» Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Glorification of Terror

The Prime Minister's Official Spokesman (PMOS) told journalists that the Prime Minister had wanted Parliament to send a clear signal of its determination to counter terrorism and send a clear signal not only to the courts and the police but also to those who would try to incite or encourage terrorism either directly or indirectly. The Prime Minister believed that the vote this afternoon had sent that very clear signal, not just of the Government's but also the country's determination to do everything it could to counter terrorism. He also recognised that at the start of this week people, quite rightly, were saying that Parliament had to make some difficult decisions this week. It had to make difficult decisions on ID cards, it had to try to resolve the issue of smoking and make a difficult decision on terrorism. He believed that Parliament had made those necessary hard decisions and made them in the right way. This was evidence of a parliamentary democracy working at its best.

Briefing took place at 17:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (0)

Glorification of Terror

Asked if the Prime Minister was likely to use the phrase "it is better to lose and do the right thing than to win and do the wrong thing" during PMQs this afternoon, when asked about the forthcoming legislation on the glorification of terror, the Prime Minister's Official Spokesman (PMOS) said that as he had said yesterday, the important thing was to focus on the substance of the issue. The substance of the issue was whether glorification gave you an additional weapon to counter terrorism. If you looked at the UN Security Council Resolution passed in September 2005, it spoke of the need to counter glorification as well as incitement. If you looked at the kinds of loop-holes which were exploited by defendants in such cases, it was clear that there was a loop-hole in terms of the glorification aspect. If you looked at how the Bill had been amended as it had come out of the House of Lords, glorification had been removed, it would not apply to what was written on placards, for instance praising the 7/7 bombers, and those kinds of issues. Also the amended Bill didn't deal with those who associated themselves with terrorist groups. There were still problems with the Bill as it emerged from the House of Lords. To summarise the Prime Minister's view, he believed that Parliament should be sending a clear signal to the courts, the Police, and to those who would in any way condone terrorism, that we did not believe that was acceptable. That was what it boiled down to. As the Home Secretary underlined this morning, this was a matter which was crucial for the entire Government, because we believed that there was a need to send a clear signal as a Government.

Briefing took place at 17:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (0)


Asked what would be discussed with Chancellor Merkel, the PMOS said the Prime Minister had met Chancellor Merkel in London and again at the EU Council where the Prime Minister had been impressed with the German government's position and how Chancellor Merkel had conducted herself. The main discussion would cover Europe, the Middle East Peace Process following Hamas's victory and Iran on which Chancellor Merkel had expressed very clear views. No doubt other issues would come up as well.

Briefing took place at 17:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (0)


Asked what impact the outcome of the Smoking vote had had on Patricia Hewitt's authority, and when had the Prime Minister made up his mind on what action was necessary, the PMOS said that if you went back to Prime Minister's Questions in December, the Prime Minister had stated very clearly that he was listening to the debate. If you also looked at his press conference in December he had stated there very clearly that he was listening to the debate and he saw that public opinion was moving in a certain direction. He also listened very carefully to the arguments put forward by the Health lobby as well. As he had said last night, he believed that this was the right decision as an individual, and that was why he voted in the way he had. Patricia Hewitt similarly had listened to the arguments and made up her mind, as an individual. A free vote was a free vote and Parliament had spoken.

Briefing took place at 17:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (0)


Asked how the Prime Minister's day was looking tomorrow now that he had all these votes out of the way, the PMOS said that events did not move that fast and he was not anticipating that sort of busy day.

Briefing took place at 17:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (0)

Richard Gillingwater

Asked about whether Richard Gillingwater would step down as Chief Executive of the Shareholder Executive, the PMOS said that Richard Gillingwater had not said that he would be leaving. His contract ran until September and it was too early to start discussion on renewing it.

Briefing took place at 17:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (0)


Asked what the situation was in regard to 10 Downing Street, the PMOS said that there was a smoking room at the moment but that would obviously be covered by the legislation. In terms of implementation of the bill there would not be a delay in implementation; it would go ahead on schedule once it had gone through Parliament.

Briefing took place at 17:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (0)


Asked by the BBC if given that the Prime Minister was taking PMQs despite the absence of the leader of the opposition David Cameron it was a sign that the Prime Minister did not trust any other member of his Cabinet to answer questions from William Hague, the PMOS asked the journalist to spell out what PMQs stood for. It was Prime Minister's Questions, not Leader of the Opposition's Questions. If the Prime Minister was in the country he took PMQs. If he happened to be abroad, as it happened the leader of the opposition could still do it, though they tended not to. So while he would congratulate David Cameron on his happy circumstances, the Prime Minister would still hold Prime Minister's Questions thank you very much.

Briefing took place at 17:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (3)

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