» Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Police Inquiry

Asked if there had been any contact with the police today, the Prime Minister’s Official Spokesman (PMOS) replied that there had not been any contact.

Asked if there was any reaction to the CPS statement earlier today that there would be no charge against Des Smith, the PMOS replied that there was no reaction to that or to Sir Gus O’Donnell’s comments.

Asked what bits of Sir Gus O’Donnell was he not reacting to, the PMOS replied that Sir Gus O’Donnell had underlined our response to ITN in saying that there was no second email system in No10 and that we had fully cooperated. He was sure that this would be fully reflected in the Lobby’s coverage.

Asked why the Cabinet Secretary was willing to say more about the inquiry than the PMOS had been, the PMOS replied that in both his role as Head of the Civil Service and Head of the Cabinet Office, Sir Gus O’Donnell did have a locus in the matter.

Asked to clarify the Cabinet Secretary’s role in the matter, and could they assume that he had a role in ensuring that Downing Street gave full co-operation, the PMOS replied that this was more a matter for the Cabinet Office to speak on.

Asked if the Prime Minister instructed Sir Gus O’Donnell to ensure that there was full cooperation, the PMOS replied that the Prime Minister had made it clear to everybody in Downing Street and the wider Government that there should be full cooperation.

Asked that when he referred to "full cooperation" with the police investigation, was he saying there had institutionally been full cooperation, or was he saying that he believed Ruth Turner and Jonathan Powell had given full cooperation, the PMOS replied that the Prime Minister’s view was that there should be full cooperation. We had no evidence to the contrary that there had been anything but that. Put to him that the police had already arrested one of the Prime Minister’s key aides for not cooperating, the PMOS replied by questioning who had said that the arrest had been as a result of not giving full cooperation. Put to him that it was a fact the police had arrested a key aide on suspicion of perverting the course of justice, this surely implied non-cooperation, did he therefore believe that Ruth Turner had given "full cooperation", the PMOS replied that we had never discussed individuals. Furthermore we had never got involved in the business of speculating in the press about individuals. The Prime Minister gave a clear view as to what should happen. As we had said before, there had been no complaints that there had been anything but full cooperation. Further questioned why he was saying there had been "full cooperation" when someone from No10 had been arrested for "not giving full cooperation", the PMOS replied that the premise the correspondent started from was an action of someone other than No10, therefore it was not for No10 to explain.

Asked how the police would let us know of any such complaint, the PMOS replied that making their views known did not seem to have been a problem in the past.

Briefing took place at 9:00 | Search for related news

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