E Minister David Cameron will arrive in South Africa today for the memorial service of Nelson Mandela. He will be joined by coalition partner Nick Clegg, Labour leader Ed Miliband and three former prime ministers; Sir John Major, Tony Blair and Gordon Brown.
All six will attend the service at the FNB stadium in Johannesburg, the scene of Mandela’s last public appearance in 2010. The South African government has confirmed that 53 serving heads of state will attend the event, including US President Barack Obama and Hassan Rouhani, the Iranian President. A spokesman for the deputy prime minister confirmed that the South African government issued an open invite to both Nick Clegg and David Cameron.
Tributes were made to Mandela in the House of Commons yesterday, with the Prime Minister leading contributions, telling colleagues: “It was a long walk to freedom, but the walk is over and freedom is won.”
Many others also added their voices, with a passionate and light-hearted contribution from Gordon Brown prompting laughter from MPs and a speech from Labour’s Peter Hain, who recalled his mother’s strong support for Mandela during his trial.