The Prime Minister chaired a COBR meeting this evening on ensuring the safety of British citizens travelling to and from Sharm el-Sheikh.
A Number 10 spokesperson said:
“The Prime Minister chaired a COBR meeting this evening to agree what steps we should take to help ensure the safety of British citizens travelling to and from Sharm el-Sheikh.
“The meeting considered the implications of a range of information, including some that has recently come to light, which has increased our concerns that the plane may well have been brought down by an explosive device.
“The Prime Minister was provided with an initial assessment of the security arrangements at Sharm el-Sheikh airport from the team of UK experts who arrived there late this afternoon. The team noted that the Egyptian authorities had stepped up their efforts but that more remains to be done.
“Consequently, ministers agreed on the following actions:
to temporarily suspend flights to and from Sharm el-Sheikh with immediate effect. We have consular staff at the airport who are working with the operators to ensure that all those passengers who were due to leave this evening are being looked after and taken to hotels.
to work urgently with the airlines and the Egyptian authorities with the aim of getting some flights up and running as soon as possible so that we can get people already in Sharm el-Sheikh, either those who are due to come home or want to return early, back safely to the UK as soon as possible. This will take time and so there will be no flights returning from Sharm el-Sheikh tomorrow.
“We did not take these decisions lightly. The safety of British citizens will always be our first priority and in light of the latest picture about what may have caused the crash, we are clear that this is the right thing to do. We welcome the close co-operation with the Egyptian authorities, particularly the efforts that they have made since the Prime Minister and President spoke last night. Hundreds of thousands of British holidaymakers enjoy Sharm el-Sheikh every year and we recognise the importance of their visits to Egypt.
“It is in our mutual interests to work together to do all we can to get back to normal service.”