» Tuesday, July 3, 2007


The Prime Minister’s Spokesman (PMS) informed the assembled press that Cabinet met at 0900 this morning for about an hour and three quarters. This was the first regular meeting of Cabinet on a Tuesday, which was now the normal day on which Cabinet would meet. The PMS told people that the Cabinet had met on a Thursday since 1963, and between 1955 and 1963, it met on Tuesdays and Thursdays. In the years between 1945 and 1955, Cabinet met on Mondays and Thursdays, and prior to World War II, it usually met on Wednesdays. There was nothing especially sacrosanct about Thursdays, as it had met on different days over the years, and as the PMS had explained yesterday, the reason for moving to Tuesday was to ensure that those people who had Parliamentary business did not have to leave Cabinet earlier if Cabinet went on for some length of time.

The discussion in Cabinet today consisted firstly of an update from the Home Secretary on the latest situation regarding the terror incidents over the weekend. The Prime Minister took the opportunity on behalf of the Cabinet to praise the work of the emergency services, the police and the Security Services, both in terms of the way they had reacted to the weekend’s events, and also the speed with which the police investigation was now clearly progressing. The Leader of the House introduced a full Cabinet discussion on the draft legislative programme and the priorities for the legislative programme over the next year. The Housing Minister led a debate on housing policy and how the Government could best respond to the challenges faced by first time buyers. It was a very wide ranging debate, as housing policy was an issue that covered many departments, so there were issues relating to the environment, business, transport, and financial issues for the Treasury. There were also issues about what it meant for communities and the skills for people working in that sector. That is why it had been looked at from a cross-Governmental perspective.

The PMS went on to say that there was a report from the Secretary of State for Health who informed Cabinet of the nature of his statement to the House tomorrow. John Denham gave a report on the work of his department, and he would be making a statement to the House on Thursday on that. This was the third detailed debate on the constitutional reform package that was led by the Prime Minister.

Asked if there was any further information on the Prime Minister and Jack Straw’s salaries, or grace and favour homes, the PMS said that we were not at that point yet. The Prime Minister’s mind had been on other issues recently.

Asked if there had been any suggestion of specific laws being discussed, the PMS replied that the position on terrorist laws remained as it had been, which was we had said that we would review terror laws. We were committed to a counter-terrorism Bill over the next year, but as we had been emphasising throughout, this was not an issue that we wanted to rush into.

Asked if papers were circulated prior to the housing discussion in Cabinet, the PMS said that there were papers circulated on the constitutional matters. There was also a paper put out at Cabinet in the form of a presentation from the Housing Minister.

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

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