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.
Asked if the Prime Minister had any words for those who might be inclined to oppose ID cards, the PMOS said that the longer this debate had gone the more people seemed to be seeing the relevance of ID cards. What we were seeing was identity theft becoming a much more salient issue which people were becoming concerned about in their every day life. It was a growing crime which costs the economy at least £1.3 billion per year. Criminals were recognising that identities were just as valuable as possessions. There was also the sheer inconvenience factor of having to spend up to 60 hours restoring your records of your identity was stolen. It would also help to strengthen immigration controls, combat illegal working, countering the mis-use of public services, and also the organised crime and terrorism aspect as well. What this was about, the Prime Minister believed, was getting a step ahead of criminals and terrorists. It was important to recognise that 80% of us have passports already and because of the changing technical requirements of the US and the EU and move to biometric passports, we were going to have to go down that road anyway. The extra cost of including the ID element was well worth it because of what it did in terms of delivering extra assurance and extra security for people in all senses.
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.