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Michael Bates finishes 25-day "Brexit" walk in Brussels

14 May 2019, 00:03 ( 3 Months ago) | updated: 14 May 2019, 00:06 ( 3 Months ago)

DF-Xinhua Report
File Photo Xinhua.

Michael Bates, Britain's former secretary of state for international development and a former Conservative MP, and his wife, Xuelin, finished their 25-day walk in front of the European commission building here on Monday afternoon.

   To call on a common ground on Brexit, Bates embarked on a walk from Belfast in Northern Ireland on April 19.

   He passed through the Dublin, Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds, Hall, to the Hague in the Netherlands, Rotterdam, and then entered Antwerp in Belgium, finally reached the finishing line on May 13, the European commission in Brussels. The total mileage is 390.1 miles.

   It's the second time in his career, Bates quit the Government to undertake a walking challenge in the pursuit of peace and reconciliation. Just last year, he also resigned at the despatch box after missing an oral question in the Chamber. At that time, his resignation was rejected by Prime Minister Theresa May, then in China.

   On April 16, 2019, Lord Bates tendered his resignation again.  

   "So far, we have been unable to find an answer to the question of how we leave the EU, but sometimes it is not the answer that is wrong, it is the question. What if the question before us were, how can we rediscover the common ground between us, how can we start a process of coming together and finding a common purpose we can agree upon, how we can repair relations with our closest European friends and neighbours?" Bates emphasized in the resignation.

   Since 2011, having set the target of doing 10,000 miles in 10 years and raising 1 million pounds for various charities, Bates has taken the walking tour more than 8,000 miles during eight peace and reconciliation walks in 25 countries and regions.

   In 2018, the year of the 40th anniversary of China's reform and opening-up, Bates and his wife chose the Beijing--Tianjin--Hebei region in China for a walking tour themed "walking for dreams", covering about 155 miles.

   In front of the European commission building, Bates said that while the pursuit of his walking this time was about "Brexit" and "common ground in Britain", he gave no guarantee there would be an answer.

   "I hope the two communities with entrenched senses of grievance and difference can manage to set those aside for the greater good. Everyone has his own way to pursue the beliefs. For me and my wife, it was just a simple walk," Bates said.