» Friday, September 15, 2006

Geoff Hoon

Asked if the Prime Minister had a view on Geoff Hoon's words earlier today about his departure date from No10, the Prime Minister's Official Spokesman (PMOS) said that the Prime Minister had said what he had said last week, and that was very clear. The Prime Minister had said at the time that that was all he was going to say, and that was all the PMOS was going to say as well. The Prime Minister was getting on with his job, both in the UK, as well as getting on with his job in the Middle East at the weekend. That was what the Prime Minister was focused on.

Briefing took place at 17:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (0)

Hospital cutbacks

Asked if the Prime Minister thought it was right for the Party Chair and other political advisers to be involved in discussions about hospital cutbacks, the PMOS replied that the Department of Health this morning had made it clear that there was nothing secret about this at all. Patricia Hewitt had made a point of meeting MPs from all parties to discuss local issues, including proposals for change. It was entirely appropriate, because we had said, and the Chief Executive had made it clear the other day, that re-configuration would be done with local consultations. Therefore, obviously, MPs were part of that process, as they needed to be kept informed about the issues that could affect their constituents. Hazel Blears, as Chair of the party was perfectly entitled to be kept informed of progress on decisions like this, just as she was in other matters too. Therefore, this was part of the normal consultation process.

Briefing took place at 17:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (0)


Asked whether, since the Prime Minister's recent statement regarding the situation in Darfur was strongly worded, had he spoken to the government in Sudan, the PMOS replied that the Prime Minister had been concerned about Sudan for quite some time. It was a recurring issue that he discussed with partners whenever he met them, and he had discussed it both with President Bush and Premier Wen of China in recent days. The Prime Minister did believe that Sudan did need to recognise the role of the UN and the African Union force, and the Prime Minister also believed that those who had not signed the peace agreement should do so. Therefore, there was a need to focus people's minds on this, because we were very concerned about the situation in Darfur, which was completely unacceptable and getting worse, and it shouldn't be. We all knew what needed to happen; we now needed to make sure that it did happen.

Briefing took place at 17:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (0)

Northern Ireland

Asked for further information regarding the Prime Minister's meeting with the Taoiseach this morning, the PMOS replied that they reviewed what was the calmest, most trouble-free summer since pre-1970. This was illustrated by the fact that on 12 July, it had been policed by normal police, rather than the army, in Belfast, so there had been no soldiers on the streets. We now looked forward to early October and the publication of the IMC report on paramilitary activity, but they had already indicated that they believed the IRA was living up to its commitments, but we should see what it said in detail later.

Briefing took place at 17:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (0)

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