» Friday, November 11, 2005

Racially aggravated prosecuted offences

Asked what the Prime Minister's reaction to the rise in racially aggravated prosecuted offences was, the Prime Minister's Official Spokesman (PMOS) said that if you looked at the figures and talked to the relevant department they would tell you that the British Crime Survey estimated racially motivated incidents at around 206,000 for 2003/4, which was a similar figure to 2002/3. So this was about the effectiveness of prosecutions rather than an increase in crime.

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

90 days

Put to him that yesterday they had been assured that the Home Office had not encouraged the police to talk to people about the 90 days when in fact it now appeared that the Home Secretary had suggested that it be a good idea for police officers to put themselves up and whether this was appropriate, the PMOS referred journalists to the comments made by ACPO today which said that firstly, they believed it was themselves that had taken the lead in proposing the 90 days not the government. Secondly, that ACPO believed it was perfectly proper for ACPO and Chief Constables to write to and communicate with MPs about their proposal. As he had said yesterday afternoon people could not have their cake and eat it. They could not on the one hand say that they wanted information from the police about why they were putting forward the case for 90 days and then complain whenever the police wanted to supply that information. People should not drift away from the substance of this, which was that the police were of the universal view that 90 days was the right answer. Put to him that the Home Secretary had suggested that it would be useful for Chief Constables to be available to explain it to MPs, the PMOS said that the Home Office would brief on what the Home Secretary did or did not do, as was right. What he was putting to them was the argument that on the one hand people had said that the police had not supplied enough information but on the other hand they seemed to be criticising the police for then supplying that information. People could not have it both ways.

Briefing took place at 11:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (6)


Asked what the Prime Minister thought about the situation with the two people held in Iran, the PMOS said that the Foreign Secretary had spoken this morning about this. It was clearly a very worrying development. The Foreign Office had clearly done a very good job in working for their release and we were glad they had now been released. Put to him that the Foreign Secretary had said that he stuck to the view that military action was inconceivable and did the Prime Minister think this incident had raised the stakes in any way, the PMOS said that as the Foreign Secretary had said this morning it was sometimes difficult to differentiate between what was a local action at a local level and what was the result of something that was decided in Tehran. It was difficult to come down with a firm view on that. Both the Prime Minister and the Foreign Secretary had said that what we needed to get across to the regime in Iran on the wider front was that their action in recent time had been unacceptable, such as their continued flaunting of the will of the IAEA and also the remarks by the President about Israel.

Briefing took place at 11:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (3)

Sir Christopher Meyer

Asked for the Prime Minister's view in relation to the Foreign Secretary's suggestion that Sir Christopher Meyer might not be the best head of the Press Complaints Commission given the kind of information found in his book and in the press, the PMOS said that the Prime Minister had made clear on Monday at his monthly press conference that it was better that Downing Street did not get involved in talking about people's books and we would continue not to do so. Asked if the Prime Minister broadly endorsed the Foreign Secretary's sentiments, the PMOS said that the Foreign Secretary had been expressing his view, as was his right to do so. We had found in Downing Street that it was best not to get involved in book reviews. Asked what the Prime Minister's view was on the right of people who had worked in Government to recount their experiences in general, the PMOS said that the best person to talk about this was the head of the civil service, Sir Gus O'Donnell. Sir Gus O'Donnell had made clear his distaste for this kind of book. The critical thing, as he had stressed, was the importance of the relationship between civil servants and Ministers and the ability for Ministers to trust the impartial advice and confidentiality of civil servants.

Briefing took place at 11:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (5)


Asked if there was any update on when they could expect a reshuffle, the PMOS said obviously it would not be today. We did not anticipate that it would be Monday. On Monday the focus would be on the Prime Minster's Lord Mayor's Banquet speech. As he had said all week the Prime Minister would do it when he was ready. However, it was no doubt a matter the Prime Minister would reflect upon over the weekend.

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

Trust Schools

Asked if he could confirm that the new generation of trust schools did not need any legislation as they were covered by the city academies legislation, the PMOS said it was best to speak to the Department for Education and Skills for that sort of detail.

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

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