Asked about Monsieur De Villepin's appointment as Prime Minister, the Prime Minister's Official Spokesman (PMOS) said that we would wait for a formal announcement from Paris and then the Prime Minister would respond accordingly. Asked what the Prime Minister had said to President Chirac when they spoke, the PMOS said that it was not our practice to go into the details of conversations, but that they could take it that what the Prime Minister had said yesterday in Italy was a fair guide to his approach. He had suggested that we all needed a period of reflection and that this reflection was not just on the implications of the constitution but also the implications for a wider debate in Europe about the economy and economic reform. This included how we addressed people's practical concerns which may have under lied the way in which they had voted in this instance.
PM Speech on Compensation Culture
Asked if this was the Prime Minister's fiercest criticism of the European Union, the Prime Minister's Official Spokesman (PMOS) said that he had said this before. We had already heard him say in the past that the EU, like the UK, had to do better impact assessments of regulations. It was one of the things that we had been pushing for some time within the EU. It was also one of the things that we would be taking forward during our Presidency. Reforming the way in which you regulate from the EU was part of the economic reform process. This did not call into question your overall support of the EU but it did say you should be more sensitive to the impact of regulation.
Asked what the Government was doing about teenage pregnancy and whether the Prime Minister was dismayed at the high rates the PMOS said that Beverley Hughes had responded in a very intelligent way at lunchtime to questions about this. What she had said was that first of all we needed to recognise that the figures showed a slight increase and we should not get that out of proportion, though any increase was disturbing. Secondly the Government would not buck its responsibility through the education system in this area and thirdly the evidence suggested that the people who had the most influence on this were parents. This was because it was parents that teenagers felt most comfortable talking to about these issues. Therefore that was where the primary responsibility lied. This was not bucking the Governments responsibility but parents should respect their responsibility too.
The Prime Minister's Official Spokesman (PMOS) spoke to journalists about the Cabinet meeting that morning. It began with the Cabinet discussing in some detail the Champions League final between Liverpool and AC Milan last night. The Prime Minister described it as brilliant victory for Liverpool. Prime Minister Erdogan of Turkey had telephoned to send his congratulations. The Cabinet then went on to discuss the Olympics and Tessa Jowell updated colleagues on where we were and yesterday's meeting with Lord Coe and Ken Livingstone. Tessa Jowell and Dick Caborn would be visiting some 14 countries between them over the next 6 weeks. This gave some idea of the seriousness with which we were taking this. The Prime Minister re-iterated his view of yesterday that the bid team led by Seb Coe and Tessa Jowell had done a fantastic job.
Compensation Culture Speech
Prime Minister’s Travel/G8
Asked why, given the overlap between the Olympic bid announcement and the G8, the G8 had not been put back a few days so that the Prime Minister could attend both fully, the PMOS said that by the time the Prime Minister left Singapore for the G8 summit he would have done all that he could. He would have been on the ground for 48 hours and by that point he would have seen all that the people that he needed to see.
Asked if the Prime Minister was planning to leave the G8 early to go to Singapore, the Prime Minister's Official Spokesman (PMOS) said that it was the other way round. He would go to Singapore first to meet IOC members and then he would travel to the G8 Summit. Singapore would be before the G8. Asked if he would just be there for glad-handing, as he could not stay for the presentation, the PMOS said it was not about glad-handing. We were going for this in a big way and the Prime Minister would be going to reaffirm the Government' s commitment to the bid. As he had said at PMQs he believed that this bid had been done in a very professional way, that Lord Coe and his team had led it in a very professional way. They had demonstrated that technically it was a very good bid and technically we were capable of holding the games. They also had demonstrated that there was real public enthusiasm behind the bid and what the PM would be doing was reaffirming to IOC members the Government's commitment to supporting the bid up to the hilt. He could not be there for the presentation but by that stage his job would be done. The Prime Minister would in fact be in the air when the decision would be announced. As people knew he had to get back for the Gleneagles Summit.
In response to the suggestion that when the scheme was originally announced in April 2004 terrorism was the first reason given for the plan and that today it was the last of the reasons the PMOS said that he did not think that you actually broke down reasons for supporting a proposal in quite as simplistic a way as was being suggested. Was identity fraud a real issue for individuals in terms of their concerns about protecting their identity? Yes. Was there real concern about using new technology to stop abuse of the NHS and other public services? Yes. Were there concerns and did benefit fraud cost this country £50 million a year? Yes. Was there real concern about they way in which organised crime cost this country and the way in which terrorism could cost this country? Answer: Yes. If you took all those factors together, each equally important, and you put them all together then that made the case about why we believed it was in the individual's security interests and in the country's security interests as a whole to take advantage of new technology that would help you counter each of those factors.
Asked for further details of the Olympic meeting this afternoon, the Prime Minister's Official Spokesman (PMOS) told journalists that the Prime Minister would be underlining his personal commitment to the bid. His view was that hosting the games would be a great honour as well as leaving a positive legacy for London and the UK. His view was that this country could be proud of the bid and of those who have led it. In particular the work of Lord Coe and his team will have shown the IOC not just that London could host the Games but there was a real enthusiasm in this country to do so. That was what today would underline. What we would also see between now and the decision on July 6th was a series of events, some of which involving the Prime Minister to underline that support.
Original PMOS briefings are © Crown Copyright. Crown Copyright material is reproduced with the permission of the Controller of HMSO and the Queen's Printer for Scotland. Click-use licence number C02W0004089. Material is reproduced from the original 10 Downing Street source, but may not be the most up-to-date version of the briefings, which might be revised at the original source. Users should check with the original source in case of revisions. Comments are © Copyright contributors. Everything else is © Copyright Downing Street Says.
Contact Sam Smith.