British PM Won't Attend Olympic Opening

Brown insists he's not boycotting, will go to closing ceremony
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 9, 2008 3:36 PM CDT
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown watches the handover of the Olympic torch at No.10 Downing street during the Olympic torch relay in London, Sunday, April 6, 2008.   (AP Photo/Odd Andersen)
camera-icon View 2 more images

(Newser) – British PM Gordon Brown will not attend the Beijing Olympics’ opening ceremony, the BBC reports, though his office made clear it was not a boycott. Brown said he never intended to go to the opening and emphasized that that he will be present at the closing ceremony for the torch handoff—London will host the 2012 Games.

The move, however, is something of a reversal, the BBC notes. Brown has said he would attend “ceremonies,” though he never got more specific. Nick Clegg, leader of Britain’s Liberal Democrats, characterized the action as a “last-minute U-turn.” Brown "seems to do the right thing late in the day when he is forced to do so because of public opinion.”