» Thursday, April 22, 2004

Prime Minister’s press conference

[This is the transcript of one of the Prime Minister's occasional press conferences; these are the words of the Prime Minister giving a statement and answering the questions of journalists. Unlike the PMOS's briefings, this is a more-or-less verbatim transcript of the Prime Minister's words. Such press conferences happen about once a month, and occasionally more often.]

Briefing took place at 18:20 | Read whole briefing | Comments (0)

European Constitution

Asked if the Prime Minister had definitely ruled out the option of a second referendum, the Prime Minister's Official Spokesman (PMOS) said that as the Prime Minister had underlined this morning, he would go into a referendum with the intention of winning the campaign. Moreover, it was impossible to predict what might happen if the result was no - other than the fact that he would have to attend a meeting of the European Council to attempt to sort out the situation. Asked if he was suggesting that the door to holding a second referendum was being left ajar, the PMOS said that he wasn't suggesting anything. He was simply making the point that it was impossible to predict what might happen if there was a no vote. One thing people could be sure, however, was that if the Prime Minister agreed to a Treaty this summer which met our red lines, he would go into the referendum campaign with the intention of winning it.

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

Oil-for-food programme

Asked for a reaction to the revelations regarding the UN Oil-For-Food Programme, the PMOS said that it was a matter for the UN. They had been well aware of our concerns in the past. We welcomed the fact that they had set up an inquiry and we believed that they should be given the time and space to carry it out. Asked to detail the concerns we had expressed, the PMOS said that they had been about the operation of the Oil-For-Food Programme and had been raised through the usual channels. Asked if our concerns had coloured our attitude to Iraq last February/March, the PMOS said that the decisions which had been made at that time had been taken primarily for other reasons. However, our awareness of the situation had formed part of the backdrop to our assessment as to how effective sanctions were in the long term. Asked if Downing Street was concerned about the reported involvement of a British MP, the PMOS said he thought it would be more helpful to allow the UN to carry out its inquiry and reach definite conclusions before responding to any claims that had been made.

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

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