Asked whether Peter Mandelson's comments during a speech tonight about the poorer countries' contributions towards the rebate were considered helpful at this time, the Prime Minister's Spokesman (PMS) said Mr. Mandelson was the EU Commissioner. The Prime Minister had spoken about the rebate at lunch time, setting out his views on the situation.
Asked to comment on an ICM survey that suggested that ID cards were less popular than the Government had claimed, the PMS said she had not seen the survey, and could not therefore comment. The PMS said the Government had set out its plans when it recently published the Bill.
Asked what the current position was on troops being sent out to Afghanistan was, the PMS said the story appeared to be confused. The Prime Minister had announced last June at the NATO conference in Istanbul that the UK would deploy the Headquarter's Group of the ARRC (Allied Rapid Reaction Corp). Any talk of how many troops would be deployed, however, was purely speculative.
Asked if the Prime Minister would be seeking to prolong the ratification period for the EU Constitution during his talks this week, the Prime Minister's Spokesman (PMS) said it would be better if people waited until the talks had taken place in Brussels later in the week. The Prime Minister had set out his views, and we were waiting for the meeting where the issues would be discussed.
Put to her that now France and Germany seemed to be "going soft" on the one per cent line, was Britain's position still one per cent as the maximum they were prepared to go, the PMS said the Foreign Secretary had set out our position this morning.
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