» Thursday, September 16, 2004

House Security

Asked for the official government line on Peter Hain's statement this morning that there should be a new director of security at the House of Commons, the PMOS said Mr Hain had also made it clear that this was a matter for the outcome of the enquiry. There were clearly lessons to be learned and clearly it was a process of bringing security measures in the House up to date. How precisely that was done was a matter for discussion. It was important that we recognised after yesterday the importance of modernising the security arrangements around the House. That would be a matter for further discussion.

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

Northern Ireland Talks

Questioned about progress of the Northern Irish talks, the PMOS said that the Prime Minister and Mr Ahern had both arrived and made opening statements. In summary, the Prime Minister had said that after two years of going around the issues, this was now the point of decision and what could not happen would be to leave it as another staging post for further discussion. They had begun the process of speaking to the parties. The issues included a complete end to para-militarism, a complete decommissioning process and a complete commitment to sharing power on that basis and the resolution of issues such as policing. The issues have not changed over two years. All the parties knew these were the issues that needed to be addressed, that is what the next two and half days were about. There was a recognition that the people of Northern Ireland wanted to see a resolution of these issues because they recognised the issues hadn't changed since the Prime Minister identified them two years ago.

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

Hunting Vote

Questioned on why the Prime Minister had not voted last night, the PMOS said that the Prime Minister had had other engagements yesterday, which we had been carrying out. It had been clear that both the vote on the ban was going to be carried and that also the vote for the delay was going to be carried. The Prime Minister had been absolutely clear that the delay had been needed to give industry time to adapt. The Prime Minister's strong preference had been to reach a compromise, and that was why he had strongly supported the efforts of Alun Michael in the many weeks and hours Alun Michael had spent trying to negotiate a compromise and that was why the Prime Minister regretted that a compromise had not been reached.

Briefing took place at 15:45 | Read whole briefing | Comments (3)

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