» Thursday, September 9, 2004


The Prime Minister's Official Spokesman (PMOS) briefed journalists on the latest ministerial appointments following the reshuffle. Ruth Kelly, formerly Financial Secretary at the Treasury, had been appointed Minister for the Cabinet Office, moving from one Minister of State post to another. She would also work with Alan Milburn on policy matters. Stephen Timms, formerly Energy Minister at Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), had been appointed Financial Secretary in her place. There was a straight swap between two Peers - Baroness Ashton was moving from Department for Education and Skills (DfES) to Department for Constitutional Affairs (DCA). Lord Filkin was moving from DCA to DfES. Tony McNulty had been promoted from Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of State at Department for Transport (DfT). Charlotte Atkins, formerly a Whip, had been appointed Parliamentary Under-Secretary at DfT. Douglas Alexander had been appointed Minister of State for Trade in both DTI and Foreign Office. Mike O'Brien, formerly Minister of State for Trade, had been appointed Minister of State in the DTI for E-Commerce, Energy and Competitiveness. Kim Howells, formerly Minister of State at the Department of Transport, was replacing Alan Johnson at DfES as Minister of State with responsibility for Further Education and Universities. Tom Watson had been appointed Assistant Government Whip (unpaid).

Briefing took place at 15:00 | Read whole briefing | Comment (1)


The Prime Minister's Official Spokesman (PMOS) informed journalists that the Cabinet reshuffle had been completed last night. We hoped to be in a position to brief on Ministerial appointments at some point this afternoon once all the details had been finalised. Asked if journalists should expect a wide-ranging ministerial reshuffle, the PMOS said he thought the changes would be relatively small in number. Asked if the delay in announcing the new Ministerial appointments was because there was a row going on, the PMOS said no. He pointed out that the Prime Minister had a full diary today, in addition to which it was sometimes difficult to track down the people to whom he wished to speak. This was no great conspiracy. It was simply a matter of the usual conflict between media deadlines and the reality of life in Government.

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


Asked for a reaction to a report in today's Times suggesting that the Prime Minister had considered pre-announcing in the summer that he would step down before the next election but had been stopped from doing so by the Chancellor, the PMOS said that as we had told journalists when the story had first emerged in July, we did not recognise it. That remained the case. He had nothing further to say about it. Put to him that the story had moved on since then inasmuch as it had been reported that the Chancellor had talked the Prime Minister out of his planned pre-announcement, the PMOS repeated that he did not recognise the story. Asked if he was referring to the July story or today's story, the PMOS said that there was a common thread linking the two which he did not recognise. Put to him that he had not denied today's story, the PMOS said that he had answered the question in his own way. He had nothing further to add.

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

Terrorist Attack/Jakarta

The PMOS took the opportunity to express the Government's utter condemnation of today's bomb attack on the Australian Embassy in Jakarta. It was a further demonstration that terrorists were prepared to use indiscriminate violence and show a complete disrespect for human life. Our condolences were with the Governments of Australia and Indonesia, as well as with the families of those who had been killed.

Briefing took place at 11:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (7)

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