» Tuesday, June 1, 2004

D-Day Commemorations/President Bush

Asked if the Prime Minister would take the opportunity to use this weekend's D-Day commemorations to hold a meeting with President Bush, the Prime Minister's Official Spokesman (PMOS) said that the commemorations would be largely ceremonial. Consequently, while people would, theoretically, be able to meet up and talk in the margins, the opportunity to do so would be fairly limited.

Briefing took place at 11:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (2)

EU Constitution

Asked if the Prime Minister believed that his meetings this week with the Taoiseach and Prime Minister Zapatero of Spain would help to make progress on the European Constitution negotiations, the PMOS said that the meetings were part of the routine preparations for the EU Council later this month and would therefore would be fairly low key.

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

PM Zapatero

Asked for further detail about the Prime Minister's meeting with Prime Minister Zapatero, the PMOS said that it was the first official visit to Downing Street by the Spanish Prime Minister. That said, both leaders had spoken on several occasions in the past and were familiar with each other's views. No doubt they would take the opportunity to compare notes in the run-up to the EU Council later this month.

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


Questioned about the process of appointing members of the Interim Iraqi Government, the PMOS said that the UN's special envoy to Iraq, Lakhdar Brahimi, had put out a statement this morning naming the President, two Vice-Presidents and the Prime Minister. We welcomed those appointments which were the result of a process in which Mr Brahimi had consulted widely throughout Iraq. Despite the all-too-visible difficulties in Iraq recently, today was significant inasmuch as the Iraq people would see the confirmation of what would be the most representative Government they had ever had - a Government not dominated by one individual or group, but by representatives of the country as a whole. This was a Government which would lead Iraq from occupation to independence, and then to democracy in January 2005. That was an achievement which should not be under-estimated in any way, despite the attempts of the terrorists to drown it out. Put to him that the proceedings this morning had been somewhat 'chaotic', the PMOS said no one was pretending that this was not a bumpy road. However, it was a road which was leading in one direction - towards democracy. That was politics. It was important for people to recognise that this would be the first time that Iraq would have a true representative Government. In the past, Iraqi politics had led to people like the incoming Prime Minister being targeted by Saddam Hussein. Not any more. Yes, the road was bumpy, but that was the price of politics.

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

Fuel Prices

Asked how high the Prime Minister believed the price of petrol might go, the PMOS pointed out that it was not the Prime Minister's job to determine petrol prices. That was the role of the oil market. Put to him that the Prime Minister must have thought about the issue and have a formed a personal view, the PMOS said that the Prime Minister had no intention of engaging in TV reality shows and making public pronouncements about the price of the oil market. It was his job to work with his colleagues and make representations to OPEC and others, as the Government would no doubt do at the OPEC meeting this Thursday.

Briefing took place at 11:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (13)

Postal Ballots

Asked for a reaction to criticisms regarding the problems relating to the June 10 postal ballots, the PMOS said that as he understood it, 97% of the ballot packs were now with the Royal Mail. The bulk of the remaining 3% would be done by midnight tonight, with the rest being completed during the early hours of tomorrow. He reminded journalists that the last recommended posting date for voters was 8 June. Today was 1 June.

Briefing took place at 11:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (5)


Asked to comment on today's Times report suggesting that the Prime Minister supported moves to lift the EU's embargo on arms exports to China, the PMOS said that the EU was currently reviewing the embargo. Any decision would require unanimity. He had no intention of pre-empting the outcome of that process. Asked to set out the UK's position on this issue, the PMOS said that we had not expressed a view and nor would we pre-empt the outcome of the review process.

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

Chief Constables

Asked if the Government was planning to sack Chief Constables if they were under-performing, in the light of the report in today's Times, the PMOS said that the monitoring of the performance of Chief Constables was a matter for Her Majesty's Inspectorate. He referred journalists to the Home Office for further detail.

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

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