» Wednesday, March 29, 2006

John Prescott

Asked if the Prime Minister had told John Prescott his timetable, the PMOS referred journalists to the John Prescott's words at PMQs. Asked what those words meant, the PMOS said that was for them to work out. Asked if he was suggesting that the public should engage in a guessing game as to when the Prime Minister was leaving, the PMOS said that John Prescott, as always, spoke for himself.

Briefing took place at 9:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (4)

ID Cards Bill

Asked if the Government had a strategy to rescue the ID cards Bill from pinging back and forth between the Commons and the Lords, the PMOS said that the consistent majority of votes in the Commons for ID cards reflected public opinion which supported the principle of ID Cards and we believed that the Lords should take account of that. The votes in the Commons had ranged from 33 to 51 in favour.

Briefing took place at 9:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (2)


Asked what the objectives were for the visit to Indonesia, the PMOS said that in terms of police co-operation, that would be one of the issues discussed tomorrow. There had already been close co-operation as could only be expected after the bombings in Bali and elsewhere in Indonesia. We were normalising relations in terms of defence. For obvious reasons he couldn't go into the detail of those discussions. This visit was all about normalising relations with a democratic, muslim country which was looking very much towards mainstream Islamic thinking and working with other countries, including the UK, to take on and tackle the issue of Islamic extremism. That would be partially through political means, including creating a dialogue with Muslims in both countries, but also police and defence issues as well.

Briefing took place at 9:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (0)


Asked when the Prime Minister planned to meet newly elected Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, the PMOS said that the phone call between the Prime Minister and Mr Olmert had taken place literally just before Mr Olmert made his statement. Therefore it could not be described as a long and detailed conversation. The Prime Minister had congratulated both Mr Olmert and his party and said that this changed the shape of Israeli politics and was an extraordinary personal achievement for Mr Olmert. The Prime Minister had told Mr Olmert that he looked forward to meeting him soon to discuss plans to take the peace process forward. He urged all parties to pursue the positive engagement policy set out by the Quartet. It had been a very warm conversation.

Briefing took place at 9:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (0)


Asked for a reaction to the report on Deepcut, the PMOS said that we had had the review, which the MOD had made clear was a detailed and painstaking report. It did contain serious recommendations, which would be taken very seriously indeed to ensure the wellbeing and safety of all our personnel. We were committed to continuous improvement and we had no reason to believe that the MOD and the army were anything other than fully committed to taking forward those recommendations.

Briefing took place at 9:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (0)

» Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Climate Change

The Prime Minister Official Spokesman (PMOS) previewed the Prime Minister's speech on Climate change later. He said that in terms of climate change, the Prime Minister would address the climate change conference which was being held in Wellington and he would join it via videolink at 9.00 New Zealand time tomorrow morning, which was 10.00 tonight in London.

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

Other Business

Asked how long the Government was content to allow strikes by local government workers to take place before intervening, the PMOS said that this matter was being dealt with by the Deputy Prime Minister's Office. Negotiations regarding the benefits package were ongoing and we were committed to trying to resolve this dispute. It was a matter though for the relevant authorities.

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

» 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)

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