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No. 10 Morning Press Briefing From 20 Nov 2007

Briefing from the British Prime Minister's Spokesman on: Cabinet, CHOGM/Pakistan, Lord Darzi and Football.

Morning press briefing from 20 November 2007


The Prime Minister's Spokesman (PMS) began the briefing with a brief readout from this morning's Cabinet meeting. There was a discussion on skills and welfare led by Peter Hain and John Denham, in the general context of the long term challenges that need to be met in order to face the future needs of the country and to meet people's rising aspirations.

Asked if Northern Rock was discussed at Cabinet, the PMS replied that it was not.

Asked if the Counter Terrorism Bill was raised at Cabinet, the PMS replied that again, this was not discussed.

Asked if anything else was discussed, the PMS replied that there was a further discussion on public health protection.

Asked if "British jobs for British workers" was brought up during the discussion on skills, the PMS replied that this issue was not discussed specifically.


Asked if the Cabinet had discussed the position the Prime Minister would be taking at CHOGM, particularly over Zimbabwe and Pakistan, the PMS replied that this was not discussed at Cabinet this morning, but obviously there had been ongoing discussions in advance of CHOGM. Regarding developments in Pakistan, the Government's position remained the same, that we expect a restoration of constitutional order as soon as possible in order for there to be free and fair elections.

Asked if we would support the suspension of Pakistan from the Commonwealth, the PMS replied that we should wait until we get to such a position arises before speculating on that. But the Government had already welcomed action taken by the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG), and the statement that they issued earlier this month.

Asked if this statement was discussed at Cabinet, the PMS replied that the statement was discussed and agreed at a meeting on 12th November that was attended by government ministers. Pakistan was something that was being discussed widely amongst relevant government ministers.

Lord Darzi

Asked for any details of how Lord Darzi came to the rescue in the House of Lords last night with his heart massage, the PMS replied that the Prime Minister had been briefed on what had happened in the Lords last night, but journalists would need to speak to Lord Darzi's office to get the full account. Obviously we were relieved that the Lord in question was now recovering.


Asked if the Prime Minister would be attending the football tomorrow night, the PMS replied that diary for tomorrow was still to be finalised. The Prime Minister had been invited by the FA, but a final decision had not been taken. Tomorrow evening there would be a lot of preparation in advance of CHOGM, particularly on Pakistan, but that we would keep journalists updated.

Asked what the Prime Minister thought of the refereeing performance of the Scotland game, the PMS replied that she was not the right person to ask that question. Surprisingly it was not something that she had discussed with the Prime Minister.

Asked if she would ask the Prime Minister on behalf of the Lobby, the PMS said, no, she didn't think she would.


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