» Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Reasonable Force

Asked what first prompted the Prime Minster to take the law on self defence further, the Prime Minister's Official Spokesman (PMOS) replied there was a series of cases in the Autumn that led to this issue becoming high profile in the media and therefore, it was clearly sensible to see if there was a problem. There did seem to be agreement that there was some confusion amongst the public as to what was legal, which needed to be clarified. This was also the opinion of the Government, ACPO and the CPS, who have stated that clarification was needed, rather than new legislation. The PMOS pointed journalists to ACPO's and the CPS's recent statements on the matter, that said they believed that a clarification to the law, rather than a change would help reassure the public.

Briefing took place at 15:45 | Read whole briefing | Comments (2)

Lord Justice Potter Appointment

Asked if the Prime Minister was satisfied that proper procedure was used following the appointment of Lord Justice Potter, the PMOS said the short answer was: yes. Lord Falconer had issued a statement on the appointment, and the PMOS also pointed out that Dame Butler-Sloss's predecessor, Sir Stephen Brown, was a Queen's Bench Practitioner judge, and therefore was appointed from outside in the same way.

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

Northern Ireland

Asked if there was anything further from the talks the Prime Minster had held yesterday with Dr. Paisley, the PMOS said no, but he added that the DUP were going to return with some proposals, and it was a chance to have a longer discussion than the one last Friday in the aftermath of the robbery. The PMOS said what was noticeable was the uniformity of view now expressed by all leaders of political parties, both North and South, except Sinn Fein, about what had happened and the unacceptability of it.

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

Reasonable Force

Asked if the Home Secretary's statement would represent a change in the Government's position on reasonable force the PMOS said that before christmas we had promised to talk to ACPO and other relevant people about this issue.  We had accepted then that there had been a degree of confusion around the issue.  The written statement would report back on that process of consultation.  The PMOS declined to pre-empt the Home Secretary's statement. 

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

Licensing Laws

Asked for a reminder on the Government's position on 24-hour drinking the PMOS reminded journalists that it was not 24-hour drinking, but flexible closing times.  The reason for the proposed changes to licensing laws was that fixed closing times had resulted in problems. He reminded journalists that Chris Fox, president of ACPO, had said in October 2004 that 24-hour licensing was not the issue.  What people wanted was the ability to stagger closing times to deal with the problems of fixed closing times at the same time as dealing with pubs that had caused problems.  That was what the new legislation provided for.  If there were problems in a particular area, then the local authority could now deal with those problems.

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

Rawnsley book

Asked if the Prime Minister or anyone in Downing Street was co-operating with Andrew Rawnsley on a book the PMOS said that we were not aware that we were co-operating with a book.  Being the innocent souls that we were we had checked with Andrew Rawnsley and he was not aware that he had a book pending.  That would suggest that, not only were we not co-operating with a book, but that there was no such book.  It was a question for Andrew Rawnsley as to whether he was writing a book.

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


Asked why the Government thought it necessary for MI6 to have a business advisor the PMOS said that a businessman had actually been an advisor of MI6 since 2002.  That arrangement was merely being formalised.  In terms of quality control, it was common for all organisations to have such figures, and it was therefore deemed to be a sensible re-arrangement of how mi6 did things.

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

Middle East

Asked about reports that the Prime Minister was sending an envoy to Palestine in advance of the march conference the PMOS said that there would be continuing conversations with both the palestinians and the israelis about how we moved things forward following the Prime Minister's trip to the region.  This should come as no surprise.

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

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