights from Phuket including for alliance partners British Airways. Emirates are also laying on extra flights."



Gulf Air, Malaysian Airways, Thai Airways, Cathay Pacific and Silk Airways are also expected to provide additional flights, mainly out of Phuket.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
peoplePair enliven the Emirates bore-draw
Arts and Entertainment
tvPoldark episode 8, review
News
Britain's opposition Labour Party leader Ed Miliband (R) and Boris Johnson, mayor of London, talk on the Andrew Marr show in London April 26
General electionAndrew Marr forced to intervene as Boris and Miliband clash on TV
News
news
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Senior Accounts Assistant - Accounts Payable - St. Albans

£26000 - £28000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: Senior Accounts Assistan...

Ashdown Group: Treasury Assistant - Accounts Assistant - London, Old Street

£24000 - £26000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

Recruitment Genius: Installation and Service / Security Engineer

£22000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is part of a Group...

Recruitment Genius: Service Charge Accounts Assistant

£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you a a young, dynamic pers...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence
Public relations as 'art'? Surely not

Confessions of a former PR man

The 'art' of public relations is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef succumbs to his sugar cravings with super-luxurious sweet treats

Bill Granger's luxurious sweet treats

Our chef loves to stop for 30 minutes to catch up on the day's gossip, while nibbling on something sweet
London Marathon 2015: Paula Radcliffe and the mother of all goodbyes

The mother of all goodbyes

Paula Radcliffe's farewell to the London Marathon will be a family affair
Everton vs Manchester United: Steven Naismith demands 'better' if Toffees are to upset the odds against United

Steven Naismith: 'We know we must do better'

The Everton forward explains the reasons behind club's decline this season
Arsenal vs Chelsea: Praise to Arsene Wenger for having the courage of his convictions

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Praise to Wenger for having the courage of his convictions