Asked to clarify whether Sir Jeremy Greenstock had seen the ICRC report, the Prime Minister's Official Spokesman (PMOS) said a meeting had been held when ICRC personnel had presented their report to Paul Bremer and British representatives, including Sir Jeremy's legal advisers. As a result of that meeting, the report had been sent to the relevant people in Iraq to be dealt with. It was important for people to recognise that its contents were already being acted on, which was why it had been handled in the way that it had. Confusion had arisen because we had thought that Sir Jeremy himself had read the report, when it fact he hadn't. Asked if Sir Jeremy had notified Downing Street of the mistake, the PMOS said no. It had become apparent that there was a discrepancy between what the Defence Secretary had said yesterday and what the Foreign Secretary had said today. Yes, it was a slight mistake, but it did not change the substance of the matter one iota. Asked how the error had come to light, the PMOS said that as he understood it, a member of the Opposition had spotted the discrepancy today and had pointed it out. Asked at what stage Sir Jeremy had finally found out about the ICRC report, the PMOS said that Sir Jeremy had always been aware of the report. He underlined the fact that it had not contained any new allegations about British troops that were not already being dealt with. That was why Ministers had not been informed of it. Put to him that Sir Jeremy would surely had warned the Prime Minister about it, the PMOS said that he was not aware of any such conversations.
Asked if the Prime Minister would want to congratulate the Thai Prime Minister on acquiring one third of Liverpool FC, the PMOS said that that would be a matter for another Prime Minister's spokesman to deal with.
Asked repeatedly whether Ministers had been unaware of general concerns raised by the Red Cross about the Coalition's treatment of Iraqi prisoners, the Prime Minister's Official Spokesman (PMOS) said that he had nothing to add to what Ministers had already said about the ICRC report. The important thing was not who had known what, when. The important point was that the allegations which had been raised had already been dealt with. Asked to verify today's Guardian report suggesting that Sir Jeremy Greenstock had received the report and had passed it on through the military chain rather than giving it to political figures, the PMOS said that as he had told journalists yesterday, the report had been drawn up for the prison authorities, namely the CPA in Baghdad. It had then been passed to the British CPA representative, Sir Jeremy Greenstock. Since it was clearly an operational matter, it had been decided that it was appropriate for it to be passed to the military authorities who were in charge of detention facilities. That was what had happened. Thus, since action had already been taken by the British authorities, it had not been considered necessary to pass the report on to Ministers. Asked if Sir Jeremy had informed the Prime Minister that "this cloud was on the horizon", the PMOS said no.
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