» Thursday, May 27, 2004


Asked if the Defence Secretary would be making a statement on troops the Prime Minister’s Official Spokesman said that it was likely to be at 12.30pm but he did not want to pre-empt that statement. For guidance purposes it would be an operational statement rather than the result of strategic discussions with our coalition partners, which were continuing.

In answer to further questions the PMOS said that any decision on strategic matters in regards to troop deployment should be left to happen in its own time and it was not right for him to be drawn on when an announcement might or might not be made. He did not want to pre-empt in any way any strategic decision and reiterated that today’s announcement was not a strategic level decision. Asked if a decision would be made during recess the PMOS said that as the Prime Minister himself had said at Prime Minister’s Question the House would be kept up to date in the normal way. The Government continued to discuss these strategic issues with its coalition partners. There was a political track and a security track running in Iraq, the two were obviously running in parallel and the one informed the other, but it would be wrong to tie any security announcement to any specific political event. Today’s announcement was purely an operational matter and a response to a specific need identified in theatre, but the Secretary of State for Defence would set out the details for it.

Briefing took place at 11:00 | Search for related news

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