» Monday, April 19, 2004

European Constitution

The Prime Minister's Official Spokesman (PMOS) advised journalists that the Prime Minister would be making tomorrow's Statement to the Commons on the EU White Paper and the EU Constitution, not the Foreign Secretary as advised this morning. Asked to explain the change, the PMOS said that given the importance of the Statement and how it would be perceived, it was thought that the Prime Minister should make it. The Foreign Secretary would no doubt have lots of chances in future to debate this matter more fully. Asked if he was acknowledging that the Statement was going to be 'important', the PMOS said everyone knew that the European Constitution was an important issue. Asked if the referendum would be mentioned, the PMOS said that the Statement was about the EU Constitution and the EU White Paper. Asked if the change had anything to do with the Opposition's demand for a Private Notice Question today, the PMOS said that the importance of how the matter would be perceived in the House was clearly a reflection of how it would be perceived in the country as a whole. As the Prime Minister had told the House today, he was more than keen to debate the reality not the myth and to take on the arguments. As we had said after the European Council in Brussels last month, the sooner people were able to judge the reality of the Constitution for themselves - if one was agreed in June - the better.

Briefing took place at 15:45 | Read whole briefing | Comments (0)

Immigration Summit

Asked about the Prime Minister's immigration stocktake in Downing Street tomorrow afternoon, the PMOS said that it would be a continuation of the work programme which had been established at the first 'summit'. Those Departments which had been represented at the first meeting would also be represented at the second.

Briefing took place at 15:45 | Read whole briefing | Comments (0)

PM Juncker

Asked if was correct to say that the British Government did not support the candidacy of Prime Minister Juncker of Luxembourg as President of the EU Commission, the PMOS said that we had not commented on any candidacies and he was not going to start doing so today.

Briefing took place at 11:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (0)

European Constitution

Asked if the Foreign Secretary would make an announcement about a referendum on the EU Constitution in his Statement to the House tomorrow, the Prime Minister's Official Spokesman (PMOS) said that Mr Straw would provide an update on the EU Constitution. Questioned as to whether the Cabinet would need to discuss the proposal to hold a referendum before a final decision was made, the PMOS said that he had no intention of pre-empting what Mr Straw might say in his Statement tomorrow in the House, which was obviously the appropriate place for any comments to be made. That said, as we had made clear at the end of the last Brussels Summit in March, people could judge for themselves the reality of a new Constitution that was agreed - if it was agreed - in June. The sooner that reality was held up to the light of the scrutiny of Parliament, the better. In the Government's view, the Parliamentary process was the right place to go, and the sooner people could deal with the reality of the situation, rather than myths or scare stories, the better. Put to him that the Prime Minister had told journalists at the end of the Brussels Summit in March that there would not be a referendum, the PMOS repeated that he had no intention of pre-empting the Foreign Secretary's Statement tomorrow. However, he would draw journalists' attention to the Prime Minister's words on the Today Programme on Saturday when he had said that nothing had changed, but that if anything did, then the Government would obviously tell the people. Asked if anything had changed since Saturday, the PMOS said that the position remained as set out by the Prime Minister on the Today Programme. He had nothing further to add.

Briefing took place at 11:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (7)

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