» Thursday, March 29, 2007

Home Office

Asked why the Home Secretary was effectively forced to make an oral statement, the Prime Minister’s Official Spokesman (PMOS) replied that there was no precedent, and we had not given an oral statement in the past for changes to DEFRA for example. The Home Secretary was perfectly content to go to the House and answer questions, and we had been planning a Written Ministerial Statement from the Prime Minister on this all along. There was no great drama about this.

Asked if the Chancellor signed off the decision, the PMOS replied that this was a matter that had been discussed with all Cabinet colleagues. Asked if the Chancellor attended Cabinet today, the PMOS replied that this matter was not discussed at Cabinet this morning, it had been discussed previously with Cabinet colleagues.

Asked the significance of May 8th, the PMOS replied that firstly it was May 9th, and secondly this was the time it would take to put these changes into effect.

Put that in the past when discussing problems in the Home Office such as prisons, people in the Government had said that the last thing they wanted to do was split the Home Office up, the PMOS replied that he did not want to pre-empt what John Reid would say in the House, but the key thing about these changes was that it allowed us to focus the efforts of the Home Office on countering terrorism in all aspects. It also allowed us to focus the new Ministry of Justice in terms of dealing with people once they entered the court system, right through to the end of any sentence handed out. Therefore it allowed us to streamline our counter terrorism effort at the same time as streamlining the justice system. This was a response to the nature of the terrorist threat, and also a response to our desire to make the justice system more effective and more efficient. Policy did evolve over time.

Asked if there would be any changes of personnel in this shake up and would Lord Falconer be Head of the Ministry of Justice, the PMOS replied that Lord Falconer would be Head of the new Ministry of Justice. It may mean there would be some changes at a non-Cabinet level, but these would be announced on May 9th.

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

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