Asked to justify the Additional Cost Allowance which the Prime Minister had claimed as part of his expenses as an MP, the Prime Minister's Official Spokesman (PMOS) said that the Prime Minister's expenses had been approved by the Fees Office. All were within House of Commons rules. As he understood it, the Additional Cost Allowance was designed to help MPs with the cost of maintaining their constituency home. The Incidental Expenses Provision was designed to help MPs with the cost of running their constituency office.
Asked when the deployment of British troops would take place in the light of the Defence Secretary's Statement in the House this afternoon, the PMOS said that he was unable to go into detail since, as Mr Hoon had indicated, there was continuing sensitivity over this issue because of the security needs of the troops on the ground. Asked if the Prime Minister would resile in any way from his assertion yesterday that the Black Watch regiment would be home by Christmas, the PMOS said no.
The Prime Minister's Spokesman (PMOS) confirmed that Cabinet had discussed the request for troops, and said there was unanimous support for the troops and their commanders on the ground, a respect for their judgement and a determination that the Government should do all it could to help bring about free elections in January in Iraq, so finishing the task we had set ourselves.
Asked whether the Queen would apologise for the bombing of Dresden and other German cities on her upcoming trip to Germany, the PMOS replied that it was a matter for the Palace to determine what the Queen would say, but he added that this story also came under the headline for whatever the German for "old chestnut" was. This had been the subject of repeated speculation in the past, and had yet to be proved correct.
Asked about the publication of ministers' expenses, and how the Prime Minister's second Home Allowance claim would be explained by the publication, the PMOS said that the matter was laid down by the House, and that the Prime Minister followed the rules of the House.
Asked about the reassurance of the Iranian weapons plan being put on hold and whether we would see sanctions, the PMOS replied that we wanted to see Iran comply with its international obligations, which was what the meeting between Iran and the EU 3 Political Directors was all about today. They would give a clear message that the international community could not prolong the process indefinitely. He also added that the discussion should take place before any prejudgements on the outcome were made.
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