» Monday, May 24, 2004


Asked about the Prime Minister's meeting with relatives of the Lockerbie victims today, the Prime Minister's Official Spokesman (PMOS) said that it had been a private meeting. It had given the Prime Minister an opportunity to brief on his recent visit to Tripoli and his meeting with Colonel Gaddafi.

Briefing took place at 15:45 | Read whole briefing | Comments (4)


Asked if Downing Street agreed with view of the German Ambassador to the UN who had reportedly said that the draft Security Council Resolution did not give Coalition forces the mandate to remain in Iraq for more than a year after the transfer of sovereignty, the PMOS said that the Resolution had not yet been circulated in New York and he was therefore unable to comment in detail on the text. That said, as Colin Powell and others had pointed out, the key issue was the fact that it would be the Interim Government which would give its consent to the continuing presence of the Coalition in Iraq. The principal point, therefore, was not the existence of some arbitrary deadline, but whether we were achieving the goal we had set out to achieve, namely the progressive Iraqi-isation of the security and political processes with the aim of working towards free elections.

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

Prime Minister

Asked if the Prime Minister would reply to the Leader of the Opposition's letter asking him if he intended to serve a full third term, the PMOS said that as a Civil Servant he was unable to comment on party political issues. In a spirit of helpfulness, however, he would refer journalists to the transcript of the Prime Minister's Frost interview last September in which he had answered the question.

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

European Constitution

Asked for a reaction to the Dutch Foreign Minister's reported comments today suggesting that it was inevitable that Britain would have to give up some of its red lines, the PMOS said that he wasn't aware of the detail of the comments and it would therefore not be helpful to comment directly on them until he was, other than to say that our red lines remained. In answer to further questions, the PMOS said he had also learned from experience that it wasn't helpful to give a running commentary on ongoing discussions. As he had said last week, these were real negotiations. Equally, it was important for people to recognise that we had real bottom lines.

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


The Prime Minister's Official Spokesman (PMOS) advised journalists that the Prime Minister was meeting the families of the Lockerbie victims today to brief them on his recent visit to Tripoli and his meeting with Colonel Gaddafi.

Briefing took place at 11:00 | Read whole briefing | Comment (1)


Asked when an announcement on troop deployments would be made, the PMOS said that an announcement would be made at the appropriate time. A decision would be taken against the strategic background that we were currently seeing being played out, for instance at the UN today, when we were anticipating the draft Security Council Resolution to be tabled. Asked to explain the phrase 'strategic background', the PMOS said that as he had told journalists last week, we were now pursuing a two-track strategy as the pace towards which we were approaching 30 June gathered momentum. Firstly, on security, we wanted to see the stabilisation of the security situation in Iraq, despite the current background of difficulties which, as we had already acknowledged, were likely to get more challenging as we approached 30 June. Secondly, on the political track, a number of developments were being made - the first being the Security Council Resolution, a draft of which we believed would be tabled today at the UN; the second being the work of Lakhdar Brahimi in selecting the Interim Authority. We were clearly going to see progress on both fronts over the coming days and weeks.

Briefing took place at 11:00 | Read whole briefing | Comment (1)

Parliamentary Security

Asked if any consideration was being given to moving Prime Minister's Question Time, the PMOS said not as far as he was aware. If he was being asked for a response to last week's events, he would simply say that people should be a little patient and wait for the report from the House authorities. Asked if the Prime Minister's personal protection team would start accompanying him into the Chamber, the PMOS said that these matters were best left to the House to deal with. It was not for him to comment.

Briefing took place at 11:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (3)

Interest rates

Asked if the Prime Minister was concerned about suggestions that interest rates could double, the PMOS said he thought that the most effective rebuttal had come from the building societies themselves, who had said today, "We are not calling for interest rates to double. We don't want them to double and there is no need for them to double". He pointed out that interest rates were, of course, a matter for the Bank of England.

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

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