» Friday, March 24, 2006

PM Radio Interview

Asked what exactly the Prime Minister had made a mistake over, the Prime Minister's Official Spokesman (PMOS) said, as he had made very clear last night when in Melbourne and anyone who had listened to the interview could hear for themselves too, the Prime Minister had been interrupted mid comment. Therefore any report that did not make that clear was quite simply inaccurate and not reflecting the true events. We had equally made it clear, and the Prime Minister was himself very clear in his own mind, that what he would have gone on to say would have been that he had hoped that by pre-announcing his intentions it would kill the speculation. This had not turned out not to be the case. The Prime Minister had not said that the pre-announcement was a mistake. He had not said the pre-announcement had backfired. He had simply said that his hope had been that it would kill the speculation but this had proven not to be the case.

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

Lords Reform

Asked whether the Prime Minister had been signalling a new desire to get on with Lord's reform and if he had been forced to change his view about electing the House because of the loans for peerages scandal, the PMOS said that the answer to that was no. If journalists looked at when Lord Falconer had started discussions with people, it had been before recent events. The commitment to Lords reform and to finding a consensus on Lords reform was in the government's manifesto. Lord Falconer was simply delivering on the government's manifesto. Put that Lord Falconer had only been looking at powers whereas now he was also addressing composition, the PMOS said that first and foremost if you were looking at even just the powers of the Lords that was Lords reform. Secondly, powers and composition had always gone together. The speed of any reforms would depend on how quickly a consensus could be reached.

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

Foreign Policy Speech

Asked to identify the new ideas that the Prime Minister had articulated, the PMOS said the new ideas centred on a global response and global ideas. In the past the Prime Minister had talked specifically about issues such as finding a peaceful solution in the Middle East being as important as a security response in the Middle East. He had talked about climate change and how you also had to have economic growth at the same time. He had talked about the need to have a successful WTO round. He had talked about the need to tackle poverty in Africa. Today's speech had brought together those themes into a reasoned argument for an open approach, as he would call it, rather than a closed approach. It had also been an argument against partial solutions and a call for a coherent comprehensive approach to those issues. He was making a sequence of three interdependent keynote speeches about the interdependence of the world. The first speech had set out the central challenge from Islamic fundamentalism and why we needed to recognise it for what it was. Today he had placed that challenge, which was still a challenge, in a broader context by saying and developing the thought that you had to have a globalisation of politics, as well as a globalisation of economics. The third speech would be about how we needed to reform global institutions to deliver on those global ideas and those global values.

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

Iraq Memo

Asked about a leaked memo of a meeting between President Bush and the Prime Minister reported in the New York Times that suggested among other things that they had agreed 10 March as the start date for war, the PMOS thought that this had not been the first time this story had surfaced and he simply referred the journalist to everything that had been said before. We did not comment on leaked memos as a general rule and we certainly did not comment on discussions involving the US President. In terms of all these matters he again referred journalists to the four inquiries, which had looked into these matters.

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


Asked whether the planning laws needed to be changed to save John Prescott from being dragged into rows about donor issues, the PMOS said that John Prescott had not been dragged into planning laws; even the Sunday Telegraph story, which had made claims about John Prescott, had not claimed that.

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

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