» Friday, September 8, 2006

Prime Minister

Asked whether the Prime Minister welcomed Charles Clarke’s article in the Evening Standard, the Prime Minister’s Official Spokesman (PMOS) said that he had absolutely on comment whatsoever to make. We were getting on with the business of government. Asked whether the Prime Minister was happy that members of his Cabinet were being described as they were, the PMOS repeated that he had no comment to make on Charles Clarke’s article. Charles Clarke was no longer a member of the Cabinet and as such it was a matter for Charles Clarke. Asked whether the Prime Minister would like everyone to talking to stop about the issue, the PMOS said that the Prime Minister had set out his position yesterday, which was that he thought the country wanted the government to get on with the business of governing. That was what he would be doing and that was what the country would see him doing in the coming days.

Asked whether the Prime Minister had spoken to the Chancellor since yesterday, the PMOS said, as he always did, that he did not brief on individual conversations between the Prime Minister and Cabinet colleagues. Asked when was the last time the Prime Minister had spoken to former Cabinet colleagues for example Charles Clarke, the PMOS said that he had even less reason to brief on conversations with former Cabinet colleagues. It was not his place in this instance to give any sort of running commentary. Asked what the Prime Minister thought of Alan Milburn, the PMOS said that the Prime Minister had expressed his views many times so they were already on the record. This morning we were focussed on getting on with government business.

Asked what the theme of the Prime Minister’s speech to Progress tomorrow would be, the PMOS said that the Prime Minister was still writing it so he would not be presumptuous about the detail, but it would probably be a forward looking domestic policy speech. Asked how far forward, the PMOS said that the Prime Minister had a strategic overview and no doubt that would be reflected. Asked by Sky if the Prime Minister would set out what he hoped to do before leaving, the PMOS said that he sensed a two way coming up and he did not see that as the way the Prime Minister would shape his speech. The Prime Minister would be anxious to get back to talking about proper policy issues.

Asked whether the Prime Minister welcomed the Chancellor’s article in The Sun, the PMOS said that the government was absolutely united in its approach to security and terrorism. Asked where the Prime Minister’s and Chancellor’s statements left the leadership issue, the PMOS said that the job now was to get back to the business of government and this was what the Prime Minister would be doing over the next few days. Asked about the meaning of Ruth Kelly’s phrase about moving beyond the past bitterness of the Blair/Brown generation, the PMOS said that he was focussing on the business of government not provide extra commentary, no doubt he could leave that to the capable hands of journalists.

Asked who would represent the government at the EU Asia Summit, the PMOS pointed out that we were no longer the EU presidency so the Prime Minister was not expected to attend. The Deputy Prime Minister would be attending.

Briefing took place at 8:00 | Search for related news

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