» Thursday, June 21, 2007

Defence Trade Treaty

The Prime Minister's Spokesman (PMS) began by drawing journalists' attention to the joint US/UK Defence Trade treaty that had been agreed between the two countries that day. The PMS continued that the Prime Minister had said that this treaty would enable our two countries to share defence information, goods and services more effectively. Achieving this agreement had become more important than ever before, at a time when British and American forces continued to work closely in defence and security operations around the world.

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

EU Summit

Asked how far the Prime Minister had got in his phone conversation with Chancellor Merkel today in protecting our red lines, the PMS said that as the PMOS had set out this morning, it was a good discussion. Chancellor Merkel was aware of our position, but as people were currently travelling, the time for negotiations were when they arrived. However, nothing had changed since this morning.

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

Forthcoming Business

The Leader announced that business for the coming week would be:

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


Asked to describe the sequence of events earlier today, the Leader said that, like a number of colleagues, he had sat alongside Mr Blair since he had become Prime Minister, and before that. Today had been the most poignant meeting in many ways; it had also been a very moving occasion, in which people were able to give tribute to both the Deputy Prime Minister and the Prime Minister for the extraordinary service which they had given, above all, to the nation. Mr Straw said that it was the first time he had ever seen a standing ovation in the room. By a process of consultation in advance, he had opened the tributes. He had been followed by the DEFRA Secretary and by the Chancellor. Chancellor of the Duchy presented a gift to the DPM and the DCMS Secretary had done likewise to the Prime Minister. The DPM had spoken about his period in office, followed by the Prime Minister. It was followed by a standing ovation which continued as the Prime Minister left.

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

Chancellor of the Exchequer

Asked if he could say anything further about today's reports, Mr Straw referred to what he had said in the House earlier in response to questions about Lord Ashdown and the Liberal Democrats. The Leader declined to comment further, saying it was not for him to comment on the Chancellor's private discussions. Pressed further, Mr Straw pointed out that, as he had indicated in the House earlier, it was perfectly normal for there to be discussions of all kinds between the leaders of the main political parties. He then responded to further questions on party political issues.

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

Constitutional reform

Questioned about the scope of Government's discussions with the Opposition, the Leader said that there were two sets of discussions - one obviously under that umbrella and another which could do so. Firstly, in relation to reform of the House of Lords, he pointed out that he had appeared before the Constitutional Affairs select committee on Tuesday to discuss the issue. Since the votes in the House of Commons in early March, there had also been the first meeting of the resumed all-party group, which he was chairing. Another would take place next week.

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


The Prime Minister's Official Spokesman (PMOS) began the briefing by informing journalists that the Prime Minister and the Chancellor would be holding a conference call with the German Chancellor Merkel today. He then proceeded to describe this morning's Cabinet meeting:

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


Asked that when the Prime Minister said he was willing to walk away from the table if his red lines were not met, was this meant as a stronger expression than before to reassure Cabinet colleagues, the PMOS replied that the Prime Minister's words were precisely in line with what he has said in Parliament, and what he had said at the Liaison Committee. We needed to be sure that we have control of our home affairs and criminal justice system, that we retain control of our foreign policy, and that we are clear that there cannot be anything decided about our tax and social security policy. Those were our red lines, and the Prime Minister made that point very clearly.

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

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