Asked if Downing Street had had any further contact with the Bigleys, the Prime Minister’s Official Spokesman (PMOS) said not since yesterday when the Prime Minister had spoken to the family and the Foreign Secretary had spoken to Ken Bigley’s wife. We did not think it would be helpful to brief on the content of those conversations other than to say, as the Prime Minister had told Sir David Frost in his interview yesterday, that everyone was impressed with the dignity of the Bigley family who were going through what was clearly a horrible ordeal. Asked for a reaction to the suggestion by Mr Bigley’s brother that the Prime Minister’s silence on the matter was effectively the ‘kiss of death’ for Mr Bigley, the PMOS said that he did not want to get drawn into a situation of response and counter-response regarding comments made by any particular relative of Mr Bigley. In general, people understood that it was necessary to adopt the position that we had – not just because we refused to get into negotiations with these particular kidnappers, but we also because it was important to bear in mind the implications for any activity carried out by hostage-takers in the future. That said, we recognised that the current situation was very difficult for Mr Bigley’s family.
Asked if Downing Street would accept that the Foreign Office could have handled the issue better, the PMOS said he did not think it would be helpful to get drawn into commenting on particular criticisms that had been put forward. The important thing was that the Foreign Office was in constant contact with the Bigley family and was doing all it could both here and in Baghdad, as you would expect.
Questioned as to whether the delegates from the Muslim Council of Britain who had visited Iraq would be debriefed on their return to the UK, the PMOS said that we were obviously in contact with them. However, it was up to them to speak about their activities, rather than us.
Briefing took place at 11:00 | Search for related news
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