» Tuesday, January 9, 2007

Prime Minister

Asked why the Prime Minister was being so quiet recently; why did he let the Chancellor go on Sunday AM; why was he not doing the PLP; why was he so shy about commenting on Saddam Hussein’s execution, the PMOS replied that the Prime Minister had set out decades ago his position on the death penalty, as he opposed it. The Iraqi Government was a sovereign government, and it was, therefore, entitled to take its view of the death penalty, irrespective of the views of the British Prime Minister. That view was partly shared by the strong emotions that Saddam’s actions in the past had caused within Iraq. However, last week at lobby, we did say that we supported the position of the Iraqi Government in response to the execution and the way in which it was carried out, to carry out an inquiry because of what the Iraqi Government had said was its shame at what had taken place. Therefore, there had not been a slowness by No10 to give a view, as we had given a view last week.

Asked why the Prime Minister had pulled out of television interviews and was not going to the PLP, the PMOS replied that the Prime Minister did not want to distract from his message on Northern Ireland last Thursday, which was at a vital stage, as the next few weeks would decide the future on Northern Ireland. It was vital that we conveyed our message in a way that was not distracted by a message on Saddam; equally the health service was equally important on Friday.

Put by Sky again that the Prime Minister seemed to be "unusually quiet", the PMOS said that if people had been watching the events on Northern Ireland or the health service last week, they would not think that he had been unusually quiet. The Prime Minister had also written another article on Northern Ireland over the weekend, as the PMOS knew from his phone bill from yesterday!

Briefing took place at 15:00 | Search for related news

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