Asked if the Prime Minister had lobbied President Bush on locating a military base in the UK, the Prime Minister's Spokesman (PMS) said she could confirm that discussions with the US had taken place at varying levels but she would not get into specifics of those. The discussions on additional support for the missile defence system were at an early stage and no decisions have been taken as to whether any element of that system would be based in the UK or as to where. Asked if the Prime Minister had personally been involved in discussions, the PMS said contact had been at varying levels but she would not get into the specifics of who had spoken to who and when.
Asked when the Prime Minister announced that troops were coming back from Iraq did the Prime Minister know that more troops were to be sent to Afghanistan, the PMS said as always troop numbers are kept under constant review, but these matters would be for the Defence Secretary to announce. Asked if there was a linkage between a withdrawal from one area and the increase in another, the PMS said if she were to answer that question that would be undermining what she had just said about it being for the Defence Secretary to comment on. Asked if the Defence Secretary was making a statement to the House on Monday, the PMS said that any announcement would be for the Defence Secretary, as would the timing of any statement. Put to the PMS that reporters can be told about announcements in advance, the PMS said that it was a matter for Parliament and the Defence Secretary and it was appropriate that they make any announcement.
Serious Fraud Office (SFO)
Asked if the Prime Minister still had faith in the SFO, the PMS said that both the Attorney General's office and the Department for Constitutional Affairs had rejected that day's newspaper report and had said that what was being said was without truth or foundation. There is currently a review underway, but the purpose of the review, which has been commissioned jointly by Robert Wardle and the Attorney General, is to strengthen, not to disband the SFO.
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