» Monday, September 12, 2005

City Acadamies

Asked if, as Estelle Morris had said, the City Academies programme was going too fast, the Prime Minister's Official Spokesman (PMOS) said that the Prime Minister would address the issue head on his speech this afternoon. The Prime Minister had made no secret of his view that if we were going to meet the challenges of the modern economy, challenges we had seen in detail during the Prime Minister's recent visit to China and India, we had to upgrade our teaching skills and equip all our students better. Specialist schools fitted very firmly into that picture. We were responding to the needs of the modern economy in the modern world. Put to him that ultimately there was a risk that it would only be children of wealthy parents who would be able to choose a city academy, the PMOS said that was why it was very important that we expanded the number of city academies, and that was what we were doing. There would be 10 new academies opening this month, by next September there would be forty more. The Prime Minister himself had set out an even more ambitious timetable than that.

Briefing took place at 12:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (3)


Put to him that given the likelihood that judges would reject it, the Memoranda of Understanding between the UK and Jordan wasn't worth the paper it was written on, the PMOS said that we should wait for the judges to make their decision rather than commenting in advance. The Memoranda of Understanding were based on very clear agreements and were taken very seriously by both sides.

Briefing took place at 12:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (2)

Fuel Protests

Asked if the Government was making preparations for possible fuel protests on Wednesday, the PMOS said that the Treasury had made it clear that the appropriate contingency plans were in place. Asked if the Prime Minister has sympathy for the protestors, the PMOS said that we fully understood why people were concerned. The Chancellor had set out the position in terms of the global economy and the effects on oil prices.

Briefing took place at 12:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (10)

UN Summit

Asked what hopes the Prime Minister had for the UN Summit, the PMOS said that it was an important summit. As we had set out last week, we were hopeful that it would adopt a new resolution on terrorism which would not just set out commitments on fighting terrorism but also commit countries to take action against the incitement of terrorism. Discussions on that were continuing and were progressing well. Other issues included the reform of the UN itself, in particular setting up a Human Rights Council and reinforcing the responsibility to protect citizens from abuses of human rights within countries; we were also looking for progress on the peace building commission. Reform of the Security Council itself was an important issue, but that might be a slightly longer term project as the Prime Minister had said himself. Asked if the anti-terrorism resolution would be a British motion, the PMOS said that we had been heavily involved in drawing it up. In terms of sponsorship he didn't want to get ahead of the game. We were hopeful of progress. Asked if by the end of this week we would have an agreed definition of terrorism, the PMOS said that as he had said we were aiming for a Security Council resolution which committed countries to not only fight terrorism but also take action against incitement to terrorism.

Briefing took place at 12:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (2)

Northern Ireland

Asked what the Prime Minister's view on the recent violence in Northern Ireland was, the PMOS said that first and foremost what was clear was that the violence was to be condemned. Attempted murder could not be justified in any way and we should be clear that this was attempted murder. Equally the way to resolve tensions over issues such as parades was through dialogue and that we remained committed to. While the weekend had been grim, it should not in any way deter parties from talking about how we moved forward. We were waiting to see the IRA carry out its commitments on decommissioning, we were hopeful of talking to the parties as well. That remained the way forward. Violence such as we saw over the weekend took us nowhere and the vast majority of people in Northern Ireland fully recognised that.

Briefing took place at 12:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (5)

Other Business

Asked about Sir John Stevens talking about specific plots against the Prime Minister, the PMOS said that he did not give book reviews.

Briefing took place at 12:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (0)

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