» Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Forest Gate

Asked if the Prime Minister still backed the Police 101% after the statements today of the individuals arrested in Forest Gate, the Prime Minister's Official Spokesman (PMOS) said that that the Prime Minister's view had not changed. As he had said yesterday, if the police and the security agencies had failed to act on the intelligence they had received then people would have, quite rightly, been critical. The Prime Minister recognised that there were always difficult judgements to be made in cases like this. We supported the police and the security agencies in making those difficult judgements. People should keep in mind that those difficult judgements were against a backdrop of what continued to be a very real threat to this city and this country.

Briefing took place at 15:00 | Read whole briefing | Comment (1)

OECD Report

The Prime Minister's Official Spokesman (PMOS) told journalists that the OECD report that was published today had said that the UK had the highest rate of employment amongst all G7 countries. The UK had an employment rate of 72.6% on OECD figures, which was ahead of Canada, the US, Japan, France, Germany and Italy, and the UK had the best combination of employment rates, unemployment and inactivity rates in the G7. The report also acknowledged that initiatives such as JobCentre Plus, the New Deal, Job Seekers Allowance had been amongst the best in the world at meeting the challenges of removing barriers to work.

Briefing took place at 15:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (0)

Unduly Lenient Sentences

Asked if the Prime Minister was upset with the Attorney General for expressing his concerns about John Reid's comments yesterday concerning sentencing, the PMOS said absolutely not. There were different roles within government and it was important not to confuse those roles. As he had said this morning, there was an independent judicial process within this country. That was something which we should not only recognise but also be very proud of. We had a judiciary which was not subject to political pressure or any other kind of pressure, which was something to value, treasure and be proud of. However whenever judicial decisions were taken that in some way seemed to be out of kilter with the public's notions of what was right or wring then there were grounds for legitimate concern to be expressed. It was entirely appropriate that the Home Secretary articulated that concern. Equally however, it was a fact, and should remain a fact, that the Home Secretary was not personally involved in the judicial process which decided the outcomes of cases.

Briefing took place at 15:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (0)


Asked what the Prime Minister's feelings were about judges and lenient sentencing, and was it the fault of the judges or the politicians, and what was going to be done about it, the PMOS said that he was not going to comment on an individual case, as people would understand. Firstly, it was important to recognise that we did have an independent judicial system, and that it was free from political and other pressures. The Government believed that was a very important principle. Secondly, where there appeared to be a disconnect between the public's common sense view of right and wrong and how it saw that reflected in judicial decisions, then it was right and proper for the Home Secretary to articulate that concern. That was why John Reid asked the Attorney General to consider this case. The Attorney General, as a matter of course, did consider such cases, and did so on the legal basis. It was therefore entirely proper that any decisions about whether to refer in cases such as this were made on due legal process.

Briefing took place at 15:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (0)


Asked if the Prime Minister would take part in the European Council group photo on Thursday evening if it clashed with the England Football team's game against Trinidad & Tobago, the PMOS said that the Prime Minister would be doing all he could to support England on Thursday whilst playing a full part in the discussions at the summit. Asked if he might have to miss dinner, the PMOS said that he would not miss dinner. Asked if he meant that the Prime Minister would be having takeaway food, the PMOS said this had been the subject of much scrutiny but if you examined the schedule for the summit you would find that takeaway food wouldn't be necessary. Asked if the Prime Minister agreed with the substitution of Michael Owen last Saturday, the PMOS said that as the Prime Minister had said yesterday, there were certain decisions that thankfully weren't his to make.

Briefing took place at 15:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (0)

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