» Monday, November 27, 2006

Russia

Asked if Peter Hain was speaking for the Government when he made his comments over the weekend, and was the Government going to make a statement, the Prime Minister's Official Spokesman (PMOS) said that in terms of Peter Hain, the Prime Minister and other Ministers had repeatedly underlined our concern about some aspects of human rights life in Russia. In terms of this particular case, however, we did have to proceed carefully, as there was a police investigation ongoing, and we did have to wait for its outcome. Therefore, it was premature to be drawing any conclusions at this stage.

Briefing took place at 7:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (0)

Newspaper Society

Asked if there was a text of what the Prime Minister had said to the Newspaper Society today, the PMOS said there wasn't a text as the Prime Minister had spoken without notes.

Briefing took place at 7:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (0)

Litvinenko

Asked what the Prime Minister's concerns were for public safety following the death of Alexander Litvinenko and following what the Home Secretary had said about a possible new threat of radiation terrorism, the PMOS said that first and foremost that the Health Protection Agency (HPA) and others have been absolutely right to act in a precautionary way but also to say that the risk to the public is low. Secondly we have to proceed on a factual basis and that is why we have to be careful about not jumping to conclusions, we will tell the public what we think the public needs to know, but meanwhile there is also on the other side a police investigation going on and that has to proceed in the right way. It is a balance between on the one hand being transparent with the public as we have been, and secondly recognising that there is also a police investigation going on.

Briefing took place at 7:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (0)

CBI Speech

Asked for further information about the Prime Minister's speech to the CBI Annual Conference later this morning, the PMOS said that the Prime Minister would use his remarks to set out how the Government was embarking on a radical programme of regulatory reform. All departments would be required to set out simplification plans by the end of the year to reduce by 25% the red tape they currently oversee through form filling, inspections and record keeping. The PMOS gave some examples: simplifying the sources for advice and information on employment law, the same on the content of health and safety advice, and reducing the number of forms needed in the planning system.

Briefing took place at 7:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (0)

NATO visit

Asked what the Prime Minister would be seeking in Riga, the PMOS replied that if people looked back at what the Prime Minister had said in PMQs last week in answer to the Leader of the Opposition, the Prime Minister had expressed having been to Afghanistan last week his determination that we did everything we could to support the Afghan Government, not just because it was important for Afghanistan, but also because it was important for the wider conflict against extremism and terrorism. Everybody knew that there were certain requirements that we had to meet if we were to do that, and as the Prime Minister had said at PMQs, part of that was seeing whether other nations would change some of the caveats around how they used their troops. That was part of what we would be trying to explore in Riga. These were matters first and foremost for NATO, but what the Prime Minister would be setting out, based partly on his personal experience in Afghanistan, was that nobody should underestimate how important and crucial this was for NATO. The PMOS said that it was a significant moment for NATO.

Briefing took place at 7:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (0)

Peter Hain

Asked what the latest view was on Peter Hain's comments regarding, 'murky murders' and 'tricky relations', the PMOS said what Peter Hain was reflecting was what we had expressed on many occasions are our concerns about the situation in Russia. We voice those concerns on a regular basis but at this stage you have to divorce that general comment from the particular incident involved where we have to proceed on a purely factual basis.

Briefing took place at 7:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (0)

Police Inquiry

No.

Briefing took place at 7:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (0)

Police Investigation

No.

Briefing took place at 7:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (0)

Northern Ireland

Asked if the Prime Minister would be meeting the Taoiseach today, the PMOS said that he was not aware of any plans to do so. As people would expect, we had been in close contact with the Irish Government following events on Friday, and therefore, the PMOS said that he did not think a meeting was necessary.

Briefing took place at 7:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (0)

Devolved Parliament

Asked what the Prime Minister thought of the idea for a devolved parliament for England, the PMOS said that the comments running on the wires from the Newspaper Society event today would cover what the Prime Minister had said including why he values the Union, and he believes that the Union as a whole operates better together as a unit; his argument was that the momentum of history is towards better co-operation and in terms of Regional Assemblies, we have set out our position on that. Asked if the Government believed that there should be an English Parliament, the PMOS said no.

Briefing took place at 7:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (0)

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