UK & World News

  • 9 December 2013, 14:42

Mandela Memorial: Four British PMs To Attend

Sir John Major, Tony Blair and Gordon Brown will all accompany David Cameron to the official memorial ceremony for Nelson Mandela.

The Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, and the leader of the Labour Party, Ed Miliband, will also attend the service in Johannesburg's FNB Stadium, the scene of Nelson Mandela's last public appearance before the 2010 World Cup Final.

It is the first time for many years that all of the country's surviving prime ministers have travelled to an event abroad.

The trip will be funded by the Government for Mr Cameron and Mr Clegg, Labour will fund Mr Miliband's attendance and the former prime ministers will cover their own costs, although all former PMs get an allowance for continuing duties once they leave office.

South Africa is preparing for the arrival of scores of world leaders as the official mourning continues for the country's first black leader.

The Pretoria administration has confirmed 53 serving heads of state have confirmed they will be among the 80,000 expected to gather to pay their tributes at Tuesday's four-hour event.

Among them will be US President Barack Obama, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, former US presidents George W Bush, Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter, and the new Iranian president Hassan Rouhani.

Celebrities including Bono Oprah Winfrey and Sir Richard Branson are also expected to head to South Africa to pay their personal tributes.

The Prince of Wales will represent the Queen at Mr Mandela's funeral in Qunu on Sunday. He will be accompanied by his wife, the Duchess of Cornwall, although the couple will not attend the memorial.

The Queen, who is 87, has been advised against long-haul flights and has therefore decided not to travel to the events.

The disclosure of the UK's representatives at the memorial came as MPs prepared to honour the memory of the former South African president in the House of Commons. Mr Cameron led the comments.

Mr Mandela's body will lie in state at South Africa's seat of government, the Union Buildings in Pretoria, until he is laid to rest in a state funeral at his hometown of Qunu in the Eastern Cape.

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