» Wednesday, March 8, 2006

Tessa Jowell

Asked whether Sir Gus O'Donnell was establishing facts on the questions about the pub company asked in Nigel Evans' letter, the Prime Minister's Official Spokesman (PMOS) said, as they all knew, that Tessa Jowell had set out the position earlier in the week. He had no doubt that Sir Gus O'Donnell would want to reply to Nigel Evans, but how he did so was entirely a matter for him. The PMOS added that he was aware that Nigel Evans had written to Sir Philip Mawer, who had in turn contacted Tessa Jowell. Tessa Jowell had, through out, sought to be scrupulous in ensuring that everything she did was in keeping with the ministerial code and the views of the standards commissioner. As such she would reply to him and no doubt he would make his view known.

Briefing took place at 8:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (0)

Northern Ireland

Asked where we were in terms of developments in Northern Ireland, the Prime Minister's Official Spokesman (PMOS) said that today's meeting would be essentially a stock-taking exercise by the two Prime Ministers. The Prime Minister and the Taoiseach were increasingly clear about how we could move forward and today was a chance to co-ordinate their approach. In the midst of all the speculation, the key thing today was that the two Prime Ministers agreed the right approach. He suspected there would be a bit more work to be done by officials after that, but that was where we were.

Briefing took place at 8:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (0)

Northern Ireland

Asked if there were any words from the meeting with the Taoiseach, the PMOS said that this was primarily a stocktaking exercise. The two Prime Ministers were clearer in their view of where we were going, but there was now further work to be done by officials. To sound a general warning at this stage, the PMOS said that it was a statement of where talks were that the nearer you got to putting together some proposals the less you could say about them. We would be in this position for a little while.

Briefing took place at 8:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (0)

House of Lords Appointments Commission

Asked about the decision by the House of Lords appointments commission to block the list of new peers, the PMOS said that, as was only right and proper, there was a process involved in the appointments commission and we didn't provide a running commentary on that process. What we would do is announce the outcome of those discussions in the normal way.

Briefing took place at 8:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (0)

Iran

Asked about Iran, the PMOS said that the E3 had issued a statement. The next step was the UN Security Council and as we had said all along we believed that this should be taken step by step. What Iran could not ignore was the size of the majority in favour of taking this issue to the next step. It was important that Iran understood that message. Iran tried to say the message was only coming from one country but it was not. It was coming from the world as a whole.

Briefing took place at 8:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (0)

British Beef

Asked for a reaction to the EU's decision to lift its ban on British Beef, the PMOS said that clearly we welcomed it. We believed it recognised the fast progress that had been made in terms of ensuring safety within the British beef industry and we believed it was a significant milestone which would be very good news for the beef industry.

Briefing took place at 8:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (0)

Tessa Jowell

Asked for a response to recent revelations about Tessa Jowell, the PMOS said that he was not sure that there had been any "revelations" about Tessa Jowell since he dealt with the issue yesterday. He had nothing to add to what he said yesterday. The main thing was to point people to Tessa Jowell's statement on Monday.

Briefing took place at 8:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (0)

NHS

Asked who the Prime Minister thought was responsible for NHS finances the chief executive or ministers, the PMOS said that he had set out the position in regard to Sir Nigel Crisp yesterday and he did not retract a single word of that. In terms of the deficits, they quite simply were the result of greater transparency that had been introduced into the system. We could now see where the money was being spent and where there were surpluses and deficits.

Briefing took place at 8:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (0)

Peerages

Asked if the Prime Minister was still backing Chi Patel for a peerage, the PMOS said, as he had this morning, that he was not going to comment on questions about the peerage nominations process. Asked whether the leak had come from Downing Street, the PMOS asked whether there could be one good reason why it might be in Downing Street's interests to leak such things? We had been absolutely scrupulous, so far as he was concerned, in not in any way commenting on this process and he was not going to now.

Briefing took place at 8:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (0)

Education Bill

Asked how many MPs the Prime Minister had spoken to this week, the PMOS said that the he did not give details about individual meetings by the Prime Minister. Asked if he had spoken to any backbench MPs, the PMOS said the Prime Minister saw those people he needed to see. Asked if the Prime Minister had full confidence in his Chief Whip, the PMOS said yes. The Chief Whip had done a very good job, as evidenced by the last vote which the Government had won comfortably.

Briefing took place at 8:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (0)

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