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No. 10 Morning Press Briefing From 19 Nov 2007

Briefing from the Prime Minister's Spokesman on: Northern Rock, Sports Legacy Annoucement, Fiona Phillips, Environment Speech, Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill and Football.

Morning press briefing from 19 November 2007

Northern Rock

Put that the Treasury had said spoken today of a possible residual reliability to the tax payer and that the only way the Government could get its money back would be to call in the secured loan and bankrupt Northern Rock, the Prime Minister's Spokesman (PMS) replied that he thought that quite a few assumptions had been made in order to reach that final proposition. The Treasury made their statement this morning; this was a highly market-sensitive matter and the Chancellor would make a statement to the House of Commons this afternoon.

Sports Legacy Annoucement

Asked what the Tessa Jowell and James Purnell announcement was about, the PMS said that it was best to check with DCMS. It was an announcement on sports legacy so it sounded like it was something to do with the legacy from the Olympics but it was best to check with DCMS.

Fiona Phillips

Asked if it had been confirmed that the Prime Minister was looking to offer a job to Fiona Phillips, the PMS said that we would not comment on individuals and referred journalists back to previous statements that had been made by the Prime Minister where he had said that he would welcome all good men and women of talent who wanted to make a contribution to public life. The PMS said he would not get into commenting on every single individual name that came up in the future.

Environment Speech

Asked if the Prime Minister's speech on the environment was a response to the report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the PMS said that he did not think it was a specific response to that. The Prime Minister responded on behalf of the Government on Saturday specifically to the IPCC report. The speech today was the first major speech the Prime Minister will have given as Prime Minister on the environment. What people were seeing was the Prime Minister going through issue by issue, comprehensively setting his views on some of the big issues of the day. Today he was talking about the environment; last week he gave a major speech on foreign policy; the week before he was talking about education; the week before that he was talking about Liberty and the Governance of Britain. He was setting out, across the piece in a comprehensive step-by-step way, what he saw as the future direction on a range of important policy matters.

Asked about the short-term and long-term goals, the PMS said that Hilary Benn had answered that specific question this morning; obviously we needed to set out what we thought our long-term objectives were but we also needed to set out some examples of the sort of practical steps that may have to be taken to deliver on that year by year.

Put that we were missing our targets, the PMS said that what the Prime Minister was doing today was seeing out a series of longer-term objectives and setting out a comprehensive strategy as to how we might deliver on those.

Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill

Asked if the Government was considering allowing a free vote on the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill, the PMS said that the position was that this was a Government Bill and would be treated as such.


Asked if the Prime Minister was going to be at the England v Croatia game on Wednesday, the PMS said that there were no current plans.

Asked why that was, as he had gone to the Scotland game at the weekend, the PMS said that the Prime Minister could not go to every match but obviously these things were kept under review. The PMS went on to say that some people had argued that the Prime Minister had not necessarily been the best of omens so far but he would let others make that judgement.


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