British premier cuts short Africa trip: aide

18th July 2011, Comments 0 comments

British Prime Minister David Cameron will cut short his trip to Nigeria on Tuesday, returning home several hours earlier than planned to deal with the phone-hacking crisis, an aide said.

"We were able to re-arrange our visit so we could do most of the things that we wanted to do," a spokesman told reporters travelling with the premier. "He will go back and prepare his statement and give it to parliament the following morning."

Cameron will return to Britain on Tuesday evening, rather than the early hours of Wednesday as scheduled, he said shortly before taking off for Nigeria.

Cameron was due in Lagos late Monday after a day trip in South Africa to boost British trade. Aides said he would still give a planned speech and press conference with President Goodluck Jonathan before flying home.

The premier cancelled a visit to a power station and a business reception at the British High Commission, aides said.

Cameron had already cut short the trip from five days to two, trimming out stops in the new state of South Sudan and Rwanda, following the firestorm at home caused by the hacking row.

Earlier Cameron was forced to defend his visit and called for an extension of parliament which is currently due to break up for the summer on Tuesday.

"It is right for Britain to be engaged with South Africa and to be engaged with Africa as a whole. There is a huge opportunity for trade, for growth, for jobs," Cameron said at a press conference with South African President Jacob Zuma.

© 2011 AFP

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