» Tuesday, March 8, 2005

Anti Terror Legislation Bill

Asked if it was true that the Government would rather extend the current legislation, rather than have no laws at all if no agreement was reached by Friday, the Prime Minister's Official Spokesman (PMOS) said, as he had said this morning, that the Government still believed that the current legislation would be passed. We believed that the balance of the bill was correct, but he advised people to wait and see what happened when the bill returned from the Lords.

Briefing took place at 15:45 | Read whole briefing | Comments (12)


Asked what the Government's approach to the Prevention of Terrorism legislation was, the Prime Minister's Official Spokesman (PMOS) said that the position hadn't changed since yesterday. We continued to believe that the bill, as passed by the Commons, struck the right balance between security and safeguarding individual liberties. The Commons would consider the Bill as returned by the Lords but let's wait and see what that was. Asked if there was no chance that the Government would consider a sunset clause, the PMOS said that as we had said last week, we had to be very careful about the signal we sent to terrorists. We also had to be very careful about the signal we sent to the Security Services and the Police about the seriousness with which we regarded the issue. Given the comments over the weekend, people were in a better position to understand why the Government did regard this issue with a serious mind. Asked if the Government felt that annual renewal weakened the previous prevention of terrorism act, the PMOS pointed out that annual renewal was built into control orders for those under house arrest. Equally the other control orders would be reviewed on a three-monthly basis. If you took out control orders which resulted in having to derogate, you had to annually re-pass that derogation through parliament. What would be sending the wrong signal was if we had to re-debate this issue again and again. There was a distinction between review and going back to the start again.

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

Artic Convoy

Asked about the decision to reward the achievements of the Arctic Convoy veterans with what amounted to a badge, the PMOS said that, to give a bit of colour, he was walking towards the Prime Minister's office last night in Downing Street when he heard cheers, shouts of "hurray" and shouts of "Good on you Tony!" The suggestion that the reception for the veterans' announcement was anything other than well received was one he did not recognise. The PMOS quoted Len Harrison, one of the three trustees and a senior office holder in the Russian Convoy club, who said: "It was a pleasure to be in Downing Street and I am delighted that my shipmates and convoy companions express their approval in such a positive manner." That said it all, and listening to those who were at the reception last night he was in doubt at all that the response was positive.

Briefing took place at 11:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (7)


Asked why the Government had ignored the proposals of Liam Donaldson with regards to MRSA, the PMOS said that far from ignoring the recommendations, the Government was taking forward those proposals for a Hygiene act, one that went further than originally anticipated, covering Nursing Homes and other residences. John Reid held a meeting yesterday with the regulators to develop that further. Far from ignoring the issue the Government was taking it forward. It took time to implement the decision because of all the regulations involved and because the Government was widening the scope of the institutions it applied to. MRSA was not going to be beaten by one single measure, but it would be beaten by a range of measures. There was an impressive list of measures the Government had taken.

Briefing took place at 11:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (4)

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