House of Lords Reform
Asked to confirm that the Prime Minister at PMQs today had said that he would be voting for a 50/50 proposal on the House of Lords reform, the Prime Minister's Official Spokesman (PMOS) replied that what the Prime Minister had said was that what he applauded and fully supported was Jack Straw's efforts to try and find the centre of gravity on this issue. However, the Prime Minister recognised that it was a free vote, and he would make his position clear sometime nearer the free vote. The PMOS said that it was unlikely that the Prime Minister would say today what precisely his position was. Rather, the Prime Minister thought that Jack Straw had done a very good job of finding out where a consensus might be.
Asked what happened at the Prime Minister's meeting with Shilpa Shetty earlier today, the PMOS replied that the meeting was requested by Shilpa Shetty. The serious aspect of the Big Brother issue was that firstly, it had called into question this country's attitude towards racism. The response to that from the country and from the Government was to underline that there was no room in the UK at all for any perception of racism whatsoever. Secondly, it called into question the relations between Britain and India, and the Government at the time used the opportunity to underline its commitment to that relationship. Shilpa Shetty had asked for the meeting to thank the Prime Minister for making both the points clear, and the Prime Minister was pleased to meet her.
EU Commission "Green" Criminal Laws
Asked if we had a response to the EU Commission's proposal to bring in "green" criminal laws, punishable by prison sentences, the PMOS said that it was the Commission that proposed and the Council that disposed. Therefore, these were simply proposals, and they would be considered like any other proposal.
Put that the Prime Minister was asked at the Liaison Committee this week about fresh talks with the Americans on climate change, the PMOS said that we were in touch with the Americans and lots of others about climate change.
House of Lords Reform
Asked of the Prime Minister had a favoured option from those put forward by the Leader of the House Jack Straw, the PMOS said the first thing was probably to let the Leader set out what the options are, but what the Prime Minister did believe was that the Leader had done a very good job at sounding out opinion and working out where the centre of gravity is, but it would be better for the Leader to set out the options.
Lord Goldsmith, Attorney General
Asked by Mr. Tim Shipman of the Daily Mail whether as "Goldsmith" was in front of a select committee this afternoon, did the prime Minister, in any way think that his (Goldsmiths) role needs to be reviewed, the PMOS replied by asking if by "Goldsmith" he was referring to the Attorney General, otherwise known as Lord Goldsmith. He added that he knew that the Daily Mail was into insulting anyone who happens to pass at the moment but suggested that the Attorney General perhaps deserved a bit of respect. Quentin Letts may think it was okay to insult anyone but a bit of respect could be no bad thing. The PMOS went on to answer, the Attorney General's role remains as constitutionally set out.
Ms Shilpa Shetty
Asked if Ms. Shilpa Shetty would be meeting the Prime Minister today, the PMOS said that he believed that she was in the vicinity and if the cameras and so on which the PMOS saw on the way over to the House seemed to suggest that that was the case, and it is not impossible that there may be a meeting but let's wait and see. Asked if she would be clawing her way past security, the PMOS said it wasn't so much security he noticed on the way over to the House. Asked then would the Prime Minister claw his way over to her, the PMOS said he doubted that would happen either, at least not if we could help it. The PMOS added that the Prime Minister had quite a lot on as it was.
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