The Prime Minister's Official Spokesman (PMOS) began with a quote from the Prime Minister about the Oscar nominations. Put to him that it was understood by the lobby that the PMOS did not give film reviews, the PMOS ignored them and said, "The fact that British actors, actresses, directors and films figure so strongly in the Oscar nominations is fantastic news. It is a real tribute to the increasing strength of the British film industry and to the incredible talents of all who work in it." Asked if the Prime Minister had actually seen any of the nominated films, the PMOS said the Prime Minister was talking about the fact that actors, actresses, directors and films which have been recognised, but the Prime Minister had not seen 'The Queen'. Asked if it was a bit "un-PC" to use the term actresses, the PMOS said that as there was an award for the best actress so reporters may wish to challenge the Oscar organisers, not the PMOS.
Asked if the Prime Minister felt, as Labour back benchers had suggested, that he was being blackmailed by the Catholic church over the issue of adoption, the PMOS said he did not wish to get drawn into commenting on what people have said. The factual situation is, as stated yesterday and this morning, that there are clearly sensitivities on both sides and what the Prime Minister wants to try and do is find a way through. The Archbishop points out sensitivities from the point of view of the Catholic church, others point out the sensitivities from the point of view of gay rights, what we want to do is find a way through which also however, looks after the interests of the children involved, because that should be key to this. There are discussions going on within Government, it is not straightforward, it is not black and white, but discussions are trying to find the best way is to resolve the dilemma, the Prime Minister is actively engaged in that process.
Asked if it was correct that the Prime Minister was speaking at the CBI tomorrow, the PMOS confirmed the Prime Minister was and there would be a short 'speechette' followed by a question and answer session.
Asked if, the unusual solution to childhood obesity given by Panjit Dander, a Minister at the Department for Education and Skills, that children should be made to sit down and eat lunch, and to do so plasma screens should be in school dining rooms showing MTV, did the Prime Minister agree that this would actually encourage obesity, the PMOS said he had not seen the comments and therefore he could not comment.
The Prime Minister's Official Spokesman (PMOS) reported that the ODA sustainability report showed how the 2012 Games could set new standards for sustainability. Measures included a low waste and low carbon transport system, a 50% reduction in CO2 emissions, at least 20% of materials used in permanent venues being recycled, and a reduction of waste with 90% of materials removed from the site after the Games being recycled. There would also be an emphasis on sustainability in a different sense in that the aim was to leave a legacy, not just for 2012, but for years afterwards. The legacy would include the largest urban park in Europe for 150 years; 3,850 new homes created from the athletes' village, part of the 9,000 new homes in the Olympic park after the games, many for key workers; and 5 new sports facilities in the park.
Asked if the Prime Minister was sympathetic to the concerns of Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor, the PMOS replied that as he had said yesterday, this was an issue with sensitivities on all sides and the Prime Minister recognised that. This was why it was worth having discussions in Government before coming to a decision. The key point to remember in all of this was the interests of the children concerned. Discussions would be held within Government and then an announcement would be made on the way forward.
Asked for an update on the Home Office reorganisation plan in light of concerns raised by Margaret Beckett and Ruth Kelly, the PMOS replied that the question was almost Gibbonesque in its quality of building in assumptions that the journalist hoped he would agree with. As he had said yesterday, John Reid had put forward a serious suggestion based on the new terrorist threat that we faced. However this was a matter that needed to be discussed, as there were implications across Government. Serious consideration needed to be given to the matter and discussions had to be had.
Asked if there would be an announcement this week on troop rotation in Afghanistan, the PMOS replied that he was not expecting anything at this stage.
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