David Blunkett and the reshuffle
The Prime Minister's Official Spokesman (PMOS) told journalists that the Prime Minister had appointed John Hutton as the new Secretary of State for Work and Pensions. He did not anticipate further reshuffle announcements this week.
Asked if there was any new piece of information that Mr. Blunkett felt made his position untenable, where yesterday it had been tenable, the PMOS said that Mr. Blunkett would set out the reasons why he came to the decision he did. Mr. Blunkett had decided overnight that his position had become untenable, therefore, that was why he came to the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister continued his full support for Mr. Blunkett in his position, and the judgements that the PMOS outlined yesterday remained, but Mr. Blunkett decided that because of the overall atmosphere, that the position had become untenable.
Asked for a reaction to the vote on the terror bill, the PMOS said that the Prime Minister's view remained as he stated at PMQs that 90 days was the police's operational advice. As they had made clear yesterday 90 days was necessary. Deputy Commissioner, Andy Hayman had made it clear that their stated view was not as a negotiating bid but based on the need for time to carry out such things as de-encrypting computers, tracing DNA evidence and tracing international mobiles. The Prime Minister's view was that that remained a compelling case and that nobody had yet put forward a compelling alternative to the police's case for 90 days.
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