» Thursday, March 3, 2005


Asked what had been discussed at Cabinet, the PMOS told journalists that Charles Clarke had updated Cabinet on the progress of the Anti Terror Bill. The Prime Minister re-iterated his view that it was a choice between on the one hand, being in a situation where the only power available to police was to monitor people with all the risks that involved or, on the other hand, having to prosecute them in a situation where it was not always possible to use intelligence to do so. Therefore both the Prime Minister and the Home Secretary re-iterated that the Bill struck the correct balance in what were, as everyone admitted, difficult circumstances.

The PMOS said that Jack Straw also gave a summary of the Palestinian meeting earlier in the week. The Foreign Secretary re-iterated his view, which was also echoed by Hilary Benn, that what was impressive about the meeting was not only the universal consensus that there was now an opportunity to move forward, but also, a recognition that the process of elections in Iraq, Afghanistan and Palestine had had a major impact in the regions in a positive way. People were, in a genuine way, trying to move the situation forward.

Asked if the Foreign Secretary had said anything about Lebanon, the PMOS replied that he had referred to the pressure for Syria to comply with UN resolutions, and how that was being reflected in popular opinion on the street.

Asked if the Health Secretary had spoken in Cabinet, the PMOS said he had, but not on the subject that he suspected the journalist was asking about.

Asked if anyone had raised fears that the Anti Terror Bill would fall, the PMOS said there was a universal determination that the Bill should be passed.

Asked if the Prime Minister had any plans to visit Warrington, the PMOS said the Prime Minister was not planning to visit. However, the Health Secretary was intending to be in Warrington for a peace event there connected with the Parry Centre.

Asked if Dr. Reid was planning to visit Mrs Dickson, the PMOS said he did not know; it was a matter for the Department of Health.

Briefing took place at 11:00 | Search for related news

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