» Wednesday, December 7, 2005

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.

Put to him that there must surely be a minister in place before the De-regulation bill was published in January, the PMOS pointed out that Jim Murphy remained at the Cabinet Office and he was very active in terms of de-regulation and so on. It was not as if the shop was not being minded. Asked by the Guardian if an indication of over-staffing lay behind that remark and that the promotion of Jim Murphy remained unlikely, the PMOS said that he would resist the temptation to comment on Jim Murphy’s career prospects other than to say that he was a very highly valued member of the Government. Made clear to him that the Guardian was not impugning the fine work of Jim Murphy, the PMOS said that he was sure he would be glad of the clarification. In response to this the PMOS was asked, jokingly, if the Prime minister still had full confidence in Jim Murphy, the PMOS said that the Prime Minister had so much confidence in him that he was letting him take the full burden of the Cabinet Office at this time.

Briefing took place at 7:00 | Search for related news

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