Asked if any examination had been undertaken to decide whether Clare Short had breached the Official Secrets Act (OSA) and whether any disciplinary action would be taken against her, the Prime Minister’s Official Spokesman (PMOS) said that it was not a matter for him. Nor would it be appropriate for him to know in any event on the former. The Prime Minister was making a speech in Scotland this afternoon and he was focussing on his attention on that, as you would expect. As he understood it, the Prime Minister would not refer to the matter, but would give the speech he had always intended to deliver. Asked if he was indicating that the Prime Minister considered the matter to be closed, the PMOS repeated that the Prime Minister was focussing on his speech today. Journalists should speak to the Labour Party about it.
Asked if the Prime Minister had now reflected on what disciplinary action might be taken against Ms Short, as he had said he would do yesterday, the PMOS repeated that the Prime Minister was making a speech in Scotland this afternoon. That was what where he was focussing his attention. Should there be any developments on any issue – and that was not a signal or a hint that anything was going to happen – journalists would obviously be informed.
Asked if the Prime Minister had spoken to Kofi Annan or any of the UN Secretary General’s staff, the PMOS said no. Asked if there were any plans for him to do so, the PMOS said that the UK’s Ambassador to the UN, Sir Emyr Jones Parry, had spoken to Kofi Annan yesterday, as journalists knew. Asked why he was confirming the conversation when his colleague had said yesterday that it wasn’t Downing Street’s policy to do so, the PMOS said that, as a matter of routine, we never briefed on conversations betweens diplomats and members of other Governments or organisations such as the UN, just as we didn’t necessarily brief on conversations between Ministers and their foreign counterparts. Given the circumstances yesterday, however, we were confirming the conversation between the Ambassador and the UN Secretary General. Asked if the description of the conversation as ‘apologetic’ by a UN spokesman was accurate, the PMOS said that while he had confirmed that the conversation had taken place, he had no intention of briefing on its tone or content in any shape or form. The Prime Minister had underlined in his monthly press conference yesterday the very high regard in which he held the UN Secretary General. Asked if the Prime Minister had written to Kofi Annan or communicated with him by any other means, such as e-mail, the PMOS said no. The UK Ambassador to the UN had spoken with him, as was the more traditional way of doing these things. Put to him that the Prime Minister considered Kofi Annan to be a friend and that surely he would have wanted to speak to him directly about what had happened, the PMOS agreed that the Prime Minister and Dr Annan had a very good relationship and said that nothing had changed. He repeated that the UK Ambassador to the UN had spoken to the UN Secretary General yesterday.
Briefing took place at 11:00 | Search for related news
Original PMOS briefings are © Crown Copyright. Crown Copyright material is reproduced with the permission of the Controller of HMSO and the Queen's Printer for Scotland. Click-use licence number C02W0004089. Material is reproduced from the original 10 Downing Street source, but may not be the most up-to-date version of the briefings, which might be revised at the original source. Users should check with the original source in case of revisions. Comments are © Copyright contributors. Everything else is © Copyright Downing Street Says.
Contact Sam Smith.