» Monday, February 13, 2006

Prime Minister’s Plane

Asked what had happened to the Prime Minister's plane that had broken down last night in South Africa, and why could he not be back in Britain today, the Prime Minister's Official Spokesman (PMOS) told journalists that at about 11pm South African time, the Prime Minister's delegation were due to take off. The plane has started the run down the runway, but they had not gone very far when one of the pilots noticed that there was something wrong with Engine 3 (it was a 3 engine plane). They then shut down the engine, aborted the take off, went back to the Terminal, and as it was 11pm local time, there were no more planes available. They were not able to arrange an alternative to get the Prime Minister back in time for the ID Cards vote today, but he would travel back overnight tonight.

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

Prime Minister’s Plane

Asked when the Prime Minister would be coming back, the Prime Minister's Official Spokesman (PMOS) said he would be coming back overnight as flights tended to be then because of the time difference. Asked about what the Prime Minister had done today, the PMOS said the Prime Minster had been to Kliptown, where the ANC charter had been signed in 1955. He was the first world leader to have been invited to do so.

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

Foreign Secretary

Asked when the Foreign Secretary would return, the PMOS said hopefully he would not have travel problems like some others had experienced. He was expected back later this week.

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

Guantanamo Inquiry

Asked what the Prime Ministers thoughts were on the UN inquiry on Guantanamo, the PMOS said that our view had been clearly expressed by the Prime Minister on many occasions, including on the floor of the House. That position remained.

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

Chancellor’s Speech-Terrorism

Asked if it was fair to assume that the Treasury had co-ordinated the Chancellor's speech all with No10, and other departments, the PMOS said that it was perfectly natural that the Chancellor spoke up on these kinds of issues. The response to terrorism was not a matter that was limited to one department, but rather, was across Government. Equally, it was important that the public knew that the Government was united in implementing its manifesto commitments. That was what the Chancellor's speech was about.

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

Smoking Bill

Asked if the Prime Minster had a view, the PMOS said the Prime Minister had a view but whether he expressed that view tomorrow was a matter for the Prime Minister. It was a free vote and as such we did not brief on the Prime Minister's position. It was the Prime Minister's view that MPs should make up their own minds. Asked if the Prime Minister supported the manifesto, the PMOS said the Prime Minster supported the manifesto but this was a free vote.

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

Education Bill

Asked if the Bill was still due to published at the end of the month, or would it happen this week, the PMOS said the commitment was always to publish it before the end of the month, and debate it mid-March.
Asked if anything might happen during Recess, the PMOS said he thought that was unlikely.

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

Iran

Asked whether the Prime Minister would be calming America down about Iran and seeking more diplomacy, the PMOS said the Americans had stated their position. The White House spokesman had said explicitly, about a month ago, that Iran was not Iraq. The situations were different. People could look at the support America had given to the diplomatic efforts of the E3 (Britain, France and Germany). At the same time we were fully supportive of the view, not only of America but other world leaders such as Chancellor Merkel, that Iran had crossed a red line and failed its international obligations. Therefore the assumption in the question that America was in a different place from the rest of the world was undermined, not only by the views of others, but by the actions of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) which had passed by a very large majority that the matter be reported to the UN Security Council.

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

Iraq abuse

Asked for further information about the Prime Minister's trip to Berlin later in the week, the PMOS replied that the issues that people could expect to be covered in a meeting with Chancellor Merkel would be covered, such as the Middle East, Iran, Europe and the run up to the next Council as well.

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

Smoking Vote

Asked if the Prime Minister was planning to vote on the Smoking Bill tomorrow, the PMOS said that as it was a free vote, traditionally, he did not comment on it, as it was up to MPs to make up their own minds.

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

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