David Blunkett/Budd Review
Asked if the Government accepted that following reports of a second investigation regarding the Home Secretary, things were starting to "unravel" and if there were to be even more investigations, was the Government happy about them, the Prime Minister's Official Spokesman replied no and yes - i.e. no, things were not starting to unravel, and yes, we were quite happy if other people wanted to investigate. An inquiry had been set up to review the most serious allegation.
Asked if the Prime Minister had a view on what sort of inquiry Deepcut should be, the PMOS replied that what was important was people wanted to be assured that we had got to the bottom of the allegations, but the nature of those allegations made it difficult to investigate. The MOD would brief on the terms of the review.
Asked if the PMOS was still saying nothing about Northern Ireland, he replied yes. He continued that he had given up on the optimism-pessimism vein a while ago, and that what would be, would be.
David Blunkett/Alan Budd Review
Asked if the Prime Minister had prejudiced the Budd Review yesterday with his comments about David Blunkett, the Prime Minister's Official Spokesman (PMOS) repeated what he had told journalists yesterday which was that there was a distinction between the Prime Minister expressing his confidence and trust in the Home Secretary, and waiting for the outcome of the Budd Review. The Prime Minister is quite content to wait for the final outcome of the review, and his comments were not in any way presetting that outcome. The entire point of Alan Budd undertaking the review was that he was an independent person who would make an independent assessment of the facts.
Asked if the Surrey Police report on Deepcut was the reason for looking again at the prospect of holding an inquiry into the deaths of 4 recruits who died at Deepcut Barracks, the PMOS replied that Adam Ingram was going to be making a statement in the House at 12.30, and would therefore prefer to leave it up to him. As the PMOS understood it, the problem was about witnesses not coming forward to testify, but it would be addressed in more detail later.
Prime Minister’s Meetings
Asked if there was anything new to add to the Northern Ireland talks, the PMOS replied that last week he had told journalists that progress was measured in inverse proportions to how much was said; this week, he was saying nothing.
Asked what the Government was doing to stop the Countryside Alliance publishing on its website times, dates and places of senior Ministers' meetings, the PMOS said that until he had sought further advice, he could not comment on it.
Asked if the Prime Minister had aired a reaction to the IAEA's endorsement of the Iran/EU deal, and could it be considered a success, the PMOS said in terms of Iran, the Government welcomed the resolution, as it demonstrated the international community's determination to work with the Iranian Government, and the important issue was, however, that it was ongoing work. The Board's emphasis was the need for Iran to sustain the full suspension so that the investigation into all the remaining issues could be completed. We urged Iran to extend full and prompt cooperation to the Director General and his team to complete the investigations.
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