» Monday, September 20, 2004

Indian Prime Minister

The Prime Minister's Official Spokesman (PMOS) advised journalists that the Prime Minister would be meeting the Indian Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh, today. It was Mr Singh's first visit outside Asia as Prime Minister and we were delighted that he had chosen London as his first point of call. The two Prime Ministers would take the opportunity to discuss issues such as tackling terrorism, and would also talk about economic, trade and financial matters, as well as greater co-operation on technological programmes. They would also address the issue of climate change.

Briefing took place at 11:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (3)


Asked for an update on the hostage negotiations in Iraq, the PMOS said that obviously we remained very concerned about Ken Bigley and the other hostages. We were monitoring the situation very closely. As journalists were no doubt aware, the Foreign Office had used Arab media to broadcast an appeal for information. However, as the Prime Minister had made clear yesterday, given the sensitivity of the situation, we would not - and should not - say anything further at this point. Asked if there were plans for any further appeals, the PMOS said not at this stage.

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

Employment Rights

Asked about Patricia Hewitt's proposals to reform employment practices, as reported in today's FT, the PMOS said that this was part of the consultation exercise which the Labour Party had been undertaking. Consequently, as a Civil Servant, he was unable to comment on it in detail. Generally speaking, however, as the Prime Minister had made clear to the TUC, the Government had made clear its commitment to its social partners not to introduce any changes before 2006. Nevertheless, now was the right time to start thinking about the next steps that should be taken. Any changes would be made after 2006 and following full consultation with our social partners. Asked if Downing Street was able to allay the fears of the CBI who were concerned about the cost to companies of extending maternity leave, the PMOS said that the CBI had indicated that they would look at the ideas that were being put forward. It was important to recognise that they were not firm policy proposals at this stage.

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

Fox Hunting

Asked to explain the Prime Minister's comments about fox hunting during a press conference at Leeds Castle at the weekend in which he had said that the Government had sought a compromise but, because it had been rejected, it was necessary to find a way through, the PMOS said that the next stage was the House of Lords. We would wait and see what happened there. Asked about the Prime Minister's personal views on fox hunting, the PMOS said that the Prime Minister had already answered the question.

Briefing took place at 11:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (3)

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