» Friday, May 19, 2006

Deputy Prime Minister

Asked what the Deputy Prime Minister would be doing in Helsinki, the Prime Minister's Official Spokesman (PMOS) said it was all part of the run up to the Finnish EU presidency in June. Asked whether the Deputy Prime Minister was now in charge of EU policy, the PMOS said no but as the Prime Minister had made clear in his appointment letter the Deputy Prime Minister, the had always had a role in representing him abroad. That continued to be the case. He had always played a very valuable role, particularly in the run up to enlargement and during our EU presidency in representing the country in Europe. Asked if journalists could expect to see the Deputy Prime Minister doing more abroad now, the PMOS said that the Deputy Prime Minister chaired and deputy chaired a range of cabinet committees, which was very time consuming. He had always had a role representing the Prime Minister and the government abroad.

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

Home Office Cleaners

Asked by Channel 4 how many government contracts Techclean had to clean government buildings, the PMOS said that departments had their own individual contracts. What was more important, which if Channel 4 had given advance notice we could have pointed this out yesterday, was that the system worked. They were caught. Asked when the checks were carried out, the PMOS said the Home Office operated their checks system and it worked. Across government it worked, which we could have pointed out if given more notice. Asked if there were any other incidents where illegal immigrants were employed, the PMOS said that it was a matter for departments to operate their policies, which they did. Asked how many employers had been prosecuted under the immigration act, the PMOS suggested they check with the Home Office.

Briefing took place at 9:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments Off on Home Office Cleaners


Asked if Downing Street had a view or any optimism about the formation of the next Iraqi government, the PMOS said that he would not get into a running commentary about the formation process. Clearly, however, the formation of a national unity government in Iraq was a very important moment. This was because it would mean that the wishes of 12,191,000 voters in Iraq would have been put into place. It was a government, which would be representative of the country as a whole and of the ethnic groupings in the country as a whole. As Des Browne had said when he was in Basra the other day, you only had to think of the difficulty that we had witnessed in Northern Ireland getting a government representative of the community to see what an achievement this would be. It was even more of an achievement because it had been done against the background of a terrorist campaign, which had been specifically designed to stop such a government taking shape. If and when it happened it would be a significant achievement.

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


Asked when journalists could expect the pensions white paper, the PMOS said that he would be able to guide them better on Monday, but he thought it would be the back end of the week.

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

Education Bill

Asked if the bill was coming back unchanged, the PMOS said that the Department for Education and Skills had announced the committee stage amendments.

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

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