» Wednesday, June 11, 2008

42 Days

Asked whether the Prime Minister was relaxed about giving compensation to people who have been held by police for 28 to 42 days, the Prime Minister’s Spokesman (PMS) said that, as he had said that morning, there were already procedures in place to enable redress for unlawful imprisonment in the civil courts, so it was not as if there was any great issue of principle at stake here. The PMS added that he thought the Home Secretary had set out the Government’s position on the subject in the House earlier.

Asked if the compensation was going to be £3000 per day, the PMS said that the Home Office had been making clear that those were not numbers that the Government recognised.

Put that what the Government was talking about was compensation in addition to peoples’ existing legal right to sue in the event of unlawful imprisonment, the PMS said that as the Home Secretary had said, the Home Office would work through the details of this and look at these issues in the coming weeks. This was really a continuation of and addition to existing practises, as he understood it.

Asked if it was the Prime Minister’s idea, the PMS replied that we had received a number of representations on this. It was something that we had been looking at for some time and the Home Secretary in a letter dated the 6th June 2008 to Trevor Philips, the chair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission said the issues of compensation and the need to monitor and review the community impact of counter-terrorism legislation also deserved to be looked at further and she hoped to return to it in the near future.

Asked if there was any move by the Government to look again at Britain’s imposition of sanctions on Cuba, the PMS said that Britain did not impose sanctions on Cuba, they were EU measures. This was something considered by the EU from time to time and these were really matters for the Presidency of the European Union at the time to decide whether or not it was something they wanted to put on the agenda.

Asked what our position would be, the PMS reiterated that it was something that we needed to keep under review, but we would want to look at what the circumstances were and what the position was at any one time, consult with our international partners and take a view.

Asked if the Government would be prepared to say that it would not agree to anything with which the United States disagreed, the PMS said that he thought that there was an EU position on this and he would need to check with the Foreign Office as he thought the EU position was not exactly the same as the American position at the moment. The principle that people were asserting was not necessarily one that was consistent with the particular situation. The PMS added that he was not an expert on the Cuban sanctions regime and he was sure the Foreign Office could talk people through the details.

Asked if Britain would be arguing for a softening of EU sanctions, the PMS said that these needed to be looked at in the proper way, in the appropriate forum and that was the EU Council. Whether or not such items were on the agenda of the European Council was really a matter for the European Presidency of the European Union. Asked if Britain would be pushing for this issue to be on the agenda, the PMS repeated that it was a matter for the Presidency to decide what was on the agenda of the European Council.

Put that the Prime Minister could say to the Presidency that he would like the issue on the agenda, the PMS replied that we had a long-standing position on this and it was a matter for the Presidency to decide what was on the agenda in consultation with other member states.

Asked if the Prime Minister had offered any assurances to any of his parliamentary colleagues, that he would re-examine Britain’s position on Cuban sanctions or would attempt to put it on the agenda at the European Council, the PMS said not as far as he was aware.

Asked if the Prime Minister had had a meeting with the DUP at Downing Street, the PMS said he did not want to get into the specifics of exactly who the Prime Minister had had meetings with. There had been meetings and telephone discussions involving the Prime Minister with a wide range of parliamentarians. Asked if they had been specifically on the debate over 42 days, the PMS confirmed that they had been.

Asked if there had been any change in mood or confidence ahead of the vote on 42 days, the PMS said that he had checked the position before he left Downing Street and the advice from the Whips to No10 remained that if the vote was to take place now, the Government would not have enough votes to win the vote.

original source.

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

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