Foreign Secretary David Miliband insisted that the Government would not get involved in any ransom payments to secure the release of a British couple kidnapped by pirates in the Indian Ocean.
Mr Miliband said he could not stop private individuals from pursuing the possibility of a ransom deal, but that the Government had always made it clear that making concessions to hostage-takers was not in Britain's interests.
His comments came days after Paul and Rachel Chandler issued a desperate plea for help, revealing that they had been split up by their captors and feared they could be killed within days.
The couple, from Tunbridge Wells, Kent, were taken hostage after heading from the Seychelles towards Tanzania in their yacht Lynn Rival on October 23 last year.
Unconfirmed BBC reports suggest that an attempt by British special forces to free them was "bungled" because of bureaucratic delays and technical problems.
And the pirates have said that if the UK government is unwilling to pay for their return, then their friends should raise the money.
Mr Miliband told BBC1's Andrew Marr Show: "Our position is absolutely clear. The British Government never makes substantive concessions to hostage-takers, including in respect of ransom payments, and we always advise people of that.
"Can we stop private individuals? No, we can't. But we have a very clear policy of our own and the British Government is absolutely clear it is not in our interests."
He added: "Are we working night and day on the Chandler case and a small number of other British nationals who have been kidnapped around the world? Yes we are, and we are doing so with the rest of the Government."
In an interview with ITV News, retired quantity surveyor Mr Chandler, 59, said he was "just existing in hope", adding: "I'm afraid that they will just kill us and abandon us in the desert here."
Ya know what I read in this article? BULL SHIT!
The UK government is more concerned about pride than even TRYING to save the lives of two people! Does the fact that these two BRITISH citizens were kidnapped and held hostage while they were on vacation not hurt their pride even more?? Wasn't there wars fought so we could retain our freedom and our rights as British citizens? They went through all that, just to let our citizens be killed by armed bullies?
Don't get me wrong, I totally understand the whole stance of 'Not being bullied into giving money', but for GOD sake, saving lives is surely more important . Give into your damn pride and get these two people home safely before it's too late.
I hate political wankers who will sit behind their desks and do nothing!!! How would they feel if it was themselves in this situation? How would they feel if it was their parents out there?
Rachel Chandler is reportedly being 'Tormented' by her captors. This whole thing just disgusts me. and I'm disgusted at our government.
I'm writing a letter to every stuck up, money grabbing cock face in Parliament!!