DAVID CAMERON’S father, Ian, died yesterday after suffering a stroke while on holiday in France.
Downing Street said the 77-year-old died shortly after the British prime minister reached the hospital in the south of the country.
The prime minister’s spokesman said Ian Cameron’s death was not believed to be connected to any previously existing medical condition. He and the premier’s mother, Mary, were halfway through a two-week holiday when he suffered a stroke and heart complications overnight.
He was taken to a hospital near Toulon, where Mr Cameron rushed to see him after being informed of the situation at around 6am yesterday morning.
The premier was accompanied by brother Alex and sister Clare on the commercial flight from London’s City airport.
Downing Street said Ian Cameron was not thought to have met the PM’s new daughter, Florence, who was born last month.
Number 10 said President Nicolas Sarkozy had intervened to arrange a helicopter to rush Mr Cameron to the hospital so he could see his father.
The PM was expected to remain in France overnight, but his movements after that have not been decided, according to the spokesman.
Sources close to the PM said he was “incredibly grateful” that the French authorities had provided air transport. It is understood he would probably not have been able to reach his father in time otherwise.
Friends said Mr Cameron was “relieved” to have been at the bedside, and was “pleased” that his father died peacefully and during a “happy family holiday”.
Ian Cameron was said to have been “proud” to see his son become prime minister, and had visited both 10 Downing Street and Chequers. The family’s holiday plans had prevented him meeting his new granddaughter before now.
Mr Cameron previously described his stockbroker father as a “huge hero figure”.
Meanwhile, an emergency Commons debate has been called to examine newspaper phone hacking, amid pressure on Downing Street communications chief Andy Coulson.
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg warned Labour not to “second guess” police inquiries into fresh allegations over the affair as he stood in for Mr Cameron at question time. He said Mr Coulson denied any knowledge of the practice when he was editor of the News of the World and said it was “for the police alone” to decide if a new investigation was required.
Immediately after the weekly session, Speaker John Bercow said he had accepted a request from Labour former minister Chris Bryant – whose mobile phone was hacked – for a debate today.
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