» Friday, December 15, 2006

Turkey and Middle East

Asked if the Prime Minister accepted that what had been agreed in Brussels on Turkey in net terms was a negative rather than a positive, the PMOS replied that the Prime Minister believed the important point was that this Summit had kept the momentum going. Of the 35 chapters, 28 were still on going, that was important. The momentum to addressing the concerns that would allow the other 7 chapters to be addressed was being looked at. Turkey was aware of the need to keep going. Turkey had expressed its disappointment, but equally Turkey was very much still in the game. So therefore the momentum towards accession was being maintained. He added that part of the reason for going to Turkey was to underline our support for that continuing process. Part of it was also because it was recognised, particularly at the moment, that Turkey was a vital player in the Middle East region as a whole and that it has relationships with other people in the Middle East region that were important. Turkey had expressed its disappointment, but they were very much still in the game, this was what mattered.

Briefing took place at 9:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (0)

BAE/Saudi Arabia

Asked if the Prime Minister had met any executives or representatives from BAe in the last three months, the PMOS replied that he was not aware that he had.

Briefing took place at 9:00 | Read whole briefing | Comment (1)


Asked if the British Government would tell the Turks what they have to do in relation to Cyprus, the PMOS said we understand that Turkey does have obligations as part of its accession to the European Union, we understand that there are concerns about whether in some respects those obligations are being met and it is correct to assume that Cyprus is one of those obligations. In terms of what we need to do is find a way in which Turkey will meet these obligations and in the accession process can continue to move forward. Again he PMOS emphasised that what was also important was Turkey's role in the wider Middle East.

Briefing took place at 9:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (0)

Loans Inquiry

Asked if the loans issue came up in discussions with other leaders at the EU Council, the PMOS said he was not aware if it had and that there were probably issues there that were discussed along side broader issues such as the Middle East.

Briefing took place at 9:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (0)

» Thursday, December 14, 2006

Police Inquiry

The Prime Minister's Official Spokesman (PMOS) briefed journalists that the Prime Minister had spoken to police this morning The PMOS said that it was not under caution and he was not accompanied by a lawyer.

Briefing took place at 16:01 | Read whole briefing | Comments (3)

Police Inquiry

Asked if she was aware that the police were talking to the Prime Minister when she left Downing Street for this morning's briefing, the Prime Minister's Spokesman replied that Tom Kelly the Prime Minister's Official Spokesperson (PMOS) had said all along that he would tell the Lobby if the Prime Minister had been interviewed by the police. The point at which the PMOS knew the interview had taken place was about 20 minutes before he briefed the Lobby to that effect in the Lower Gallery at 1.30pm that afternoon.

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

Forthcoming Business

The Leader said that, on Monday, December 18, the House would debate the second reading of the Digital Switchover (Disclosure of Information) Bill (Tessa Jowell and Shaun Woodward speaking for the Government). On Tuesday, December 19, MPs would discuss the motion for the Christmas Recess Adjournment (Nigel Griffiths). Business for the week after the recess would be: Monday, January 8 - second reading of the Statistics and Registration Service Bill (John Healey); Tuesday, January 9 - remaining stages of the Welfare Reform Bill (Jim Murphy); Wednesday, January 10 - Opposition Day (2nd Allotted Day): a debate on an Opposition motion, subject to be announced; Thursday, January 11 - a debate on Social Exclusion on a motion for the Adjournment of the House (Hilary Armstrong and Pat McFadden); Friday, January 12 - the House would not sit. Provisional business for the following week: Monday, January 15 - second reading of the Planning-Gain Supplement (Preparations) Bill (HMT Minister).

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

Foreign Affairs debate/Iraq

Asked if there would be a substantive motion, the Leader said that it would be on a motion for the Adjournment of the House, which was the usual - but not exclusive - basis for foreign policy debates. Mr Straw said that, as he had explained to the House, the debate would be on foreign policy, focusing - but not exclusively - on Iraq, since there could be other developments before than. Questioned whether there should not be a vote on the impact of the Iraq Study Group report, Mr Straw said that it was an important study. However, the ISG had not been established by President Bush but by two NGOs - foreign policy trusts. It was in no sense a Congressional inquiry or an inquiry by the US executive.

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


The Leader, in response to a question, said he had nothing to add to the earlier comments of the PMOS and the PMS. In response to further questions, he thanked journalists for their ingenious line of questioning but said he would resist their invitations. He said he personally had learned about the police visit later in the day, but the purpose of Cabinet meetings was not to discuss ministerial diaries.

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

Party funding/Sir Hayden Phillips

The Leader said that Sir Hayden was continuing his deliberations, which were now on the penultimate if not the last lap. Sir Hayden had produced two indications - not proposals - of some of the key issues involved. Mr Straw said that, relating to caps on donations, the issue had been around for a long time. They were used in the US, where there were no caps on spending. However, in some other countries such as Canada, there were caps on both donations and spending. The Leader noted that the parties were now involved in debate with Sir Hayden about the appropriate balance. The crucial thing - as he (Mr Straw) had said publicly - was that all parties worked towards ending the "arms race" on spending. The Leader said it had been thought that this goal had been achieved with the Neill Committee, which formed part of previous legislation, the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000.

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

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