» Wednesday, May 5, 2004


Put to him that the Prime Minister had seemed to go a little further on the question of troop numbers in Iraq during PMQs today, the Prime Minister’s Official Spokesman (PMOS) said that our position on this matter had not changed since last week. We remained in discussion with our Coalition partners and were keeping the matter under constant review. Asked if an announcement was expected in the next day or so, the PMOS repeated that the matter was kept under constant review. Various options were being considered as part of that. Put to him that the Prime Minister had spoken specifically today about the possibility of providing ‘more troops’ – a phrase he hadn’t used before, the PMOS said that as he had told journalists repeatedly last week, we kept this issue under constant review and were in discussion with our Coalition allies. That remained the case. Put to him that last week he could have been talking about fewer troops in Iraq, whereas the Prime Minister had definitely gone further today by specifically referring to ‘more troops’, the PMOS said that when he had been asked questions about this issue last week, he had been under no delusion that he was being asked about fewer troops. His answer then was the same as his answer today.

Asked if the US had put in a request for more troops, the PMOS repeated that we were in discussion with our Coalition partners. The position had not changed. Asked why he was being so cagey, the PMOS said that as he had told journalists last week, he had no intention of giving a running commentary on the status of the discussions that were taking place. People should exercise a little patience and wait for any decision to be made. Put to him that the Prime Minister himself had given some sort of a running commentary at PMQs today by talking about deploying troops in different parts of Iraq, the PMOS said that as had told journalists last week, troop numbers was one thing, location was another. The reality of the situation was that we were not in a position to say anything more at this stage than the fact that the matter was kept under constant review.

Briefing took place at 15:45 | Search for related news

1 Comment »

  1. The URL for latest news on troop deployments is http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/3689755.stm

    On 10th June the LibDems reportedly want to turn the European Parliamentary election into a referendum to punish Tony Blair for embarking on the Iraq war. Charles Kennedy does not advocate withdrawal of British troops however.

    Does anyone know if there is a "troops out" party standing for election on 10th June?

    Comment by Patrick Haseldine — 6 May 2004 on 3:25 pm | Link

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