» Thursday, March 22, 2007

UK/EU Commissioner

The Leader was asked about the comments earlier of the UK Commissioner Peter Mandelson. He said he had read them, but he was not quite sure what had prompted it. All Commissioners served for five years. It was put to the Leader that some served for a second term, and suggested that Mr Mandelson was likely to get a peerage. Mr Straw said he knew absolutely nothing about the latter. He had never seen a piece of paper, he had never had any information about a piece of paper, never had a conversation or ear-wigged a conversation to that effect.

Briefing took place at 15:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (0)

Sudan and Zimbabwe

The Prime Minister's Official Spokesman (PMOS) said that the Prime Minister had written to Chancellor Merkel, in her role as President of the EU and copied it to other EU members. The PMOS went on to say that the gist of the letter was that enough was enough, President Bashir of Sudan, was clearly not complying with the agreement that had been reached earlier this year and therefore the Prime Minister believed that it was time for new, tough UN resolution which would mean targeted sanctions aimed at the top members of the Sudanese Government and those supporting them. The reason the Prime Minister believed this was because the hybrid force Sudan has been dragging its feet on, the violence is continuing. Clearly President Bashir is not complying with the accord.

Briefing took place at 9:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (0)


Asked as Czech deputy Prime Minister had raised concerns that the Declaration due to be published in Berlin this weekend, had been drawn up by the Germans in secret and that they had concerns about it and did the UK have similar concerns, the PMOS said no, we fully believed that there was a general discussion at the Brussels Summit recently about the broad principles underlying the Declaration and we believe that all processes had been followed.

Briefing took place at 9:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (0)

Lebanon and Israel

Asked how serious a schism there was considering what John Bolton had said on Radio 4 thing morning regarding the US allowing the Israelis to bomb Lebanon until Hizbollah had been removed but yet that was contradicted by a foreign Minister saying that that was not the US position, the PMOS said that the position on Lebanon was exactly as we expressed it at the time. What we had wanted was a cease fire on all sides but it had to be a cease fire on all sides. It had to also resulted in Hizbollah abiding by the will of the UN, which was not for a militarised zone. Asked if it was not the case that one side of this, the Americans, had played fast and loose with the special relationship, the PMOS said that he would not get involved in commentating on the comments of an ex-member of the US administration. What the PMOS would do was reiterate what was said at the time, that it only made sense to call for a cease fire on all sides, not one side, as that would not work.

Briefing took place at 9:00 | Read whole briefing | Comment (1)

Northern Ireland

Asked for an update on where things were with the 26th March deadline, the PMOS said yesterday's meeting with the DUP was important because no one now was under any illusion whatsoever that Monday was "it". That was the basis on which the election was called and that was the basis on which people voted and all the evidence showed that people fully understood that.

Briefing took place at 9:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (0)


Asked if the Prime Minister knew in advance that the Chancellor would be cutting income tax by 2 pence, the PMOS said that he did not give running commentaries on talks but said he would put it this way, the Prime Minister certainly knew before he sat down on the bench in the House of Commons. There was a full discussion at the Budget Cabinet yesterday morning and the Prime Minister and the Chancellor had their regular and frequent meetings before that.

Briefing took place at 9:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (0)


Asked what was discussed at Cabinet this morning, the PMOS said there was an update from Peter Hain on Northern Ireland, plus Alan Johnson set out his Green Paper and the reasons behind it. Asked if there was any discussion on the Budget, the PMOS said no, just congratulations for the Chancellor but nothing else.

Briefing took place at 9:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (0)

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