» Monday, January 10, 2005

Tsunami Statement

Asked what the Prime Minister would be saying in his statement the Prime Minister's Official Spokesman (PMOS) said that the Prime Minister would give an update on the figures. They would not come as a surprise to people but they would be the latest update. This was a situation that changed as the precise facts were established so it was important to stress that it was an update. Certainty in this particular situation was unfortunately a very elusive quality. Asked if the casualty figures were likely to increase the PMOS said that he did not think people would see a big change in the figures to be announced this afternoon.

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

Northern Ireland

Asked if there would be a Blair-Ahern press conference this week the PMOS said that there would not be. The Taoiseach was currently in China and as was said on Friday they would meet following his return. Paul Murphy would meet his opposite number Dermot Ahern, the Minister for Foreign Affairs. There would also be a Paul Murphy statement to the House, most likely tomorrow. Asked if he accepted that the IRA bank robbery could not have taken place without the knowledge of the Sein Fein leadership the PMOS said that he could only say what he knew therefore he could not say with any certainty if that was the position or not. What he could say was that it was clearly a major crime and that clearly had implications in terms of its planning. As the Taoiseach had said yesterday it was simply not acceptable that such crimes were planned by any organisation involved in the political process. The Prime Minister made it clear two and a half years ago that paramilitary activity would have to end completely and as he said yesterday he meant it.

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

Blair – Brown

Asked if the Prime Minister had mulled over the newspapers with the Chancellor the PMOS said that the Prime Minister had been getting on with business this morning. Yesterday he had said all he intended to say about the matter. Asked if the Prime Minister regarded trust between colleagues as a prerequisite the PMOS said that the Prime Minister was determined to get on with the business of Government because he believed that was what the people wanted him to do. Asked if the Prime Minister was saying that the account in the Sunday Telegraph was untrue the PMOS referred journalists to the Prime Minister's words yesterday where he himself had referred to the answer he gave on the 26 September also on Breakfast with Frost. Asked if journalists were to say there had never been a denial of this story if this would be accurate the PMOS said that the Prime Minister had addressed the story on Frost on the 26 September. Asked why the Prime Minister did not just clear things up once and for all the PMOS said, as the Prime Minister had done so yesterday, that you had two choices in this, you either engaged in this sort of story or you did not. If you did you would end up spending all your time chasing these stories and not getting on with the business. He believed it was far more important to get on with the business.

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


Asked if there was any response to the Guardian article suggesting that the Government had no idea how many gang masters or illegal immigrants working for them there were the PMOS said that the Gangmasters Licensing Act came into effect on the 7 January. What it did was to establish the authority to operate a licensing scheme, set licensing conditions and maintained a register of licensed gangmasters. It created new offences including operating without a license; engaging in the services of an unlicensed gangmaster; using false documentation; it had a maximum penalty of 10 years imprisonment; increased enforcement through out the country and also trebled funding for Reflex the operation aimed at gang master with £20m each year over 3 years. All that suggested that quite a lot was going. Yes there was a problem but that was precisely why the Government supported the Act. Asked if he accepted that all this was too little too late the PMOS said that he accepted that there was a problem and that we had analysed that problem and taken a legislative step to address that problem.

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


Asked in terms of the numbers and seniority of those getting killed in Iraq with the situation seemingly getting worse would the election really be a cut off point for the violence the PMOS said that he did not get into the business of prediction except to say that it was always anticipated a situation where the terrorists would do their utmost to stop the democratic election process. What would be different after the elections was that the new Iraqi Government would have a democratically elected authority and that democratic authority would be based on establishing a full working democracy in Iraq. The alternative offered by the terrorists was precisely the reverse. The UN, when the Prime Minister visited, were very clear that in their view the people of Iraq in all areas and in all backgrounds wanted a vote and would use that vote. Asked how concerned the Government was at the prospect of the Sunnis not turning up and what lack of turnout would constitute a lack of legitimacy the PMOS again referred to the views of the UN that all constituent parts of Iraq did want to vote. He would not get into a hypothetical debate about turnout but the important part was to ensure that all elements of Iraqi society were allowed a vote.

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

Downing Street Says...

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


January 2005
Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun
« Dec   Feb »

Supported by


Disruptive Proactivity

Recent Briefings



Syndicate (RSS/XML)



Contact Sam Smith.

This site is powered by WordPress. Theme by Jag Singh