» Thursday, July 20, 2006

Middle East

Asked if we thought that the attacks on Hezbollah had backfired and did our opinions differ from those of the US on how much time Israel should be given, the Prime Minister's Official Spokesman replied that as he had said yesterday, he was not going to give a running commentary on what Israel did or did not do. Our task was to try and put together a process that would bring about peace, and not just a quick-fix unilateral peace, but rather, a sustainable one. That was the process that we started at the G8, and it was the process that would go further forward tonight and tomorrow at the UN. It was also the process that would go further forward again when Dr. Rice visits the region. The PMOS said that that was where we kept our eyes focussed on, rather than giving a commentary on what others did.

Briefing took place at 9:00 | Read whole briefing | Comment (1)

Street crime

Put that the Prime Minister had "banged on enough" about street crime, so what had gone wrong, the PMOS replied that street crime was still 19% below what it was in 2001/2003 before the street crime initiative started. In terms of what had gone wrong, there was an issue to do with the thefts of Ipods, mobiles etc, but in terms of the broader perspective, it was still 19% below. There were issues that had to be addressed, and the Metropolitan police were responding with a series of initiatives, included fixed uniform patrols during peak times, high visibility controls in hot-spot areas, plain clothes officer patrols and dedicated robbery response units. Therefore, there was a response going on. The PMOS said that if people looked at the overall crime figures, they were showing that total recorded crime was down 1%.

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

Police interview

Asked if No10 had been approached by the No10 police, the PMOS said that in terms of the Prime Minister, the answer was: no, there was no change in the situation.

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

Forthcoming Business

Giving details of the week before the recess, the Leader said that on Monday, July 24, John Hutton would lead for the Government on the second reading of the Welfare Reform Bill which, he said, would be treated as a "carry over" measure and continue through into the next parliamentary session. He pointed out that there was a one-year time limit for getting measures through under the "carry over" principle. On Tuesday, MPs would debate a motion on the retirement of the Clerk of the House, followed by Lords amendments to the Northern Ireland (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill (David Hanson). The final business would be a Motion for the summer recess adjournment.

Briefing took place at 6:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (0)

State Opening

The Leader said he had announced earlier today in a written ministerial statement that the Queen's Speech would take place on November 15.

Briefing took place at 6:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (0)

Recess questions

Mr Straw said he also announced today new arrangements for tabling of questions during the summer recess. This was in response to requests from all sides of the House. There would be a two-week period for tabling and answering of written questions in early September. The request had been made when September sittings of the House had been suspended. MPs individually could ask up to five written questions on three specific dates. There would also be written Ministerial statements as required. The Vote Office would publish the questions in printed form and he had also asked for them to make the information available on the Parliament website.

Briefing took place at 6:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (0)


He was asked about his comments during Business Questions relating to a vote by MPs on a replacement for the Trident nuclear deterrent and whether it would take place after the Government had made its decision. The Leader said that, in the normal way, Ministers propose and Parliament disposes. There would be a Cabinet decision at some stage. Mr Straw said he had indicated that there would be a statement about that, and the chances were that it would be in the form of a White Paper. No decision had been made, but there would be a properly-informed debate on a Government motion. He was asked whether, theoretically, it would not go ahead if the House of Commons objected. The Leader pointed out that the House, theoretically, could have objected on the four separate occasions when Iraq had been debated, but it had not done so. The Government had accepted that there should be a vote on the nuclear deterrent, and there would be.

Briefing took place at 6:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (0)

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