David Cameron is encouraging Barack Obama to leave his wife Michelle at home when he attends the G8 Summit in the UK this year.
British sources say the Prime Minister wants the summit in June to be WAG-free to ensure leaders remain ‘focused’ on issues like tackling tax avoidance, without the distraction of having their wives and girlfriends in tow.
Diplomats have begun the delicate process of enquiring whether the spouses of the world’s most powerful individuals are happy to be left behind during one of the highlights of the global political calendar.It is being made clear that Samantha Cameron plans to break with G8 tradition and not host a separate programme of activities for visiting wives.
If the ploy is successful it means that the likes of Michelle Obama and Valerie Trierweiler, girlfriend of France’s Socialist President Francois Hollande, will not attend the summit, being held at the luxury Lough Erne resort in Northern Ireland.Officials admit that they will be powerless to resist if leaders insist on bringing their wives, in which case Mrs Cameron may host a modest lunch in Downing Street. But they hope to persuade them otherwise, in order to make the summit a business-like leaders-only affair.
A Number 10 spokesman said: ‘The Prime Minister wants the G8 to be small, intimate and focused on the three issues of the day - tax, trade and transparency. Other issues, like the role of spouses at the G8, are yet to be confirmed.’
Mr Cameron’s ploy is reminiscent of the stance taken by the former England football manager Fabio Capello who banned players’ wives and girlfriends - dubbed the WAGs - from attending the 2010 World Cup in South Africa so that they could focus on winning. The tactic failed when the team put in a string of dismal performances.
British sources said Mr Cameron was inspired by last year’s G8 Summit at President Obama’s Camp David country retreat.
The summit was attended by the leaders alone, although Mrs Obama hosted a White House lunch for visiting wives in Washington.
The plan to scrap the traditional programme of events for the ‘First Wives Club’ is likely to raise eyebrows, particularly as Mrs Cameron has failed to attend any of the three G8 summits of her husband’s premiership.
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