Earthquake Appeal/ Prime Minister’s Holiday.
Asked if the Government were reconsidering the level of aid they were donating to those nations affected by the Earthquake in South East Asia, given that independent donations by the British public amounted to more than the amount given by the Government, the PMS said that as Hilary Benn and Jack Straw had made clear in yesterday's announcement, the £15m was the first phase of the Government's commitment to the humanitarian effort. Hilary Benn had made it clear that money was not the issue, the issue was finding effective ways of getting aid to the people who needed it.
David Blunkett/Budd Report
Asked if David Blunkett had been cleared by the Budd Report, the Prime Minister's Spokesman (PMS) said that the Prime Minister was grateful to Sir Alan Budd for his detailed report.
Asked about the outcome of the investigation by Parliamentary standards commissioner Sir Philip Mawer the Prime Minister's Spokesman (PMS) said that we had not seen it yet as it was only published at 11am. Sir Alan Budd would hold a press conference about his inquiry at midday and the Home Office would respond after that through a Charles Clarke written statement. Asked if the Prime Minister had seen the Budd report the PMS said it was unlikely considering he was in Baghdad with Prime Minister Allawi.
Asked if the Government considered the situation in Birmingham as a case of freedom of speech rights or just a law and order case the PMS referred journalists to what both Estelle Morris and Fiona McTaggert had said yesterday earlier this morning. In response to the sugestion that Fiona McTaggert was impling that it was entirely a question of policing the PMS said that was not her understanding of it. Obviously it was a question of order but there was also the question of the right to freedom of expression on all sides and it was about finding a balance.
Asked what was going on with the Budd Inquiry Prime Minister's Spokesman (PMS) said, as was said this morning, the hunch was that it would be published tomorrow. Further information about it's publication might be available later today.
Asked if we were sure that Alan Milburn was working for the taxpayer rather than the Labour Party the PMS said that this question had been answered several times before and his role in Government had been explained.
Asked if the Prime Minister signed his own condolence letters in relation to families of troops the PMS confirmed that he did.
David Blunkett/Budd Report
Asked if David Blunkett was going to be exonerated, the Prime Minister's Official Spokesman (PMOS) said that it would be better to wait for the Budd Report to be published. The PMOS added that he had dealt with what the Prime Minister had said in a press conference, as had the Prime Minister, by saying that there cannot be any blurring between public and private lives.
EU Council Statement
Asked what the Prime Minister was going to say in his Commons Statement about the European Council, the PMOS said we clearly welcomed the start of negotiations in October and that Turkey had agreed to this. We also recognised that it was a hard negotiation, but believed that the outcome was a success for both Europe and Turkey. The Prime Minister said he believed it gave a lie to those people who said there was an inevitable clash between two civilisations; this showed that those in a Muslim country can and should belong in Europe.
Original PMOS briefings are © Crown Copyright. Crown Copyright material is reproduced with the permission of the Controller of HMSO and the Queen's Printer for Scotland. Click-use licence number C02W0004089. Material is reproduced from the original 10 Downing Street source, but may not be the most up-to-date version of the briefings, which might be revised at the original source. Users should check with the original source in case of revisions. Comments are © Copyright contributors. Everything else is © Copyright Downing Street Says.
Contact Sam Smith.