» Monday, July 11, 2005

Terrorism statement/anti-terror legislation

Asked what the Prime Minister had meant when he said it was plainly sensible to reserve the right to return to Parliament with an accelerated timetable on any further anti-terrorism laws, the Prime Minister's Official Spokesman (PMOS) said that we had already said we would come back in the autumn with an anti-terrorism bill and go through the pre-legislation scrutiny process. Today the Prime Minister had been saying that if however before then there was a suggestion from the police, or the authorities that we needed to speed up that process then we would obviously consider that. Right now we were still at an early stage, at the moment of dealing with the aftermath of Thursday's attacks. We had no plans at this stage to speed up the legislative process. All the Prime Minister had indicated was that if that came to be the case then we would come back. Asked if that would rule out before the summer, the PMOS agreed that it most probably would. What we were not thinking of was an "Omagh" style piece of immediate legislation. So far we had not identified that as necessary. What the Prime Minister had simply been doing was reserving the right to change our mind if the advice was that we should. No more and no less than that.

Briefing took place at 16:45 | Read whole briefing | Comments (4)

London Bombings

Asked if the Prime Minister had any reaction to police activity in West Yorkshire, the Prime Minister's Official Spokesman (PMOS) said that this was clearly a police operational matter. Journalists could take it that the Prime Minister and other Ministers would be kept informed. We said yesterday that we would give the police and the authorities the time and space they needed to carry out this investigation. We were determined to do so. Therefore it would be a matte led by them, carried out by them and we would be kept informed. We would follow the right and proper procedure throughout.

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

London bombing

The Prime Minister's Official Spokesman (PMOS) informed journalists that Tessa Jowell would attend the opening of a Garden of Rememberance for the victims of last Thursday's bombings at Victoria Embankment Gardens. Faith leaders would also be present and they would sign Westminster Council's book of condolence. The aim of the Garden was to provide a single place for people to pay their respects to the victims of all four attacks, not least because the necessary security around the bomb sites themselves made it difficult to people to lay flowers. Tessa Jowell would also go to the city hall today to sign the GLA book of condolence with Ken Livingstone. There would be a two minutes silence at midday on Thursday. Asked if the flowers that had already been placed at the sites would be moved, the PMOS said that we recognised that there was sensitivity around that issue. We would try and deal with the issue as sensitively as possible. The Key thing was to strike a balance between people wanting to, quote rightly, pay their respects and on the other hand, not get in the way of the ongoing investigation. That was a difficult balance but the liaison officers would consult with people and make the necessary arrangements.

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


Asked if the Government was committed to reducing troop levels in Iraq by the end of the year, the PMOS said that the Government was doing what we said we would do. That was, through the process of 'Iraqization', working with the Iraqi government in the first place, and with our allies in Iraq, we were doing everything we could to build up the capacity of the Iraqi security forces in the hope and expectation that they would increasingly take the load of looking after security in Iraq. That had been our goal since April last year. Therefore it should come as no surprise that we were going through the thinking process of how we achieved that. As John Reid had said, the process of transfer would only come at the point where the Iraqi government and ourselves believed that the Iraqi forces were capable of taking that load. Asked how much progress we had made, the PMOS said it was going forward all the time, not just in terms of the numbers of Iraq forces but also in their quality. It was a matter of judgmens which would be made from month to month.

Briefing took place at 11:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (8)

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