» Monday, July 12, 2004

Butler Report

Asked about the handling arrangements for the Butler Report on Wednesday, the PMOS said that letters had been sent to the Opposition this morning inviting them in from 6am on Wednesday to look at the Report (the same arrangements as for the Hutton Inquiry). Lord Butler had told us that he was planning to provide the Government with the final version of his Report – in the form in which it would be published – on Tuesday. As with the Hutton Inquiry, it was anticipated that Lord Butler would hold a press conference. This would take place on Wednesday. With the Speaker’s permission, the Prime Minister would make a Statement a little later on in the day. This would give MPs time to read the Report themselves. Asked at what time the Prime Minister’s Statement would be, the PMOS said that the details were still being finalised. Ultimately, it would depend on the timing of Lord Butler’s press conference, which was a matter for Lord Butler himself.

Asked to explain what he meant by saying that Lord Butler would provide the Government with a ‘final version’ of his Report on Tuesday, the PMOS said that he was simply referring to the terms of reference which had been set out by the Foreign Secretary on 3 February which stated that, “The Committee will submit its final conclusions to my Right Honourable Friend, the Prime Minister, in a form for publication along with any classified recommendations and material”. Asked if that meant that the Prime Minister had not yet seen the Report, the PMOS repeated that Lord Butler had said he was planning to provide the Government with the final version of his Report on Tuesday. Asked if individual Ministers had already seen those parts of the Report which were relevant to them, the PMOS said that he had no intention of providing a running commentary on the process.

Asked what measures the Government was taking to prevent any leaks, as happened with the Hutton Report, the PMOS said that the arrangements for the publication of the Report had already been put in place, with a very strong emphasis on keeping it secure.

Briefing took place at 11:00 | Search for related news

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