» Monday, August 9, 2004

War on Terror

Asked if the Prime Minister agreed with Condoleeza Rice's view that it would be 'conscionable' not to publicise details of the terrorist threat or whether he supported David Blunkett's approach to the issue, the Prime Minister's Spokesman (PMS) said that the US and UK authorities dealt with the matter in their own ways. David Blunkett had set out the position very clearly yesterday in saying, "Our job is to provide whatever measures are necessary to protect the British people. The Government will never hesitate to act or issue a warning if it is the best way to protect any community or venue facing a specific and credible threat. Advice would be issued immediately if the public needed to take specific action which could make them safer. There is also a difference between alerting the public to a specific threat and alarming people unnecessarily by passing on information indiscriminately. I think we have got the balance right".

Briefing took place at 11:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (62)


Asked if British troops would hand over any dissidents they had caught in Iraq to the Iraqi authorities despite the fact that they might face the death penalty which had just been reintroduced, the PMS said she did not think it would be helpful to get drawn into a hypothetical discussion about this issue. In any event, this would be an operational matter which would be dealt with by those on the ground. The UK was opposed to the death penalty in all circumstances, as everyone was aware, and we had made representations to the Iraqis to express our views. The Iraqis had said that this was a temporary measure and that the matter would be raised again by the elected Iraqi Government next year.

Briefing took place at 11:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (19)


Asked if the Prime Minister was concerned about the backlash against the new five-in-one vaccine for young children, the PMS said that the Department of Health had given a briefing this morning in which they had set out the facts to this story. It went without saying that we wanted to protect children across the country. The developments with this new vaccine represented a positive evolution in the immunisation programme. Asked if she thought that the announcement had been handled well, the PMS said that there had been a lot of speculation as to how the details had emerged. As she understood it, the Department of Health had been in the process of briefing doctors in advance of an announcement that was to have been made on Wednesday so that doctors would be able to brief their patients immediately. Somehow the information had come into the public domain prematurely, which had resulted in some inaccuracies being reported over the weekend. Asked if the Prime Minister was concerned that scare stories would leave children unvaccinated, the PMS said that it was obviously important for parents to know the facts about the new vaccine. That was the purpose of the Department of Health's briefing this morning.

Briefing took place at 11:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (29)


Asked if any Government meetings on Darfur would be taking place this week, the PMS said that she was not aware of any meetings involving Ministers. However, it was an issue that was under constant discussion, as you would expect.

Briefing took place at 11:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (4)

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