» Tuesday, September 14, 2004

PM/Lord Bragg

Asked about Lord Bragg’s comment on the lunchtime news today regarding the Prime Minister’s supposed intention to resign in the summer, the Prime Minister’s Official Spokesman (PMOS) said that it had taken us by surprise as much as anyone else. He had nothing to add to what had already said about the matter when the story had first been reported in July. Asked if the Prime Minister stood by his reply to a question in his July press conference in which he had said that he had never had any thoughts about moving on, the PMOS said yes. Asked if the Prime Minister believed that Lord Bragg had been trying to be helpful, the PMOS said that he hadn’t asked the Prime Minister for his thoughts on this matter and he had no intention of doing so. Asked how well informed Lord Bragg was, the PMOS said that he wasn’t a spokesman for Lord Bragg. He didn’t know why the comment had been made. Asked to concede that Lord Bragg was a member of the Prime Minister’s social circle, the PMOS said that he had absolutely no intention of commenting on the friendships – or otherwise – of the Prime Minister in any way, shape or form. Asked if he would accept that it was difficult to know where to draw the line in terms of the Prime Minister’s right to privacy when a public figure, like Lord Bragg, was willing to talk openly about their friendship, the PMOS repeated that Lord Bragg’s remarks had come as a surprise to us. We were not going to comment on them.

Asked to confirm that Lord Bragg had spent Saturday night in the company of the Prime Minister and Mrs Blair, the PMOS said that he was not going to get drawn into a discussion about the cast list for what had been a private party. He repeated that Lord Bragg’s comments had come as a surprise to us. Put to him that spouting such a “weasel-word phrase” was not helpful as many things came as a surprise to us and yet we were happy to talk about them, the PMOS urged journalists to take his comment at face value. Put to him that his response was ‘deeply unsatisfactory’, the PMOS pointed out that it wasn’t his job to answer for another individual.

Asked if he would deny the account given in the Independent today which suggested that the Prime Minister had promised to go by the end of 2004 if the Chancellor and the Deputy Prime Minister helped him through the issue of tuition fees and the aftermath of the war in Iraq, the PMOS said that he hadn’t read the piece in question. As he had underlined time and again in response to such media reports, he didn’t recognise the descriptions being put forward. Asked if Downing Street agreed with Lord Bragg’s portrayal of the Prime Minister being under ‘colossal strain’, the PMOS repeated that Lord Bragg’s comments were a matter for Lord Bragg, not for us.

Asked to confirm reports that the Cabinet Secretary had drawn up a paper on how a voluntary resignation of a serving Prime Minister would be handled, the PMOS said that he didn’t recognise the suggestion.

Briefing took place at 15:45 | Search for related news

1 Comment »

  1. Hi

    My name is Catherine Summers. At the moment I am trying to raise money for the youth marching band that I play the trumpet in.

    I was wondering if you could help me by sending me a signed photo of lord bragg, so that another member and I can add them to an auction at our presentation evening later on this year.

    The band are called Equinox and the members have to be between 8 and 25. This year as in previous years we have competed in competitions and have not done to bad, but at the moment we have lost quite a few members ( they off to univerisity and new jobs ) are re-grouping and hoping to get new uniforms and if possible new instruments.

    Ben and myself would be grateful if you could help us help Equinox.

    Catherine Summers
    Aged 10
    33 Winston Crescent,
    Sg18 0et

    Registered Charity Number 285884

    Comment by catherine summers — 3 Oct 2005 on 5:07 pm | Link

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