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No. 10 Morning Press Briefing From 30 Nov 2007

Morning press briefing from 30 November 2007

Briefing from the Prime Minister's Spokesman on: Party funding and Sudan.

Party Funding

Asked how the Prime Minister would characterise his relationship with Harriet Harman, the Prime Minister's Spokesman (PMS) replied that the Prime Minister was fully focused on the business of government and had made clear that he was keen that all the issues regarding party political donations were investigated thoroughly. He was fully supportive of the Leader of the House.

Asked if the Prime Minister had had any contact with the Metropolitan Police, the PMS replied no and reminded journalists that the investigation had not yet started.

Put repeatedly that the last time there was an issue with party funding the lobby journalists were not kept fully informed and asked if journalists could be actively informed when something occurs, the PMS said that she did not want to go back over old ground but she did remember very clear reasons as to why the last situation was handled in the way it was. She went on to remind journalists that this was a party political issue. The PMS also said that she could not imagine a situation where it would not be the case that lobby were informed regarding the Prime Minister's contact with the police. She was sure that there would be discussions between No 10 officials and the Chairman of the lobby in due course regarding these processes.

Asked if the Prime Minister had taken any legal advice, the PMS replied no. As she had said, the investigation was yet to begin but the Prime Minister had been very clear that he welcomed any further investigations into this issue and would ensure complete cooperation throughout.

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Asked if Jon Mendelsohn had a desk at No 10, the PMS said no, he did not have the use of any official resources.


Asked if the Foreign Office accepted that Gillian Gibbons must serve a further ten days in jail, the PMS said that, as was known, the Foreign Secretary met with the Sudanese ambassador again last night and expressed in the strongest terms our concern regarding the continued detention of Gillian Gibbons; we were doing all we could do ensure her release. There was intense activity ongoing but it was not helpful for the PMS to get into the detail of that at the moment. The Prime Minister had spoken to the close family member of Ms Gibbons' again last night.

Asked for an indication of what the Prime Minister said, the PMS replied that the Prime Minister would have set out our concerns and also the fact that we were doing all we could to ensure her release.

Asked if there were any further contacts planned with Sudan, the PMS said there was ongoing contact at many levels and that we would keep journalists updated as to whether there were any further meetings planned for the Foreign Secretary.


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