» Tuesday, November 29, 2005

CBI Speech

Put to him that given how security conscious we all were these days how concerned was the Prime Minister about this morning, the PMOS said that security was a matter we took very seriously, but this was a matter for the police and those whose job it was to look after security. The Prime Minister’s main concern as you had seen was, thanks to those at the CBI, to be able to deliver his speech. He had received a standing ovation at the end of it so what was there to complain about!

Asked if the Prime Minister had any views on the manner of the Greenpeace protest, the PMOS said that the Prime Minister had said at the top of his speech that free speech was a two way street. He was the elected Prime Minister of the country and therefore he had a right to be heard just as Greenpeace, quite rightly, had a right to make their views known. If it was an attempt to stop the Prime Minister being heard then that was unfortunate. The Prime Minister had been quite prepared to go ahead with his speech even if that meant being heckled. The CBI came to their decision and the Prime Minister was more than happy to abide by that. The dignified manner in which the CBI handled it was commendable.

Asked if the Prime Minister in anyway accepted the argument that when public debates were launched putting on stunts was often the only way for groups to be heard, the PMOS said that in this country we had fought for the right of free expression but we also had things called elections. The Prime Minister was the elected head of the Government in this country. As such he had a right to express his views and a duty within Government to take hard decisions. We should wait to see what the energy review actually produced and debate that rather than be distracted by stunts.

Briefing took place at 9:00 | Search for related news

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