» Thursday, October 18, 2007


Asked if the Prime Minister would have nothing to contribute, given that the Government was just waiting to see if other countries re-opened the red lines, the PMS replied that as it was clear throughout, the overwhelming priority for the Government in relation to the treaty negotiations was to secure the red lines. The Prime Minister was of the opinion that given the enlargement of Europe, the reforms of the treaty were necessary to make Europe function; he believed that the treaty secured that and most importantly secured the red lines.

Asked whether the Prime Minister would insist on a caveat in the treaty to ensure that the ECJ would not undermine the red lines in the future, the PMS said that the Foreign Secretary had made clear in front of the European Scrutiny Committee that there was no reason to believe there was any scope for the ECJ to undermine the British red lines in future.

Asked if the word "shall" had been removed from the treaty, as the Foreign Secretary said it should be, the PMS replied that as far as he understood, it would be. Asked what the word had been replaced with, the PMS said it was a question of removing the word "shall."

Asked what the ratification process would be for the treaty, the PMS said that first of all the treaty would need to be agreed. Political agreement on the text was anticipated later today and there would then need to be a process of translating the treaty into different languages, ahead of the signing later that year. Following that, the treaty would need to be ratified by the UK Parliament in the normal way.

Asked when a political agreement could be expected, the PMS replied that it might not happen that evening as it would depend on whether other countries had issues outstanding with the treaty. The PMS added that it would be difficult to give any precise guidance, but the working session was due to finish at 8pm and one might anticipate that there would be further discussions over dinner.

Asked what issues other countries had, the PMS said that that was not for him to comment on.

Asked if the Prime Minister had anything to say on the comments made by President Putin and President Ahmadinejad yesterday and would the issue be raised with anyone at the summit, the PMS said he didn’t anticipate any comment from the Prime Minister on the subject. The Foreign Ministers would be having a separate dinner that evening where no doubt a wide range of foreign policy issues would be discussed.

Asked if the Prime Minister thought he would be damaged by refusing to take into account polls which showed that the majority of the British population wanted a referendum, the PMS said that the Prime Minister had answered different variations of the question many times before. As he had made clear, if the UK was joining the Euro, a referendum would be necessary and he was one of the first to argue that point. However, this was not a constitution and the constitutional concept had been abandoned. The red lines had been secured, it was an amending treaty and like other amending treaties that had gone before, it did not require a referendum. The Prime Minister had come to the summit to stand up for British interests and he would do that.

Asked on the specifics of parliamentary processes for the treaty, the PMS replied that such comments were a little premature at this point. The priority for the Government was to reach agreement on the treaty.

Asked if the Prime Minister had given up all hope of there being a referendum, the PMS reiterated that the Prime Minister would only agree to the treaty if the red lines were secured. In principle, if the red lines were not met, a case for a referendum could be made, but it would be the Prime Minister’s intention to veto the treaty if the red lines were not secured.

Asked what would be discussed at the Prime Minister’s bilateral with Prime Minister Prodi, the PMS replied that it would be the first time the two had met face-to-face since the Prime Minister had taken up his position. They had known each other for many years and would want to discuss issues related to that weekend, particularly how to carry forward the debate on globalisation. It would be an opportunity to have a more general debate about UK-Italy relations and look ahead to Italy taking on the Presidency of the G7 next year.

Asked if the Prime Minister had read the treaty, the PMS replied that he was sure he had.

Asked if the Prime Minister was happy with the text on the table and did he have any bilateral plans with the Polish President, the PMS said that the Government was content with the text. It was possible the Prime Minister would have some discussion with the Polish President during the course of the next couple of days.

Asked if there was any reaction to reports within the Labour Party regarding a change to the Capital Gains Tax measures outlined in the PBR and if the treaty was vetoed, should there be a referendum, the PMS replied that there was no reaction to the reports. The PMS added that if the treaty was vetoed, there would be no treaty to have a referendum on.

original source.

Briefing took place at 16:45 | Search for related news

No Comments »

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Post a public comment

(You must give an email address, but it will not be displayed to the public.)
(You may give your website, and it will be displayed to the public.)


This is not a way of contacting the Prime Minister. If you would like to contact the Prime Minister, go to the 10 Downing Street official site.

Privacy note: Shortly after posting, your name and comment will be displayed on the site. This means that people searching for your name on the Internet will be able to find and read your comment.

Downing Street Says...

The unofficial site which lets you comment on the UK Prime Minister's official briefings. About us...


October 2007
Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun
« Sep   Nov »

Supported by


Disruptive Proactivity

Recent Briefings



Syndicate (RSS/XML)



Contact Sam Smith.

This site is powered by WordPress. Theme by Jag Singh