Voters right behind Cameron on Sri Lanka visit

November 17, 2013, 10:00 AM GMT+0

Despite Labour calls for a boycott, the majority of the public – and many Labour voters – say David Cameron is right to attend the Commonwealth meeting in Sri Lanka

David Cameron accused Ed Miliband of “rank hypocrisy” on Friday, after the Labour leader demanded that Britain should boycott the Commonwealth summit in Sri Lanka. In 2009 the Sri Lankan government won a bloody civil war against Tamil separatists, attracting allegations of war crimes, civilian murders and sexual violence. This was the same year the last Labour government “effectively agreed” that the Commonwealth meetings should be held in Sri Lanka.

The majority of the public (55%) say David Cameron is right to attend the Sri Lanka summit, and should raise the issue of human rights abuses.

The Prime Minister has done this, condemning Sri Lanka’s failure to investigate war crimes and calling for an independent inquiry. One Sri Lankan minister, however, interpreted the requests as ‘colonial’, and said such issues are not the purpose of the summit.

Only 9% of the public say that Cameron should not raise the issue of human rights abuses during the meeting. 17% say he should have boycotted it completely.

Despite the calls for a boycott coming mainly from Labour, more of their voters (47%) think the Prime Minister is right to attend and use the visit to voice concerns than say he should have boycotted it (28%). They are, however, most likely to support a boycott (28%), as only 4% of Conservatives, 12% of Liberal Democrats and a 25% of UKIP supporters feel the same way.

Prince Charles formally opened the summit on Friday, for the first time representing the Queen as head of the Commonwealth. The leaders of India, Canada and Mauritius have boycotted the meetings.

Image: Getty

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