» Thursday, November 25, 2004


Asked about Peter Hain’s comment in the House of Commons saying the Government was against the England team touring in Zimbabwe and the Foreign Secretary’s more neutral stance that it was not a matter for the Government to decide and which of the two positions was accurate the PMOS reminded journalists what the Foreign Secretary had said on 6 May at a joint press conference with Tim Lamb, Chief Executive of the ECB, David Morgan and Tessa Jowell:

"It is appropriate for the government to express a view about issues of this kind."

"We would prefer the tour to be postponed until the situation in Zimbabwe improves."

"But it is right that in our system it is for sporting authorities to make the decisions in cases such as this."

So in other words we had made our views clear but it was a matter for the cricketing authorities to reach a decision. In response to the suggestion that Denis MacShane was inadvertently supporting the tour by calling for the return of the banned journalists the PMOS said that in terms of media freedoms we had always said we believed in those media freedoms and that was our position. In terms of our view of the situation in Zimbabwe we had expressed our view consistently but we had equally said it was a matter for the cricketing authorities. If people were asked if the press should have freedom to report an event the answer was yes, and it was appropriate that we made our views known.

Briefing took place at 15:45 | Search for related news

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