» Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Muslim Leaders Meeting

The Prime Minister's Official Spokesman (PMOS) outlined to journalists the outcome of the Prime Minister's meeting with Muslim leaders. There was a decision to set up a task force, or network, led by the Muslim community with the full support of Government. It would look, in part, at how we could take the debate forward in religious terms, in part, at political engagement and, in part, at a community level to deal with issues such a social exclusion. They had requested, and it was agreed, that they would meet the Met Commissioner, Sir Ian Blair next week. The group of 25 Muslim leaders that attended would also be meeting amongst themselves this evening to draw up an action plan ahead of their meeting with Charles Clarke tomorrow. So there was real follow through in the process. There was also universal praise for the Met police and the way in which they had handled events since the bombings.

Briefing took place at 17:45 | Read whole briefing | Comments (0)

Comprehensive Spending Review

Asked if the Prime Minister viewed the delay in the Comprehensive Spending Review as part of the orderly transition he had spoken of previously, the PMOS said he knew that someone would bring this up. The answer was no. The reasons for the delay were, as stated by the Chief Secretary, which was to allow comprehensive review and allow a much more comprehensive way of looking at real savings in departments and so on. We looked forward to the progress report in 2006. Asked about whether the Prime Minister had spoken to the Chancellor about this, the PMOS said that they had discussed the matter and came to an agreed view that this was the best way forward. It would be a joint report between Downing Street and the Treasury.

Briefing took place at 17:45 | Read whole briefing | Comments (0)

Special Advisors

Asked about changes to the regulations regarding Special Advisors to the Government, the PMOS referred journalists to the Cabinet Office.

Briefing took place at 17:45 | Read whole briefing | Comments (0)


The Prime Minister's Official Spokesman (PMOS) advised journalists that the Prime Minister would be meeting President Karzai of Afghanistan later today.  The two leaders would sign an Enduring Relations Agreement, which would confirm our long-term commitment to Afghanistan with a package of support for the next ten years. 

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

London bombings

Asked for a reaction both to Omar Bakri Mohammed's comment in today's Evening Standard that the London bombings had been the responsibility of the British people for electing Tony Blair as Prime Minister, and also to the UK leader of al Muhajiroun, Anjem Choudray, who had said, among other things, on the Today Programme this morning that anyone who sat down with the Prime Minister today would be sitting down with a tyrant and that another 7/7 was a very real possibility, the PMOS said that the views of certain individuals should not be mistaken for the views of the community as a whole.  It was important for us to listen to the vast majority of voices in the Muslim community, not just today but in the period since the bombings.  Those voices had not only outrightly condemned the bombings, but had also recognised that Muslims must take on the argument against the extremists within their own community.  Today's meeting with the Prime Minister was all about mobilising the moderate voice within Islam to take on the arguments within the Muslim community. 

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

Al Qaradawi

Asked if Yusef al-Qaradawi would be coming to the UK, the PMOS said that it was a decision to be made by the Home Secretary who would take advice from a variety of departments, including the Security Services, FCO, CPS and the police.  It went without saying that the decision would be taken in the proper way.  Put to him that allowing people like Mr al-Qaradawi to visit the UK might be helpful inasmuch as it would expose their arguments to democratic debate, the PMOS said that the Prime Minister was not afraid to take on the arguments.  That was precisely why he was talking to representatives from the Muslim community today.  However, he did not want to argue the case on his own.  He believed it was important to harness the view of the moderate Muslim community to argue the case amongst themselves. 

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

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