Put to him that what Douglas Alexander had said earlier today had seemed to mean that there would "definitely be" a referendum, which seemed slightly different to what he, the Prime Minister's Official Spokesman (PMOS), had been saying this morning, the PMOS said that as he had said this morning, the Prime Minister's words were on record. We did not, however, want in any way to get drawn into hypothetical questions about what happened if the French referendum went one way or the other. He said it would be better to wait and see and then deal with the result. The PMOS said equally what was a statement of the obvious, as he had also said this morning, was that the context of the other European countries' debate on the constitution would be influenced by the outcome of the votes in France and the Netherlands. He reiterated that the best thing was to wait and see, rather than get sucked into what was a lengthy process in another country.
EU Constitution Referenda
Asked to clarify whether the Government would go ahead with a referendum on the EU constitution if the French and Dutch people voted against it, the Prime Minister's Official Spokesman (PMOS) said that we should not get into hypothetical questions. The Prime Minister has said that there would be a referendum on the EU constitution. The position remained unchanged. He wouldn't speculate about what happens if countries vote against rather than for, that was up to them. There were campaigns underway and it was a very wise convention that Government's didn't intervene in other countries electoral campaigns. Let us see what happened.
Asked what the Prime Minister thought about allegations against George Galloway, the PMOS said that was a matter for the Senate Committee and Mr Galloway, and if journalists thought he was going to get into the middle of that, they had another thing coming.
Asked if, given the gender gap in pay, it was an embarrassment to the Government that the Minister for Women would be unpaid, the PMOS said that he had dealt with this matter earlier in the week. As he pointed out then, there had always been unpaid Government ministers because of the cap on the size of Government. What was important was that previously, Jackie Smith had been sharing the responsibilities of Women's Minister with other responsibilities she had. Meg Munn would be able to devote her time solely to being Women's Minister. Furthermore Tessa Jowell would be representing the equality and equal opportunities agenda at the Cabinet table. The agenda was being addressed in a serious way.
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