» Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Al Qaradawi

Asked if Yusef al-Qaradawi would be coming to the UK, the PMOS said that it was a decision to be made by the Home Secretary who would take advice from a variety of departments, including the Security Services, FCO, CPS and the police.  It went without saying that the decision would be taken in the proper way.  Put to him that allowing people like Mr al-Qaradawi to visit the UK might be helpful inasmuch as it would expose their arguments to democratic debate, the PMOS said that the Prime Minister was not afraid to take on the arguments.  That was precisely why he was talking to representatives from the Muslim community today.  However, he did not want to argue the case on his own.  He believed it was important to harness the view of the moderate Muslim community to argue the case amongst themselves. 

Briefing took place at 11:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (0)

» Monday, July 18, 2005

London bombs/Terror

Asked about the Prime Minister's comments that it was not right to say that the bombings had nothing to do with Islam, the Prime Minister's Official Spokesman (PMOS) said he was surprised that people were still asking about this. The Prime Minister had said since last week that we all had to recognise where this perversion of Islam came from. We had to recognise that we all had to stand together in order to deal with that, including the Muslim community. Much more importantly the Muslim MPs who had seen the Prime Minister, many of the leading figures within the Muslim community over the past few days had said that it was not enough just to condemn the bombing and that the Muslim community itself had to act. That was indeed part of the reason for the meeting with the Prime Minister and the opposition leaders tomorrow. The 4 Muslim MPs and 5 Muslim peers would also attend the meeting. Asked what the Government expected of the Muslim leaders at the meeting, the PMOS said that would become clear after tomorrow's meeting. The important thing was that we recognised that words in themselves, whilst welcome, were not sufficient. We needed to have action within the communities in order to, as the Prime Minister had said on Saturday, take on, in a reasoned argument, the false propaganda which had been put about at a local level and at an international level. We had to challenge the extremist viewpoint. Part of that challenge was at a security level and part of that was at a political level as well.

Briefing took place at 15:45 | Read whole briefing | Comments (0)

London Bombs / Terror

Asked if there was a list of who was attending tomorrow's meeting of Muslim leaders, the Prime Minister's Official Spokesman (PMOS) said that we had not got a final list available yet. The leaders of the main opposition parties would join the Prime Minister where they would collectively listen to what the Muslim leaders had to say then try and reach a consensus about how we carried it forward. We would carry it forward not just in terms of expressions of solidarity but also aim to in a practical way as well.

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

» Friday, July 15, 2005

Stephen Byers

Asked if the Prime Minister was disappointed by Mr. Byers' admission, the PMOS interrupted the journalist and said he could not comment on an ongoing court case.

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

» Thursday, July 14, 2005

Anti Terror Legislation

Asked whether it was known if the proposal to tighten exclusion powers would cover people already in the UK who had been excluded from other countries, or instead would it only cover asylum seekers, the Prime Minister's Official Spokesman (PMOS) said it was meant to cover people who were coming into the UK, and in terms of administration, it was primarily for people who it was discovered had been excluded from other countries and as they arrived, their cases would be considered by the Home Secretary. With regards to people who were already in the UK, the aim would be to make it easier to deport people if they were causing problems.

Briefing took place at 15:45 | Read whole briefing | Comments (0)

Cabinet/Anti-terror legislation

The Prime Minister's Official Spokesman (PMOS) briefed journalists on this morning's Cabinet meeting. The Cabinet collectively expressed their sincere thanks to the emergency services, the police, staff working on London Transport, and those involved in trying to identify the bodies, for their work during the past week.

Briefing took place at 11:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (0)

» Wednesday, July 13, 2005

London Bombs

The Prime Minister's Official Spokesman (PMOS) told journalists that the list of previous terrorist attacks that the Prime Minister promised to publish during PMQs would be made available by 7pm this evening. Also that the meeting between the Prime Minister and a broader representation of the Muslim Community with the leaders of the opposition would be next Tuesday the 19 July.

Briefing took place at 15:45 | Read whole briefing | Comments (2)

Louise Casey

Asked if Downing Street could explain the timing of her apology, the PMOS said that it was entirely a Home Office matter.

Briefing took place at 15:45 | Read whole briefing | Comments (0)

MPs Meeting with the Prime Minister

The Prime Minister's Official Spokesman (PMOS) told journalists that the Prime Minister's meeting this morning was very much at their request as an initial meeting to discuss the aftermath of yesterday. The MPs told the Prime Minister that they believed that the Muslim community must give leadership in tackling this form of terrorism from within the Muslim community, and the time to act was now. They also said that such action would only succeed if the Muslim community worked with the rest of the community in this country. The MPs asked for the Prime Minister's strong backing, which he gave, to work with other communities, the police, and the authorities. The Prime Minister repeated his strong view that recent events should not in any way be used as an excuse for a backlash against Muslim communities.

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

London bombings

Put to the PMOS that the report from the Oldham Riots last year made clear that there was an indication of two parallel societies, and what had the Government done about it since, and also why was the Government not going to bring into legislation a ruling against preachers preaching about racial hatred, the PMOS said the Prime Minister would deal with some of these matters in today's PMQs. However, as we had been saying consistently since Thursday, first and foremost, anti-terrorist legislation had already been introduced in the terrorism Acts of 2000 and 2001. Secondly, the Government in its manifesto said that it would bring in further counter-terrorism measures in the autumn, and would concentrate on two particular areas, which were introducing offences for the preparation for acts of terrorism and encouraging acts of terrorism. The PMOS said we had let the police and the authorities get on with their tasks in the investigation, and we had seen the very professional way in which the police acted yesterday. If, however, the advice from the police was that we needed to move in a certain direction and move at a faster pace, then we would consider that advice very seriously. The PMOS said we had to allow the police to deal with the immediate aftermath and then hold discussions, which would begin very shortly. What the Prime Minister said when he spoke in the House earlier this week was that we would like to move with a broad consensus within the House, as well as within the community. The PMOS said it could be taken that we would also talk to others as well once there was a consensus about what we could do. The important thing was that we took measures not just for sake of taking them, but rather ones that the police and the authorities recognised were needed and were effective. With regards to what could be done within communities, the overall position was that the reporting this week had shown that there was already a lot of work going on at community level, both within and between communities. Clearly, we were going to have to step up that work and also help the Muslim community, especially as the overwhelming view of the majority of the Muslim community was that they wanted nothing to do with this kind of extremism. How we did that was precisely the point of the Prime Minister agreeing to the initial meeting with the MPs today, but we needed to take that further forward. The Prime Minister recognised it was an issue, but more importantly at this stage, the Muslim leadership itself recognised it was an issue, as did the MPs.

Briefing took place at 11:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (10)

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