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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL

British Prime Minister Tony Blair Addresses House of Commons

Aired April 2, 2003 - 06:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

BILL HEMMER, CNN ANCHOR: As we bring you up to date on the very latest that's happening around here, now I hear in London, Tony Blair now, the British prime minister, is talking in the House of Commons.
(JOINED IN PROGRESS)

TONY BLAIR, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: ... been killed in their service of their country over the past week. Again, we want to pay tribute to their courage and their dignity, and pass on our condolences and our sympathy to their families and their friends.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Andrew Robinson (ph).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Speaker, when, God willing, this war is successfully concluded, the prime minister will have to address the proposed E.U. constitution put forward by the convention on the future of Europe. In what way has he modified his enthusiasm for a single European common foreign and defense policy in the light of recent events?

BLAIR: I have always believed that the common foreign security policy should not be communitized (ph), should be within the commission, but has to remain in governmental. That is the position that the government has set out. It's the position that government will maintain.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bob Blizzard (ph).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can I tell my right humble friend that my constituency is today suffering from a devastating blow from the news that Shell is to complete the close of its base in Lowestoft? The hundreds of jobs directly involved and the effect on local supply chain businesses will punch a gaping hole in a town that is not unused to economic misfortune.

Will he ensure that all government agencies do everything they possibly can to mitigate this disaster, and to help those who lose their jobs? And will he look at what can be done to help towns like Lowestoft, where there are many good, hardworking people that because of its peripheral location finds it so hard to attract new businesses when we lose those industries that we've had for so long?

BLAIR: First of all, Mr. Speaker, can I offer my sympathy to the constituents of my honorable friend, who are likely to (UNINTELLIGIBLE) as a result of this announcement? And can I also say to him that I am sure that Job Center Plus and the other agencies will work to ensure that the Rapid Response Service that we've put in place now where there are...

HEMMER: Obviously our viewers know we're anticipating some sort of comment regarding Iraq. When the House of Commons gets around to that subject, we'll get back there in London.

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