» Thursday, June 8, 2006

Franco- British Summit

The Prime Minister's Official Spokesman (PMOS) confirmed that there would be a joint press conference with President Chirac tomorrow afternoon. Asked what the themes of the summit would be, the PMOS said that the summit was coming a week ahead of the next European Council so that would form part of the discussion. That Council would take forward the Hampton Court agenda, which had been encapsulated in President Barroso's Citizen's Agenda. The Prime Minister had also discussed this with Prime Minister Prodi last week. The issue of European energy policy would focus on security, diversity of supply, further liberalisation of markets and strengthening dialogue, for example between the EU and Russia. Defence cooperation would focus on the next steps of joint aircraft carriers. Climate change discussion would look at the post Gleneagles dialogue with an eye on the Mexico summit in Oct. On Africa we also wanted to build on progress already made, which in turn leads into the WTO and the need for progress on that.

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

Leader of Commons, Rt Hon Jack Straw MP Briefing

Mr Straw noted that it had been customary until the end of 2002 for the Leader of the House to speak at the briefing about forthcoming business. He had now decided to resume the practice.

Briefing took place at 8:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (11)

Forthcoming Business

The Leader drew attention to the second reading of the Fraud Bill on June 12 (Mike O'Brien would lead for the Government); Lords amendments to the Work and Families Bill on June 13 (Jim Fitzpatrick) and consideration of Lords amendments to the Electoral Administration Bill (Bridget Prentice); on Wednesday, there would be an all-day debate on European Affairs as a pre-curser to the European Council next week (Margaret Beckett opening, Geoff Hoon closing). The Commons would debate the second reading of the Commissioner for Older People (Wales) Bill on Thursday (Peter Hain). The Government would be supporting two Private Members' Bills scheduled for debate on Friday, June 16: International Development (Reporting and Transparency) Bill, which was first in the list, followed by the Crown Employment (Nationality) Bill.

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


The Leader was asked, in relation to the Electoral Administration Bill, if he was open to the idea of individual registration. He said the Government had accepted a significant change in relation to postal ballots, whereby voters would have to give individual identifiers. Decisions had yet to be made in respect of the amendments passed by the House of Lords in respect of individual identifiers for registration, including signatures. He said that, while it was argued that such a step could eliminate fraud, the argument against involved the difficulties which could face households, such as the practical issue of obtaining the signatures of absent students. One issue was whether the problems of doing so would lead to a drop in registration. Another issue overall was whether there would be a serious problem of personation at the polling stations. The Government accepted that there were difficulties over postal ballots. The question was whether there were sufficient difficulties over personal voting to justify such measures. He stressed that decisions had yet to be taken. The Government had to make a judgement about the Lords amendment. The major problem had been over postal ballots rather than personation in polling stations. The Government had to examine the evidence. Lord Falconer was leading on it.

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

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