Prime Minister’s Sport Relief Run
Sports Relief Mile
Asked how quickly the Prime Minister completed the Sports Relief Mile today, the Prime Minister's Official Spokesman (PMOS) said that he hadn't thought it polite to ask. Asked how the Prime Minister had felt after his run, the PMOS said that he had been glad to finish. Asked if the Prime Minister had consulted his cardiologist before participating, the PMOS said that, as he had said this morning, the Prime Minister took regular exercise. Questioned further the PMOS said that he never commented on the Prime Minister's private medical matters. Asked if the Prime Minister would do a run with the Lobby for Comic Relief, the PMOS said in that case he thought it wouldn't be the Prime Minister who would require a cardiologist.
Put to him that the Afghanistan President had said today that there weren't enough troops in Afghanistan and asked if the Prime Minister agreed, the PMOS said that he hadn't seen the Afghanistan President's comments but troop numbers were decided by operational commanders on the ground, they had the resources necessary for the task. They were in a far better position to make those decisions than we were. We should be clear that the very sad deaths today were down to those who attacked British troops and nothing less. We shouldn't make it any more complicated then it was. Obviously our thoughts were with the friends and families of those who had lost their lives. Put to him that there had been criticism that British troops were not as well protected as they might be due with the type of vehicles used, the PMOS said again that that was down to the operational judgement on the ground. That was not something he was going to second guess.
Charles Clarke-Home Office
Asked if the Prime Minister was disappointed that Charles Clarke had felt that he had to do a set of calculated interviews, the PMOS replied that Charles Clarke had not hidden his disappointment on the day that he left Cabinet. Therefore, it was not surprising that he had expressed that disappointment in the way that he had. However, it was sometimes the duty of Prime Ministers to decide when a department was in trouble, as was reported at length at the time, but it was also sometimes the job of the Prime Minister to decide when a department needed new leadership. The Prime Minister had decided that that was right at the Home Office. The Prime Minister also, however, recognised fully at the time the contribution that Mr. Clarke and the other Home Secretaries in this Government had made to the Home Office, which was why he had offered Mr. Clarke another job in Cabinet, which Mr. Clarke decided for his own reasons not to take.
Asked why the Prime Minister had chosen to comment on Charles Clarke's comments this morning in response to a question of whether this was his "Geoffrey Howe moment" and thus keep the story going, the PMOS said that journalists well knew how the story would have been written had he chosen not to answer the question. As he said this morning, Charles Clarke had made his disappointment at being moved clear on the day. Therefore it shouldn't come as a surprise that he would continue to feel that way or express those feelings. Equally the Prime Minister had made clear his high regard for Charles Clarke by offering him an alternative Cabinet post which Charles Clarke had turned down. That had been his choice.
Asked if the Prime Minister had any sympathy for Clare Curtis-Thomas' view on lads mags, the PMOS said that that would be left to the individual concerned.
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