» Thursday, December 9, 2004

Northern Ireland

Asked if there were any further meetings planned between the Prime Minister and the Irish Prime Minister in the immediate future, the Prime Minister's Official Spokesman (PMOS) said that they would both be attending the European Council next week, but he was not aware of plans to meet before then.

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

Budd Report

Asked if the Prime Minister expected to receive a copy of the Budd Report before publication, the PMOS replied that Sir Alan Budd had to complete his report, which was the next step.

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

Butler Review

Asked what changes the Prime Minister had made to his style of government and government procedures in the wake of the Butler Review, the PMOS replied that as we had said when the report was published in July that we would take on the changes outlined in the Report. Minutes and records of meetings had been taken on board.

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

Europe Minister

Asked f the Prime Minister fully supported the Minister for Europe and his recent views on the Euro, the PMOS said he was not aware of the comment, and would prefer not to say anything further until he had.

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

Lord Butler

Asked what the Prime Minister thought of Lord Butler's comments that the Prime Minister had a very bad style of Government that was only interested in central control of headlines and that had produced a lot of extremely bad Bills the PMOS said that he did not do book reviews or magazine reviews or assist in magazine sales. He would leave other people to do that. He would point out however that following the Sir Peter Gershwin Review in 2004 Spending Review there was a very clear efficiency programme being carried out within the Civil Service. Civil Service numbers were actually lower than they were 10 years ago. The Prime Minister firmly stood by decisions such as making the Bank of England independent. Equally he stood by the movement of more staff within the civil service to the frontline. In terms of the Prime Minister's style of government what the Prime Minister and Government should be judged on was the results it had achieved across a wide range of subjects. Asked what had happened in the Prime Minister's Office since the Butler Report's complaint about the so called "sofa" style of Government and insufficient note taking the PMOS said that in terms of the way in which meetings were recorded Lord Butler's recommendations had been taken on board.

Briefing took place at 11:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (9)

David Blunkett

Asked if there was any discussion at Cabinet about members of Cabinet giving performance reports on fellow ministers or an urging from the Prime Minister for Ministers to keep their thoughts to themselves the PMOS said that he had left just before the end but up till that point there had been no mention of that, but he would check on the detail of the remainder of the meeting and get back. Asked if the Prime Minister had expressed any views following Prime Minister's Questions when he said he had had enough of it the PMOS said that he had not heard him do so, but again he would get back.

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

Climate Change

Asked what efforts the Prime Minister was making to get President Bush's support on Britain's G8 priority to tackle climate change the PMOS said that in terms of President Bush and climate change as we had said when we returned from the White House in November we had discussed the issue. The Prime Minister reported as such to the House of Commons on the 17 November. We had also said we were seeking a consensus on the way forward and that consensus would be taken further forward in February whenever as announced we would be holding a scientific conference, to be held in Exeter, of international experts on this subject. People should recognise that the US position was not just a position singular to President Bush. The Senate, after all, had voted 96-0 in rejection of Kyoto and that position had been there since President Clinton's tenure. The key was also to recognise, as the Prime Minister had said in Johannesburg, that while we believed Kyoto to be very important, and we did not in any way resile from Kyoto, we also had to recognise that Kyoto by itself was not enough to tackle the issue. What we had to do was push forward on the technological front to try and make compatible more environmentally friendly technology whilst at the same time not harming economic growth in the world. If you harmed economic growth then you did not have the resources to keep pushing forward world development. At the same time you had to tackle the real problems of climate change. It was how you reconciled those problems and how you achieved a consensus that was why we were making it a G8 priority. In reality the issues of climate change and Africa were related and therefore that was why they would form the backbone of our G8 presidency approach.

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

Other Business

Asked for further details about the NHS continuing care statement the PMOS said that it was issuing national standards for continuing care throughout the country to address what was known as the "postcode lottery". People should talk to the Department of Health for further details.

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

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