Tuesday 26 September 2017

Camerons red-faced after leaving daughter (8) in pub

Samantha and David Cameron with their daughter Nancy Photo: Getty Images
Samantha and David Cameron with their daughter Nancy Photo: Getty Images

Dean Gray in London

BRITISH Prime Minister David Cameron was forced to U-turn in a panic when he realised he'd left his eight-year-old daughter Nancy at the pub after "chillaxing" with friends near his country residence Chequers.

Although the incident happened a months ago it became public after the Camerons returned to the Plough Inn, near Aylesbury, on Sunday, to warn staff that there might be an increase in interest in their place of work after the incident.

It may well be every parent's nightmare: to get home from an event and realise that a child is missing. But it can turn out to be a political minefield as well if you also happen to be the prime minister.

Mr Cameron's office confirmed yesterday that he accidentally left his eight-year-old daughter Nancy in a country pub after a family Sunday lunch.

Returned

Downing Street later said that Samantha Cameron -- rather than the prime minister -- returned to the pub to pick up their daughter.

The Camerons and their friends were at the Plough for lunchtime drinks, rather than a meal, said a Number 10 spokeswoman.

Nancy had gone to the bathroom while Cameron and the rest of the family piled into two cars to drive back to the house west of London.

Mr Cameron was travelling in one car with his bodyguards and assumed that Nancy was in the other car with his wife Samantha and their two other children. Samantha assumed Nancy was with her father, and they only realised she was missing when they got home.

A spokeswoman for Mr Cameron, who spoke on customary condition of anonymity in line with policy, said: "The prime minister and Samantha were distraught when they realised Nancy wasn't with them. Thankfully when they phoned the pub she was there safe and well."

The spokeswoman said Nancy was collected by Mr Cameron from The Plough in the village of Cadsden, but this was later corrected to say that is was her mother who picked her up.

The incident sparked a debate in Britain about Mr Cameron's parenting and comes only a few weeks after the government set up a programme to give parents of young children classes in how to raise them.

It highlights a sharp contrast with the United States, where Secret Service agents routinely guard and monitor the president's immediate family when they are out in public.

On the popular British parenting website Mumsnet, some people said the mistake was "easily done" while others wondered why the Camerons had not kept a closer watch on their young daughter.

Downing Street said the incident happened "a couple of months ago" as the family was leaving the pub near Chequers, the official country house prime ministers use while in office.

The spokeswoman declined to say whether Cameron's security detail had erred in their duties, insisting that Mr Cameron and his wife took responsibility for the incident.

However, she said that security arrangements for the leader and his family were kept under regular review.

"They are their children and they take responsibility for them," she said. "No one is going to face disciplinary action. This was an error."

Yesterday, the small pub, where a sign warns: "No children at the bar", not thought to be addressed specifically at Mr Cameron, was quiet.

The news doesn't seem to have caused a spike in sales so far, according to the landlord, who says that business has been slow.

Irish Independent

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