» Wednesday, February 8, 2006


Put that President Chávez had remarked recently that the British Army had gone to the Falklands to "trample over Argentinean soldiers" and that it should really be turned over to Argentina, the PMOS said it was not to anybody's benefit to get into a war of words on this. The Government's position on the Falkland Islands had been stated many times, and that remained the position.

Briefing took place at 8:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (0)

Progressive Government Trip

Asked why was the taxpayer funding the Prime Minister's trip to South Africa for the Progressive Government summit, the Prime Minister's Official Spokesman (PMOS) said that in terms of Progressive Government, that was the way it had always been done. However, in terms of this trip, there would still be meetings with other Heads of Government vis a vis trade matters, especially with people such as President Lula of Brazil, who the Prime Minister would not have a chance to meet otherwise. The Prime Minister would also still have a bilateral meeting with President Mbeki, which again would be Government business.

Briefing took place at 8:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (0)

Alcohol Misuse Enforcement Campaign

Asked to what extent the Prime Minister thought the good news was down to the police operation and whether he wanted it to continue, the Prime Minister's Official Spokesman (PMOS) said the police operation had been designed to show the police how the new powers could be applied and to embed good practice in applying them. The figures showed the results, which, so far, seemed to be encouraging and we would like that to continue.

Briefing took place at 8:00 | Read whole briefing | Comment (1)

Education Bill

Asked if there were any details on amendments to the ID Cards Bill, the PMOS replied that the changes that were being suggested in terms of how the Commons voted on it was a change in process, not a change of outcome. The Government's commitment was always that there would be a vote before compulsion was introduced. All that had changed was the way in which that vote would take place, nothing else. As the PMOS understood it, we were putting down about five motions to overturn twelve Lords' amendments, and therefore, the core proposals in the Bill remained exactly the same.

Briefing took place at 8:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (0)

Education Seminar

Asked what was the purpose of the Education seminar tomorrow, the PMOS said that the seminar would build on a smaller seminar that was held at the DFES two weeks ago for organisations that had an interest in becoming, backing, or participating in Trusts. People were interested in how the Trusts came about, and the purpose of the seminar was to "flesh out" what the arrangement might be.

Briefing took place at 8:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (0)

Abu Hamza

Asked if the Prime Minister believed that the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) should have acted quicker against Abu Hamza, the PMOS said that, as journalists knew, we had an independent Crown Prosecution Service for very good reasons. This was how it operated. It was therefore a matter for the police and the CPS to independently decide whether prosecutions could go forward. However, without referring directly to the Abu Hamza case, this illustrated why the government believed there were additional powers that were necessary in this area. This was why we had put forward legislation, for instance on glorification, that would come back to the House next week.

Briefing took place at 8:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (0)

Dunfermline by-election

Asked whether in terms of the Government, the by-election result sent a signal that the voters were in some way unhappy with the Government's performance in the last eight months since the election, The PMOS said that he did not want to get into analysing what were essentially Party matters. The best place to look in terms of the Government's response would be the Prime Minister's speech later today. What people would hear in that was that the Prime Minister's view that what the electorate had voted him to do was what he would continue to do, which was carry out the Government's programme.

Briefing took place at 8:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (0)


Asked if the Prime Minister would be voting next week, and also, what was he doing between now and then to win people over to the argument, the PMOS relied that in terms of voting, as he had said this morning, the Prime Minister did regard the ID Cards vote and the Terrorism vote as important matters. In terms of winning people over, the Prime Minister was quite clearly setting out the argument, and he did so at PMQs today.

Briefing took place at 8:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (0)

Schools Reforms

Asked whether the Prime Minister still thought he was walking a tight rope on school reforms and if he did was he prepared to make any further concessions, the PMOS said the clarifications had been sent by Ruth Kelly to Barry Sheerman and were there for people to study. The next step was the publication of the bill, before the end of the month, and then people would make up their minds. It was clear that the evidence, no matter where you looked, was that specialist schools were doing better than non-specialist schools. The reason why they were doing better was because of the extra freedoms that they had. The bill developed those freedoms and kept the pace of improvement going. If people looked at the select committee report it identified two key points: support for the idea of independent trust schools and a strategic role for local authorities. Both of those were at the heart of the education bill.

Briefing took place at 8:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (2)

Chancellor for the Duchy of Lancaster

Put that, since the position of Chancellor for the Duchy of Lancaster had now been vacant for 100 days, the Prime Minister now regarded the position as redundant and asked whether it should be scrapped, the PMOS said that his answer was the same as his answer throughout the period, which was: the Prime Minister would decide on any reshuffle at the appropriate time.

Briefing took place at 8:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (0)

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