Prime Minister's G20 snub: Barack Obama to hold private talks with Francois Hollande - but not David Cameron

 

David Cameron will not hold private talks with Barack Obama at this week’s G20 summit in St Petersburg after Parliament’s decision not to back US action in Syria, it emerged last night.

In contrast François Hollande, the French President, will hold talks on the fringes of the summit with Mr Obama, symbolising what some see as a weakening of the special relationship after last week’s Commons vote against military action.

The French President, who has vowed to join the US in punitive strikes against the Syrian regime, is one of three leaders due to have private talks with the US leader during the two-day summit that starts today.

Downing Street made clear that Mr Cameron did not ask the White House for a bilateral meeting, quashing any hint of a snub to the Prime Minister, who again firmly ruled out British military participation. The two leaders, who speak regularly, may still meet in the margins of the meetings.

Bilateral meetings with a US President are an important diplomatic event. In 2009, there was embarrassment when it was revealed that Gordon Brown’s officials made five attempts to secure talks with Mr Obama after a UN General Assembly meeting, eventually settling for a 15-minute chat walking through a kitchen.

White House officials say that in addition to his council of war with Mr Hollande, President Obama will only hold bilateral talks with China’s President Xi Jinping and Japan’s Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe.

Yesterday Mr Cameron said he would focus his efforts at the G20 on increasing international humanitarian aid to Syrians and working towards a diplomatic solution to the crisis. But during Prime Minister’s Questions he was unable to conceal his anger at Ed Miliband for his failure to back the Government in its motion.

He accused the Labour leader of “dividing” the House of Commons in its condemnation of the use of chemical weapons in Syria and said it had been unnecessary for Labour to undermine Britain’s public response to the Assad regime’s use of such weapons given that last week’s government motion did not authorise military action.

“Last week the Commons voted clearly and I have said I have respected the outcome out of that vote and I won’t be bringing back plans for British participation in military action,” Mr Cameron told MPs. “My only regret … is that I don’t think it was necessary to divide the House on a vote that could have led to a vote, but you took the decision that it was.”

The Prime Minister sacked a senior Tory backbencher as a government adviser yesterday after he abstained in the vote. Downing Street said it was “sad” to be losing Jesse Norman, a member of No 10’s policy board, which was set up this year to help formulate government policy.

But a spokesman said there had to be consequences for not voting with the Government. A Downing Street source said: “Jesse has done some very good work on the policy board but he couldn’t support the government on a three-line whip the other day, so he has left that position.”

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Arts and Entertainment
Joe Cocker performing on the Stravinski hall stage during the Montreux Jazz Festival, in Montreux, Switzerland in 2002
musicHe 'turned my song into an anthem', says former Beatle
News
Clarke Carlisle
sport
Sport
footballStoke City vs Chelsea match report
Arts and Entertainment
theatreThe US stars who've taken to UK panto, from Hasselhoff to Hall
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Life and Style
Approaching sale shopping in a smart way means that you’ll get the most out of your money
life + styleSales shopping tips and tricks from the experts
News
newsIt was due to be auctioned off for charity
News
Coca-Cola has become one of the largest companies in the world to push staff towards switching off their voicemails, in a move intended to streamline operations and boost productivity
peopleCoca-Cola staff urged to switch it off to boost productivity
Environment
Sir David Attenborough
environment... as well as a plant and a spider
Voices
'That's the legal bit done. Now on to the ceremony!'
voicesThe fight for marriage equality isn't over yet, says Siobhan Fenton
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

Austen Lloyd: Regulatory / Compliance / Exeter

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: Exeter - An excellent opportunity for a Solici...

Ashdown Group: IT Support Technician - 12 Month Fixed Term - Shrewsbury

£17000 - £20000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Helpdesk Support Technician - 12 ...

The Jenrick Group: Maintenance Planner

£28000 - £32000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: Maintenance...

The Jenrick Group: World Wide PLC Service Engineer

£30000 - £38000 per annum + pesion + holidays: The Jenrick Group: World Wide S...

Day In a Page

Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there