» Tuesday, December 7, 2004

Northern Ireland

Asked if Bertie Ahern's recent comments about there being news this evening about the Northern Ireland, the Prime Minister's Official Spokesman (PMOS) replied that it was better for people to wait and see. There was intense discussions going on, and we hoped that we would be in a position where the people of Northern Ireland could judge for themselves what we would put forward tomorrow. The important thing to remember was that people would be able to judge how much progress had been made over the past year, and also if there was a gap remaining, how narrow the gap was. The other important issue was the two Prime Ministers would continue to push for a successful outcome.

Briefing took place at 15:45 | Read whole briefing | Comments (0)

Mercer Bill

Asked what the Prime Minister's view on Michael Howard's challenge to give him "a fair wind" on Patrick Mercer's Bill, the PMOS replied that not only had the Mercer Bill had not been published, so any answer would be theoretical, but also, regarding the need for clarification, we had clearly conceded there was some confusion about the defence of reasonable force. This was a matter for the Home Office to study, as he had indicated earlier in the day and during the week. The key test for any other proposal was whether it was practical, and whether it could be applied in court to any other case. The law as it stood at the moment, did allow for reasonable force to be applied, but that needed to be clarified.

Briefing took place at 15:45 | Read whole briefing | Comments (0)

Northern Ireland

Asked if the Prime Minister was confident of progress in Northern Ireland, the Prime Minister's Official Spokesman said that we aimed tomorrow to be in a situation where whatever happened the people of Northern Ireland would be able to judge for themselves. We had said all long that the people of Northern Ireland had a right to know what it was that had been proposed and debated on their behalf. The good news this morning was that the gap is narrow, but we would have to wait and see whether it could be closed. Asked if the Government hoped that people power would help close the gap between the parties, the PMOS said that people had a right to know how the last months of tense and constructive negotiations had been spent. The important thing was that people needed to know that progress was being made. Of course we hoped to be in a position to say that a deal had been done, but whatever the case, people had right to know whether progress had been made in addressing the issues that were set out over the passed year. Asked if the public would have the opportunity to express themselves through a referendum the PMOS said there weren't any plans for a referendum. We will set out in a very clear way, the issues we had discussed and where we believe we were and people would be able to judge from that, that progress had been made.

Briefing took place at 11:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (0)


Asked about the UK's position in the OECD education tables, the PMOS said that if journalists looked at what the Daily Telegraph had said and what the OECD had said the two directly contradicted each other. The OECD actually says that the figures were not reliable enough to draw firm conclusions from. Unfortunately the Daily Telegraph had drawn firm conclusions. The Department of Education would address the issue of getting reliable figures.

Briefing took place at 11:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (0)

Other Business

Asked who would be the UK representative at the inauguration of Hamid Karzai as the first elected President of Afghanistan, the PMOS told journalists that it would be Bill Rammell. Obviously President Karzai was very well aware of our congratulations for his election which represented a very significant moment in Afghanistan's history. You only had to observe that this would be the first elected President in Afghanistan's history to understand the significance of the event.

Briefing took place at 11:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (2)

Downing Street Says...

The unofficial site which lets you comment on the UK Prime Minister's official briefings. About us...


December 2004
Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun
« Nov   Jan »

Supported by


Disruptive Proactivity

Recent Briefings



Syndicate (RSS/XML)



Contact Sam Smith.

This site is powered by WordPress. Theme by Jag Singh