» Wednesday, June 7, 2006


Asked by the Scotsman what would the Prime Minister say to people in Scotland, (i.e. the Scotsman News Desk), who worried that by displaying the Cross of St. George above Downing Street, he was sending a signal that said that one of the constituent nations in the UK was more highly viewed than the others, the Prime Minister's Official Spokesman (PMOS) replied that there was only one nation in the countries that made up the UK that was taking part in this year's World Cup, and therefore it was right to recognise the significance of that occasion. We obviously wished that there were more countries taking part in the World Cup. Unfortunately Northern Ireland, despite beating England, did not make it the World Cup, and unfortunately Scotland and Wales were in the same position.

Briefing took place at 7:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (0)

World Cup

The Prime Minister's Official Spokesman (PMOS) said that whilst stories of a Football Association tie being rushed to Downing Street were untrue the Prime Minister had written a letter to England Manager Sven-Goran Eriksson. It said that: "This is just to wish you and all of your team the best of luck in Germany. It's a great squad, well led and well managed and as you know, with everyone hoping for great things, that's a tremendous responsibility, but also a fantastic opportunity. Spirits and confidence are deservedly high. We will all be cheering you on. Good luck to you all."

Briefing took place at 7:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (0)

Knife Culture

Asked if the Prime Minister was concerned about radio programmes that encouraged knife culture, the PMOS replied that it was something that we would seriously want to think about, but he was not going to give a knee jerk response.

Briefing took place at 7:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (0)

Hosepipe Ban

Asked to comment on reports that Downing Street was flouting the hosepipe ban, the PMOS said that without wishing to lose some of the non-gardening members of the lobby, this was a story of a 'bowser with a douser'. In response to perplexed expressions from journalists the PMOS went on to say that we were fully complying with the hosepipe ban, even though as part of the royal parks Downing Street was technically exempt from the ban. We had invested in a small portable container called a bowser, which was essentially a very large watering can. It held approximately 6 watering cans worth of water. The gardener used the bowser with a trigger action douser which had more accurate spraying and minimised water wastage. Although it might look like a hosepipe, it wasn't.

Briefing took place at 7:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (0)

Water bowser/Gardening

Asked by the Times if the bowser was being used in every garden in Downing Street, or only in one particular one, the PMOS replied that Downing Street only had one small garden at the front, and another larger garden at the back.

Briefing took place at 7:00 | Read whole briefing | Comment (1)


Asked for a reaction to the European Council Report on rendition, the PMOS said there was no new evidence in the report and therefore he had nothing to add to his previous comments on the matter. Asked if the Government was acknowledging that some CIA flights had landed and taken off in Britain, the PMOS said that we had acknowledged that there were four requests on 1998, two of which were granted. Those were the only requests we had had. Nothing had changed. Asked if he was rejecting the claim that we were involved in the transportation of detainees through the UK, the PMOS said that we had set out the facts on this. He would not give publicity to a report which said nothing new.

Briefing took place at 7:00 | Read whole briefing | Comment (1)

Knife Crime

Asked if the Prime Minister agreed with the Leader of the Opposition that Radio 1 should stop playing certain types of Hip-hop music on Saturday nights because it was encouraging the 'knife culture', the PMOS said that this issue needed to be examined fully and a considered response given. He was not going to give a knee-jerk response on this.

Briefing took place at 7:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (5)


Asked where the Prime Minister stood on the argument between the Respect Party, the Police, and members of the Muslim Council concerning the methods employed by the Police during counter-terrorist operations, the PMOS said that as the Prime Minister said in his web-interview yesterday, he believed that everyone should support the Police in facing what was a very real threat. That was right and proper. It was only 11 months ago, to the day in fact, that the nature of that very real threat was all too obvious. The Prime Minister believed that was the view of everyone in our society, including the Muslim community. It was certainly the view expressed to him by members of the Muslim community. Put to him that no one had elected these self-appointed members of the Muslim community, the PMOS said that the Muslim community as a whole expressed its view not just through one outlet but through a variety of ways and was fully supportive of the police.

Briefing took place at 7:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (0)


Asked to respond to claims by Dr. Miller that the Private Finance Initiative was wasting the NHS's money and that there was too much money spent on consultancy, the PMOS said that we should be clear what Dr. Miller had said. He had said that it was important to recognise improvements, that the Government deserved credit for the extra money being put into the NHS, and that the deficit issue was not a crisis. The facts were that there had been 81 new hospitals opened since 1997, as a result of the PFI initiatives. Two Hundred & Fifty Thousand people had been treated in independent treatment centres. Furthermore if you looked in detail at Sir Ian Carruthers' report today he talked about an NHS which was improving greatly. That did not mean that it was perfect, it meant that the investment had resulted in real change. You could see that, whether you looked at the figures for heart operations, cancer treatment or A&E waiting times. That was what was important.

Briefing took place at 7:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (0)

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