» Tuesday, February 1, 2005


Asked of the Government supported the International Criminal Court (ICC) as a body, the Prime Minister's Official Spokesman (PMOS) said that of course we supported the ICC as a body. The Question was what was the view of the Security Council as a whole. We would take part in the discussion later this week and he suspected next week as well. Therefore we had to await the view of the Security Council. Asked what view the UK would be taking, the PMOS said that we had only received the report this morning. We needed time to study the report and in any case the best thing was for us to express our view at the Security Council first. Asked if was necessary to set up a new court when we had a court in the Hague, the PMOS said that we should study the report and then we present our view to the Security Council. It was best that we took the time to do it properly. It wasn't a simply black or white decision, it was necessary to listen to the views of others within the Security Council and take art in the discussion. Asked if the Prime Minister had discussed this with President Bush, the PMOS said that he never got into details of conversations with the President and the Prime Minister on this or any other issue. Put to him that sometime he did go into detail when it suited him, the PMOS agreed that he did give details when it suited him but on this occasion it didn't. Asked if the Government was trying to put this into the long grass until President Bush visited, the PMOS said that since he had already said that there would be a discussion later this week on this issue, that could hardly be considered to be the long grass. Grass didn't grow that fast in February! Asked if we would give a definitive view on the Security Council, the PMOS said that we would study the report and as and when we were ready to say something we would let people know.

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

European Constitution Referendum

Asked what the latest possible date was to hold a referendum on the European Constitution was given speculation that it might be as late as 2006, the PMOS reminded journalists that the Prime Minister had stated explicitly in the Financial Times, a paper they might have a come across from time to time, last week that the decision would be made in 2006. That was the position and it had not changed since then. The reality was that the vote could take place at any time up until November 2006. Let us see where we were.

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

Northern Ireland

Asked about the outcome between the Prime Minister and the Taoiseach, the PMOS said that the Prime Minister and the Taoiseach had just held a joint doorstep. To summarise the points, they had a briefing from the Chief Constable and his opposite number in Dublin, the Garda Commissioner. As a result of that briefing they were in no doubt as at all that the IRA had been responsible for the bank robbery last year. The Prime Minister stated that, in his view, IRA activity was now the sole obstacle to progress. Therefore what was needed was a clear move on the part of the IRA to cease all paramilitary and criminal activity. The Prime Minister and Taoiseach's precise words could be found on the newswires.

Briefing took place at 15:45 | Read whole briefing | Comments (3)

Incapacity Benefit

Put to him that the Prime Minister had said that people were moved from unemployment benefit to incapacity benefit to reduce unemployment figures and asked when that had stopped, the PMOS said that the Prime Minister had been giving his view about what happened under previous administrations.

Briefing took place at 15:45 | Read whole briefing | Comments (26)

Iraqi Elections

Asked if the Government had any clearer figures about the turnout in the elections in Iraq, the PMOS said no. That would be a matter for the Independent Electoral Commission in Iraq. He expected that they would make their view known in the next few days.

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


Asked if we had any further information on the Hercules crash, the PMOS said that there was a British crash investigator out there, obviously assisted by others. As he had said this morning,g after any air crash, be it commercial or military, it always took some time to establish the facts. The problem of doing so was exacerbated by the fact that crash took place out of our area of control and also in a hostile environment. Therefore the difficulties should not be under-estimated. People should not expect instant results on this, but the speed of the investigation was a matter for the crash investigator. That was the best guidance he could give.

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

Hercules Crash update

Asked if there was any further news regarding the Hercules crash, and also if there was a flight data recorder on board, the Prime Minister's Official Spokesman (PMOS) said he did not have any further updates. The MOD hoped to confirm details of those presumed dead at 1200 today, but apart from that, the rest of the information was down to the Accident Investigator who was involved with the crash. The PMOS also explained that the reason why this crash was proving difficult was because the location where the crash occurred was not in our area of control, and was considered a hostile environment, so extra care had to be taken.

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

President Bush

Asked for some further details about the Prime Minister's conversation yesterday with President Bush, the PMOS said whilst he would not brief in full, it could be read that Iraq elections made up some part of the conversation. Satisfaction had been expressed about the outcome, in terms of both the turnout of voters across Iraq and also the very real, determined efforts that people in all sections of Iraq had made to vote.

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


Asked if Britain believed that the International Criminal Court was the correct forum for those accused of abuse in Darfur, the PMOS replied that to begin with, we had to study the International Commission Report very carefully. We were very concerned by the findings that Sudan's government and pro government militias had committed serious violations of international human rights, and we warned the Sudanese government when the Prime Minister visited Sudan, that international attention would not disappear from this issue. There were discussions planned at the Security Council, and there were likely to be more planned. Therefore, it would be better to wait and see what the Security Council advised.

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

Animal Rights

Asked about the apparent contradictions of opinion between Hazel Blears and Patricia Hewitt regarding arrests of animal rights activists, the PMOS repeated his words of yesterday, which were he was not getting drawn into a hypothetical discussion. He pointed out that the control orders that had been set out last week were only to be used in extreme circumstances, and it would depend on the nature of the offence.

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

Downing Street Says...

The unofficial site which lets you comment on the UK Prime Minister's official briefings. About us...


February 2005
Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun
« Jan   Mar »

Supported by


Disruptive Proactivity

Recent Briefings



Syndicate (RSS/XML)



Contact Sam Smith.

This site is powered by WordPress. Theme by Jag Singh