» Monday, July 5, 2004

Prime Minister

Asked if the Prime Minister had any thoughts about the fact that so many of his senior colleagues kept talking about his future, the Prime Minister's Official Spokesman (PMOS) said he thought that that was more a question for them than for him. Asked if the Prime Minister had 'definitely decided' to lead his party into the next election, the PMOS said that the Prime Minister had answered this question several times. His words spoke for themselves.

Briefing took place at 15:45 | Read whole briefing | Comments (0)

Iraq

Asked if the Prime Minister was relaxed about the possibility of former insurgents being released in Iraq, the PMOS said that it was up to the new Iraqi Government to make judgements in terms of what it believed would best help the security and political situation. The Prime Minister admired the way in which Prime Minister Alawi and his interim Government had approached their first few days in office.

Briefing took place at 15:45 | Read whole briefing | Comment (1)

Butler Report

Asked if Downing Street had received a draft copy of the Butler Report and when it would be published, the PMOS said that the Inquiry team had indicated that they were aiming to present their findings on 14 July. It was therefore premature to start talking about handling arrangements at this stage.

Briefing took place at 15:45 | Read whole briefing | Comments (44)

CSR

Asked if the Prime Minister was focussing his attention this week on finalising the details of the spending review, particularly in terms of issues relating to the Home Office and MoD, the PMOS said that he had no intention of getting drawn into a speculative discussion about the content of the CSR. Suffice to say that the CSR was only one of several issues on which the Prime Minister was focussing his attention this week.

Briefing took place at 15:45 | Read whole briefing | Comments (0)

Euro 2004

Asked if the Prime Minister had sent a message of congratulations to Greece for winning the Euro 2004 final against Portugal last night, the PMOS said no. However, he obviously wished them well in their success.

Briefing took place at 15:45 | Read whole briefing | Comments (0)

Jack McConnell

Asked if the Scottish First Minister, Jack McConnell, would be meeting with the Prime Minister in Downing Street today, the Prime Minister's Official Spokesman (PMOS) said yes. Asked why, the PMOS said that it was a routine meeting. The Prime Minister met with the First Ministers of the devolved Assemblies from time to time.

Briefing took place at 11:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (0)

Smacking

Questioned about the Government's policy on smacking, the PMOS said that the Government wanted to see an outcome which would maintain the balance between a parent's right to discipline their child and the protection of that child. We did not want to criminalise parents, which was why we had always been opposed to an outright ban on smacking. Nevertheless, we would be interested to see any other proposals to deal with this issue that were put forward. We were willing to have a free vote on Lord Lester's amendment. We would wait and see what the outcome of that might be. Asked why the Government was allowing a free vote if it had thought through its position carefully, the PMOS pointed out that there was a difference between an outright ban on smacking and Lord Lester's proposal which, as we understood it, would not criminalise parents for smacking their children, but would restrict the use of defence of reasonable chastisement in court.

Briefing took place at 11:00 | Read whole briefing | Comment (1)

Smoking

Asked the Prime Minister's reaction to the BMA's call for a ban on smoking in public places, the PMOS said that a consultation process on this issue was currently underway, as well as an ongoing debate which we welcomed. However, it was important to await the conclusions of the consultation exercise before making any judgements.

Briefing took place at 11:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (16)

Public Sector Sick Leave

Asked if the Prime Minister was concerned about the reported number of public sector workers 'throwing sickies', the PMOS said that this was a matter for departments to investigate and an issue for managers to manage.

Briefing took place at 11:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (0)

Peter Mandelson

Asked if the Prime Minister agreed with Peter Mandelson's reported remark that the Chancellor was his natural successor, the PMOS said that the Prime Minister had always praised the Chancellor. His position on this issue had not changed.

Briefing took place at 11:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (0)

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