PM calls for rapid Egypt transition


Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak said he would not stand for re-election

Prime Minister David Cameron has called on Egypt’s beleaguered President Hosni Mubarak to begin a “rapid and credible” process of transition.

He told the Commons the process “needs to start now” as he offered support for those demanding freedom and democracy.

At Prime Minister’s question time Mr Cameron said 1,000 UK citizens had returned home from Egypt in the last 48 hours.

Mr Cameron said: “Transition needs to be rapid and credible and it needs to start now. “We should be clear: we stand with those, in this country, who want freedom, who want democracy and rights the world over.

“You can’t watch the scenes in Cairo without finding it incredibly moving about people wanting to have those aspirations in Egypt as we have them in our country.”

Mr Cameron said: “The Government takes a very strong view that political reform is what’s required, not repression and we have made that clear in all the calls I’ve made including to President Mubarak and yesterday the Egyptian prime minister.

“The key question is: have they done enough? President Mubarak says he is going and we respect that but what matters is not just the orderly transition but also that it is urgent, it is credible, it starts now.”

Labour leader Ed Miliband said: “Far from indicating support for extremism the people on the streets of Egypt are actually demanding some very basic things: jobs, freedom of speech and the right to choose by whom they are governed.” He said democracy represented the “best route to stability” in Egypt.

Asked by Mr Miliband about the support being offered to Britons in Egypt, the Prime Minister said: “There are around 30,000 UK nationals in the Red Sea area, which at the moment remains calm and stable and we have not yet changed travel advice to that part of Egypt.

“In terms of the rest of Egypt, there are about 3,000 UK citizens in Cairo and around 300 in Alexandria. In terms of making sure those that want to return can, and we’ve urged many to do so, there are still very good commercial flights and we have added a flight commissioned by the British Government.”

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