» Thursday, December 16, 2004


The Prime Minister's Spokesman (PMS) informed journalists that there had been an error on a Press Release issued earlier today. James Purnell would be the new unpaid assistant and Government whip. Tom Watson would now be a paid whip.

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


Asked if the Prime Minister had been bluffing when he said the outcome of the review of the regiments might not be what people imagined and the outcome had been exactly as predicted, the PMS said that there had been a lot of speculation about today's announcement. We had always told people to wait for the announcement rather than prejudge it. The review had been announced in July. The Army had wanted to look at its structure and today's announcement was the outcome of that review.

Briefing took place at 15:45 | Read whole briefing | Comment (1)

Belmarsh Prisoners

Asked what the Government's reaction would be to the ruling by the Law Lords concerning prisoners detained without charge at Belmarsh prison, the PMS asked journalists if they had seen the Written Ministerial Statement issued by the Home Office in response to the House of Lords judgement. The PMS quoted the statement made by the Home Secretary saying: "I will be asking Parliament to renew this legislation in the New Year but in the meantime we will be studying the judgement carefully to see whether it is possible to modify our legislation to address the concerns raised by the House of Lords." Asked if they Government would continue to detain the prisoners, the PMS quoted another paragraph saying: "Accordingly I will not be revoking the certificates or releasing the detainees, whom I believe are a significant threat to our security, a judgment upheld by the Special Immigration Appeals Commission, chaired by a High Court Judge." The Statement made it quite clear what the Government's position was.

Briefing took place at 15:45 | Read whole briefing | Comments (3)

David Blunkett

Asked what the Prime Minister's reaction to David Blunkett's resignation at Cabinet was, the Prime Minister's Official Spokesman (PMOS) said that obviously everyone was very sad about David Blunkett's departure from the Cabinet, and the Prime Minister was sure that everyone would agree that Charles Clarke would be a brilliant Home Secretary. He also congratulated Ruth Kelly on her appointment as Secretary of State for Education.

Briefing took place at 11:00 | Read whole briefing | Comment (1)

EU Council Trip

Asked if the reason the Brussels trip was so short was because the "Turkey thing was all sewn up", the PMOS said one could never assume agreement, and it was unwise to do so. We felt it was in the interests of the EU as a whole, and it was in the interests of Turkey that we got an agreement to negotiations next year. We felt that was reachable at the summit, but this was a EU of 25 countries, and Turkey had its own interests to safeguard, therefore it could never be assumed that an agreement could be reached. We were travelling in hope, but not in certainty.

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

Law Lords

Asked if there had been any decision on the law lords ruling this morning yet, the PMOS said we recognised there would need to be a decision taken by Parliament about how to respond to the ruling. However, the detail should be left to the written ministerial statement.

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

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