» Wednesday, December 7, 2005

Extraordinary Rendition

Asked what exactly the Prime Minister had meant when he had replied that "I don't know what you are referring to," when asked by Charles Kennedy, at PMQs today, about CIA flights through the UK, the Prime Minister's Official Spokesman (PMOS) said that Charles Kennedy had made an assertion which the Prime Minister didn't recognise. If journalists had looked back over what we had said all week we had made it clear that we did not believe that we were involved in this story. That had been our position all along and the Prime Minister was simply repeating that position.

Briefing took place at 7:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (3)


Asked about the Prime Minister's approach to Prime Minister's Questions (PMQs) today following David Cameron's comments about not wanting a Punch and Judy show, the Prime Minister's Official Spokesman (PMOS) said that the Prime Minister had prepared for PMQs in his normal way. There was no different approach today. Asked then if he agreed with David Cameron's desire to get away from Punch and Judy, the PMOS said he would always like to use such occasions to inform the public and Parliament. He responded to the questions that he was asked.

Briefing took place at 7:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (0)


Asked how many marks out of ten the Prime Minister would give David Cameron on his performance at PMQs today, the PMOS said that he would resist that kind invitation to comment on party political matters. Today had been a normal day. The Prime Minister had used the opportunity to set out his position on education and climate change and that position should not have come as a surprise to anyone.

Briefing took place at 7:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (0)

East-West Dinner

Asked whether the Prime Minister would be speaking or taking questions at the dinner, the PMOS said that the East-West Institute was handling the arrangements. For guidance the Prime Minister would be given an award, "Statesman of the Decade" and he would respond, but it would not be a formal speech. Asked if there were any plans to meet the Kosovan Prime Minister or Serbian President, the PMOS said there were no specific plans and we would have to wait and see whether they met informally at the dinner.

Briefing took place at 7:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (0)

European Union

Asked how narrow our room for manoeuvre was on the EU budget, the PMOS said that we were in a process of discussion with our European colleagues. We had put forward a proposal and they would put forward their viewpoints on that and we would respond. That was the normal process. In the meantime however we would have to wait and see.

Briefing took place at 7:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (0)

EU Future Financing

Asked if the Prime Minister still thought a deal was possible given President Chirac's comments, the PMOS said, as he had yesterday, that we were in a period where we had tabled proposals. Inevitably there would be discussions and as was normal people would express their reservations because, as was normal in a Europe of 25 everybody could see how a position might be improved from their particular perspective. When we got to the 15 December people would have to choose between the reality of the possibility of getting a deal, which we believed was there, or holding out for their own ideal position. That was a choice people would have to make.

Briefing took place at 7:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (0)

Duchy of Lancaster

Asked if the Prime minister still planned to appoint a new Duchy of Lancaster, the PMOS referred journalists to the answer he had given several times last week. The last few weeks had been extraordinarily busy and that remained the case. Put to him by the Guardian that that seemed slightly odd, the PMOS pointed out that in the past the Guardian amongst others had criticised the Prime Minister for rushing his ministerial appointments. He accepted that nobody could accuse the Prime Minister of doing that in this case, but equally the Prime Minister would do it when he thought it was right time.

Briefing took place at 7:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (0)

Norman Kember

Asked if the Prime Minister was being kept informed of the Norman Kember situation as the deadline was tomorrow, the PMOS said that all along he had refused to comment publicly for very good reasons, as they could understand. He was going to keep to that and not comment on this matter. Needless to say we were following the issue very closely, but it was best that inquiries were directed to the Foreign Office who were heading this up in this instance.

Briefing took place at 7:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (2)

Victim Compensation

Asked if the Prime Minister regretted that these reforms would not bring any extra benefits to benefits of the bombings in July, the PMOS said that in terms of the victims of 7/7 we accepted that the experience up until now had fed into this consultation document. It was reassuring to know that they would be receiving compensation from the Mayor's fund to which the Government had contributed a large amount of money. It was only fair to point that out. He did not however want to get into any comparisons involving the amount of money going to individuals arising out of one atrocity compared to another and so forth.

Briefing took place at 7:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (0)

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