» Thursday, November 24, 2005

Pensions

Asked if the Prime Minister believed that the Chancellor was trying to "destroy" the Turner Report before it had been published, the PMOS replied that his understanding was that the Treasury was disputing that interpretation this morning. As John Hutton would lay out, the important thing was that we waited for Adair Turner's proposals before commenting, and also that we underlined the principles on which our response would be made. Those principles were that our proposals would be fair, affordable, encouraged people to save more.

Briefing took place at 16:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (4)

Pensions

Asked about whether the Government was rejecting the proposals in the Turner report on pensions, the PMOS said that the Prime Minister had spelled out the position very clearly when he said that despite what people may have heard we had an open mind about Turner, we believed it was a serious piece of work and would be responded to in a serious way. This morning John Hutton had laid down the principles on which any response would be based, which was that it should be fair, affordable and should encourage people to save. We should all wait for the report to be published and then judge it on the report. Asked if the disparity between the public and private views of the Turner report put him an awkward position, the PMOS said that he did not feel in any awkward position at all. He felt quite happy waiting for the Turner report to be published and waiting until we had decided our response. The basis of it was that we ruled nothing in and nothing out.

Briefing took place at 16:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (2)

Pakistan Meeting

Asked for a description of today's meeting between the Prime Minister and officials from Pakistan, the PMOS said that the purpose of the meeting had been to try and make sure that everything had been done to help Pakistan through the winter it included representatives of the UN, NATO, Aid agencies, Pakistan Community representatives, MPs, private sector representatives, and British contributors to the appeal. (see introduction for details) Asked if part of the reason for the meeting had been the high level of former Pakistani nationals who lived in the UK, the PMOS said that was a very fair question. Obviously there was a need which in and of itself had to be met, but there was a linkage between the large Pakistani community here and Pakistan which underlined our role in trying to be helpful.

Briefing took place at 16:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (0)

EU-Canada Summit

Asked what might come up at the EU-Canada summit later today, the PMOS told the journalist that the common issues that occur when several world leaders meet were: terrorism, trade with WTO, development, our G8 agenda and climate change. That would form the basis for the discussion.

Briefing took place at 16:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (0)

Gas supplies

Asked if there were any emergency plans for gas supplies, the PMOS said that on the one hand, we were being accused of holding secret meetings because there was about to be a fuel crisis, and on the other hand, we were accused of not doing enough. The PMOS said that somewhere in between lay the truth in the sense that there had been a lot of thought and effort put into this, and as a result of that, we were in a better position than ever before to anticipate and address any issues that arose.

Briefing took place at 16:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (0)

EUROMED Summit

Asked for further information regarding the EUROMED Summit in Barcelona, the PMOS told journalists that in terms of the Barcelona Summit, what was important was to first of all recognise the importance of the Summit. This was the first gathering of this collection of countries at Head of Government level, and it brought together thirty five EUROMED countries, including twenty five EU countries. It also included other countries around the Mediterranean such as Turkey, Israel, Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt, the Palestinian Authority, Jordan, Syrian, Lebanon, Bulgaria, Romania, Croatia, Libya and Mauritania.

Briefing took place at 16:00 | Read whole briefing | Comment (1)

» Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Northern Ireland

Asked if the Prime Minister was concerned at the message the "On the Runs" legislation might send to future home grown generations of terrorists, the Prime Minister's Official Spokesman (PMOS) said absolutely not. This applied only to those who committed offences before 1998, and it was prefigured by the agreement that was part of the Good Friday Agreement to release prisoners early. We recognised fully that it did not in any way take away from the pain of those who lost relatives to the IRA, but as we said at the time of the Good Friday Agreement, we believed the prisoner release scheme was the necessary part of getting the agreement, and the legislation for "On the Runs" that was agreed two years ago in a joint declaration, was necessary as a logical extension. The PMOS said we had to accept that it did not in any way take away the pain of those who had lost relatives, but we believed it was necessary as part of bringing the conflict to an end.

Briefing took place at 15:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (0)

Flu vaccinations

Asked what the Prime Minister would say if he was asked whether he had had a flu jab, the PMOS said that it was not actually relevant whether Ministers had or had not had flu jabs because we believed it was right that organisations should encourage staff to have the vaccination. However since it had been asserted in one newspaper this morning that the Prime Minister and his wife had had the jab he would like to make it clear that that was simply not true. Normally we did not comment on these matters but since it was asserted to the contrary we wanted to set the record straight. Asked if it was irresponsible for the Prime Minister not to have a flu jab, the PMOS said that it was funny but on the way over a colleague predicted that self same question. He was pleased that one journalist had the courage to do ask what the others had not.

Briefing took place at 15:00 | Read whole briefing | Comment (1)

Mirror

Asked why it was thought necessary threaten the use if the Official Secrets Act in last night's case, the PMOS said he was certainly not going to give a running commentary on legal proceedings.

Briefing took place at 15:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (3)

Energy Supply

Asked about concerns raised in the House of Commons with regards to the availability of energy for the coming winter, the Prime Minister's Official Spokesman (PMOS) said that the DTI would be releasing a detailed list of the meetings which had taken place on the issue.

Briefing took place at 15:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (0)

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