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.
Asked if the Prime Minister would support Chancellor Schroeder’s call for debt relief to be given to the countries affected by the Earthquake, the PMS said that the Government was already doing a lot to assist heavily indebted countries. DFID would be able to give figures of how much but the UK had played a full part in the international effort to help these countries and would continue to do so.
Asked if the Prime Minister was considering cutting short his holiday, the PMS said that he was not. Asked if the Prime Minister was meeting King Abdullah of Jordan today the PMS said yes, the Prime Minister was meeting him Jordan. He had also spoken to Kofi Annan on the phone yesterday. Whilst on holiday the Prime Minister had kept in regular contact with the Deputy Prime Minister, the Foreign Secretary and the Secretary of State for International Development and officials. Thanks to modern communications technology it was simple for the Prime Minister to talk to anyone he needed to at any time.
Asked when the Prime would be back, the PMS said that for reasons of security Downing Street would not be briefing on the Prime Minister’s travel arrangements. Due to security advice the Prime Minister had not travelled by commercial aeroplane to Egypt but he and the family had paid the commercial rate for the travel arrangements.
Briefing took place at 11:45 | Search for related news
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