PM Harper jets to London to meet Cameron and the Queen

OTTAWA – Prime Minister Stephen Harper leaves for Europe this morning ahead of next week’s G8 summit in Northern Ireland.

He is scheduled to arrive in London later this evening, and during his stay in England he will have a private audience with the Queen, address the U.K. parliament and meet his British counterpart, David Cameron.

Later this week, Harper will travel to France to meet President Francois Hollande and the secretary general of the Francophonie, Abdou Diouf.

Then Harper will travel to Ireland for more meetings before heading up to Northern Ireland for a two-day meeting of the leaders of the world’s eight richest economies.

The G8 meeting comes as Canada is negotiating a free-trade agreement with the European Union.

The prime minister’s office is playing down expectations a deal will be announced during Harper’s European trip.