UK govt banned ministers to meet Dalai Lama
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The British government had imposed a "blanket prohibition" on two ministers meeting the Dalai Lama here in June, forcing the duo to accuse Prime Minister David Cameron of buckling to Chinese pressure on the vexed Tibet issue, according to a media report today.
The ban on meeting the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader – imposed by the Prime Minister's team during crisis talks over Eurozone countries at a meeting of G20 countries – prompted a fierce backlash from the two ministers – Tim Loughton and
Loughton and Baker were barred at the last minute from attending a private lunch with the 77-year-old Dalai Lama at the apartment of the House of Commons Speaker John Bercow minutes before it was due to start, the Telegraph reported.
They then wrote to Cameron to protest after the "deeply embarrassing" incident in June this year, according to a copy of the letter obtained by Channel Four Dispatches programme.
Loughton told the programme that he and Baker had originally been cleared to meet the Dalai Lama on his visit to the UK between June 14 and 23 this year.
The pair had been given the green light to attend the lunch on June 20 ¿ Baker is honorary president of the Tibet Society and Loughton is a member of the Tibet Society council.
But on the eve of the lunch, Loughton received many calls from officials travelling with Cameron in Cancun, Mexico at the G20 summit, he said.
The then-foreign minister Jeremy Browne also intervened, telling that they could not attend the meeting moments before it was due to begin.
The row took place as China was in talks about offering 27 billion pounds, into a fighting fund expected to be used up by the IMF to bail out Eurozone economies.
They wrote a private letter to Cameron in July which they strongly protested about the way they had been muzzled, and complained about the "tremendous pressure put upon each of us at the 11th hour not to attend".