» Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Migration

Asked whether today's announcement had signalled a change of policy on migration, the Prime Minister Official Spokesman (PMOS) said the Government still believed migration was of net benefit to this country and to the economy in particular. That was why we believed that what we had done on the A8 accession was right. That view had been supported both by the CBI and the TUC. Therefore, we had to absorb the lessons of that accession and why we had gone for transitional arrangements this time. We still believed in the benefits of migration, but we were taking the practical steps on how to manage the transition.

Briefing took place at 16:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (0)

Cash for Peerages

Asked if anyone in Downing Street had been questioned by police about cash for peerages, the Prime Minister's Official Spokesman (PMOS) replied that nothing had changed.

Briefing took place at 16:00 | Read whole briefing | Comment (1)

Deputy Prime Minister

Asked what was the point of the John Prescott's trip to the Far East, the PMOS said it was important that the Government held a high level meeting with the Prime Minister designate of Japan. It was equally important that we met other significant figures in Japan. It was also important that we met the Foreign Minister in South Korea, and the UN Secretary General designate, Ban Ki Moon. All this was even before he had even gotten to Malaysia. Asked whether John Prescott was the best person to be on this trip given the volatility of the region and North Korea, the PMOS said he would answer that suggestion in a serious way. John Prescott had represented the Government with distinction abroad on many occasions not least during Kyoto discussions. He remained in close contact with the Prime Minister whilst he was away.

Briefing took place at 16:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (0)

Nuclear Energy

Asked if the statement on nuclear energy would include a decision, the PMOS said that it would, but he would wait for the statement, rather than previewing it.

Briefing took place at 16:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (0)

Lord Falconer

Asked why had Lord Falconer had chaired been given a grace and favour property, the PMOS said that for Lord Falconer's arrangements journalists should talk to the Department of Constitutional Affairs (DCA). Put repeatedly that it was the Prime Minister's gift, the PMOS said there were more important items at the top of our agenda rather talking about properties. In terms of Lord Falconer carrying out his functions then this was judged to be necessary. Journalists should talk to DCA.

Briefing took place at 16:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (0)

Romania and Bulgaria

Put that the Youth Justice System was now in "crisis", and was the Prime Minister still confident in John Reid, the PMOS said that he thought it was almost a record in terms of asking that question, but yes, the Prime Minister did still have confidence in John Reid. In terms of Youth Justice, the PMOS said that it needed to be put in perspective. Custody was a last resort for under 18s, and of the 190,000 young people dealt with by the police in court each year, only 4% received a custodial sentence.

Briefing took place at 16:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (0)

Iraq

Put that if the Government strategy on Iraq was correct, why did the majority of British people think that we should withdraw by the end of the year, the PMOS replied that he was not going to act as a commentator on opinion polls. What we recognised was that if the news was dominated each night by pictures of suicide bombers etc, then it would have an impact on public opinion. Equally, when a goal was being pursued of a democracy in Iraq, people had to recognise that when it was being attacked by terrorism, it was going to call for patience. What people needed to think through was what the consequences of a premature departure would be. The consequences would be that the first democratically elected Government of Iraq would collapse and that the terrorists would win. That was not in the interests of the people of Iraq who turned out in such numbers to vote for that Government, nor was it in the interests of the international community, nor this country.

Briefing took place at 16:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (0)

Iraq

Asked whether the Prime Minister was prepared to have a debate about the withdrawal of troops, the PMOS said the Prime Minister debated the issue of Iraq any time he was asked to. The Prime Minister had debated the issue of Iraq on a constant basis. He continued to do so. He continued to do so on the floor of the House of Commons. He continued to do so when asked at his monthly press conferences. He continued to do so when asked about it by anybody. He was not afraid to put the case forward. Indeed the Government stood in a very clear position at the Election. The Prime Minister had made it clear then that he wanted to finish the job, and the Government would finish the job.

Briefing took place at 16:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (0)

Prince of Wales

Asked whether the Prime Minister had any concerns over the Prince of Wales's finances, the PMOS said the journalist was trying to tempt him into two no go areas as far as he was concerned. One was talking about the Royal Family and the other was talking about the Her Majesty's Treasury (HMT). He would do neither.

Briefing took place at 16:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (2)

Police Inquiry

Asked if there had been any contact from the Scotland Yard, the PMOS said no. Put that in the past the PMOS had said he would let journalists know if Jonathan Powell had been contacted, the PMOS said he had not said that. However, it was a very good attempt to try get him to change his ground. Jonathan Powell was a Special Adviser therefore he was a temporary Civil Servant. The PMOS said he did not talk about Civil Servants. Neither did he recognise the account put forward in today's Evening Standard. In answer to further questions, the PMOS said he would not give a running commentary on the situation.

Briefing took place at 16:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (0)

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