Blair Pays Tribute To Diana

Blair
 
RealAudio
The Prime Minister's Statement
The Prime Minister, Tony Blair, paid a moving tribute to the life and work of Diana, Princess of Wales. He described her as a "wonderful and warm human being".

Mr Blair, accompanied by his wife and three children was wearing a black tie and sombre suit. He made his speech outside a church in his Sedgefield constituency in the rain, his voice breaking with emotion.

"I feel like everyone else in this country today. I am utterly devastated," he said.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with Princess Diana's family, particularly her two sons. Our heart goes out to them."
"We are today a nation in a state of shock, in mourning, in grief that is so deeply painful for us," he said.

"She was a wonderful and a warm human being, although her own life was often sadly touched by tragedy. "She touched the lives of so many others in Britain and throughout the world with joy and with comfort. "How many times shall we remember her in how many different ways - with the sick, the dying, with children, with the needy?

"With just a look or a gesture that spoke so much more than words, she would reveal to all of us the depth of her compassion and her humanity."

The Prime Minister added: "We know how difficult things were for her from time to time. I am sure we can only guess that. But people everywhere, not just here in Britain, kept faith with Princess Diana.

"They liked her, they loved her, they regarded her as one of the people.
"She was the People's Princess and that is how she will stay, how she will remain in our hearts and our memories for ever."

Mr Blair was asked if as a mark of respect there would be a cessation of campaigning on the Scottish and Welsh referendums. The votes are due to take place on September the 11th and 18th.

He said: "I am sure that will be considered and there is a whole lot of questions that need to be asked and answers that will be given but just right at this moment I don't think it's the right time."

"I will remember her personally with great affection. I think the whole country will remember her with the deepest affection and love and that is why our grief is so deep today." he continued.

Before going into St Mary Magdalen church, where he was due to read a lesson during the Sunday morning service, he said he had spoken already to the Queen and the Prince of Wales about the tragedy.