» Tuesday, January 22, 2008


Asked how much of the Cabinet meeting was taken up with discussions on economic issues, the PMS said that there was a lot to discuss at Cabinet today. Geoff Hoon gave the usual update of Parliamentary business for the next week; there was an update on counter-terrorism by Jacqui Smith; there was a discussion on local area agreements, i.e. the relationship between Central Government and Local Government lead by Hazel Blears; there had been a discussion on the obesity strategy lead by Alan Johnson and Ed Balls and they had then spent 15-20 minutes towards the end on Northern Rock and global financial markets.

Asked for a flavour of the update on counter-terrorism by Jacqui Smith, the PMS replied that it was along the lines of the fact that the differences between the various participants in the debate were much smaller than was often portrayed, including by some of the participants in that debate. There seemed to be general agreement on many of the principles and most of the people involved in the debate appeared to accept that there were circumstances beyond which it may be necessary to hold people beyond 28 days. Most people appeared to accept that in order to detain people beyond 28 days, there would need to be some sort of trigger mechanism. That could be through the Civil-Contingencies Act, which the Government thought was a rather blunt instrument or there may be better ways of achieving the same ends. The PMS added that most people thought that we needed to have appropriate Parliamentary standards in place and that there should be an upper limit. Asked how long was spent on the discussion, the PMS said that it was discussed for 15-20 minutes. The PMS said that people would expect a significant discussion ahead of a major piece of legislation.

original source.

Briefing took place at 16:45 | Search for related news

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