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No. 10 Morning Press Briefing From 17 Dec 2007

Briefing from the Prime Minister's Spokesman on: Data Security, Pakistan, Prime Minister's Morale, Tripartite Structure and the Governor of the Bank of England.

Morning Press Briefing from Monday 17 December 2007

Data Security

Asked if the new measures re data security related to Government or just to HMRC, the PMS said that they related to Government; the O'Donnell review was about looking at all departments.

Asked if anyone was expected to resign today, the PMS replied that he had not heard any suggestion that anyone would be resigning today.

Asked if the recommendations regarding data would have immediate effect, the PMS said we should wait and see.

Asked if the missing discs had been found, the PMS said that the Chancellor would be updating people on the situation regarding the discs in his statement this afternoon.

Asked if the O'Donnell and Poynter reports were both interim reports, the PMS replied yes.


Asked about the situation in Pakistan regarding the escape of Rashid Rauf and whether or not the Prime Minister had been speaking to Pakistani authorities, the PMS said that the High Commission in Islamabad was in close touch with the Pakistani authorities about the escape; the High Commissioner spoke yesterday to the Interim Interior Minister of Pakistan and assured that Rauf's recapture was a priory and that they had set up an inquiry into how the escape had happened.

Prime Minister's MoraleAsked how the Prime Minister's morale was, the PMS replied that the Prime Minister's morale was very good, as you would expect.

Tripartite Structure

Asked if it was recognised that the Treasury and the Chancellor were looking to gain more control of the way crises were dealt with and that there should be a clear chain of command rather than a battle of command between the Treasury, the Financial Services Authority (FSA) and the Bank of England, the PMS said, as the Chancellor had done, that we would not come forward with any proposals in this area until the Treasury Select Committee, which was also looking at the matter, had completed its investigation, (expected in the New Year). The Chancellor was also appearing before the Treasury Select Committee in the New Year.

Asked if it was the case that the Prime Minister was determined that the tripartite structure that he put in place would not change, the PMS said that the Chancellor had already said that we were looking at the operation of the tripartite system, as were the Treasury Select Committee, and that, as the Chancellor had also said, he intended to wait for the Treasury Select Committee to report first; he would not bring forward any of his proposals until we had heard what the Treasury Select Committee had to say on the matter.

Put that in that case there was a distinction between the operation of the structure and looking at the structure, the PMS referred journalists to what the Chancellor had previously said that there was no question of any distinction between the Prime Minister and the Chancellor on this; they were on exactly the same page.

Asked if we were on the same page as the Bank of England, the PMS said that the Treasury and the Bank of England were working extremely closely together on this and all other relevant matters, as you would expect.

Governor Of The Bank Of England

Asked if we were disappointed that it appeared that the Governor of the Bank of England had been briefing Irwin Stelzer of the Sunday Times, the PMS said that he was not aware that that was what the Bank of England were saying, in fact, the Bank had been pouring cold water on some of those suggestions over the weekend.

Put that Mervyn King and Irwin Stelzer had had lunch last week, the PMS said that that was a matter for the Bank but that the Bank had been denying the suggestions contained in the Sunday Times report yesterday.

Asked where we were in terms of the re-appointment of the Governor of the Bank of England, the PMS replied that, as we had always said, the normal process would run its course.

Asked if the Prime Minister had full confidence in Mervyn King, the PMS replied that of course the Prime Minister had full confidence in the Governor of the Bank of England whom he believed was and is performing a first-rate job.

Asked if the Chancellor also had full confidence in Mervyn King, the PMS replied yes.


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