» Monday, April 16, 2007

EU Treaty

Asked if the commitment to the referendum still stood, or was it a "entirely new matter", the Prime Minister's Official Spokesman (PMOS) told journalists that this treaty would be a different kind of animal if the rest of the 27 agreed. The PMOS explained that this would be an amending treaty, like we had seen in the past. Therefore, those rules would apply. The important thing was the context you started from, i.e., instead of beginning from the starting point of constitutional theory, where we should start from was what was practically needed to make a Europe of 27 work. A Europe of 27 could not operate by the same rules as a Europe of 6, 12, or 15, and anyone who had attended a European Council meeting recently knew it just did not work in the same way it should, Therefore, the way in which the EU operated had to practically change, so that was the starting point, and that was the starting point of the Dutch. What we were saying to the rest of Europe was that we had to recognise that just as we did on the morning after the French and Dutch referendums, there was a reason why the voters spoke, and we had address those reasons.

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

Police Inquiry

No. Asked if we had any idea how long "this" was going to go on for, the PMOS said that it was a matter for the police and the CPS.

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

Hilary Benn

Put that Hilary Benn had talked about "soft force" in his recent speech, which appeared to be the opposite of the Prime Minister's speech a couple of months ago where he had spoken about "hard force", the PMOS replied that if people read the Prime Minister's speech in Los Angeles, it said that where necessary, people had to be prepared to use military force to protect democratic governments, as in Iraq and Afghanistan, against terrorism. At the same time, they had to recognise that politics had to be used to win the battle of ideas, and that had been a key theme in the Prime Minister's speech for quite some time.

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

Prime Minister

Asked if people could expect some kind of grand farewell tour, the PMOS said that we would take each day as it came, and the Prime Minister had plenty in the in-tray and plenty on the agenda.

Briefing took place at 15:00 | Read whole briefing | Comment (1)

Defence Secretary

Asked if the Prime Minister thought the Defence Secretary had the full support of the Armed Forces, the Prime Minister's Official Spokesman (PMOS) said yes and that the Prime Minister believes that the Defence Secretary has set out the situation honest and frankly.  What was important was that people take a step back and recognise, as the Prime Minister said yesterday, that the crucial point is that our fifteen personnel were released, and they were released without a deal. 

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

Phrase: "War on Terror"

Asked if the Prime Minister had used the phrase "war on terror" since 2006, the PMOS said he did not carry an instant word search facility in his brain and therefore he could not really give the reporter an answer except to say that the Prime Minister had always made it clear that we believe that in fighting terrorism you should both use military means where necessary, but also political means as well.  That was a  constant theme running through the Prime Minister's every utterance on this subject.  In terms of particular phrases people use whatever phrases they use. 

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

Troop Withdrawl

Asked if the timetable for the withdrawal of troops in Iraq was slipping, the PMOS said that the timetable was as announced by the Prime Minister in the debate subject to the conditions on the ground and he was not aware of any changes.  Asked if it was right to think that this process should start next month looking at what the Foreign Secretary had said on the radio last night about the timetable slipping and the protests in Basra this morning, the PMOS said it did all depend on the conditions on the ground, but he was not aware of anything that substantially changed that.

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

Alan Johnstone, BBC Gaza Reporter

Asked if there was any comment on the reports that the reporter kidnapped in the Middle East was dead, the PMOS said firstly that our thoughts were with Mr. Johnston's family, friends and colleague for whom this must be a very distressing period.  We are aware of the reports and our people on the ground are actively engaged into looking into the reports.  We continue to work closely with the Palestinian Authority and we are urgently seeking further information from them and another of other sources. 

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


Asked if there were any further details of what the Foreign Secretary will be discussing at the UNSC meeting on climate change, the PMOS said that not at this stage but it would be best to check with the Foreign Office at this stage. 

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

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