Press release

Number 10 Press Briefing: afternoon from 19 January 2011

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

From the Prime Minister's spokesperson on: Hizb ut-Tahrir and Iraq inquiry.

Hizb ut-Tahrir

Asked what the position was on, the Prime Minister’s Spokesman (PMS) said that the Prime Minister made his views on this organisation clear when he was in Opposition and his view remained the same.  Hizb ut-Tahrir was an organisation that the Government had significant concerns about and we were closely monitoring activities.  However, it was not our practice to comment on whether or not an organisation was or was not under consideration for proscription.  A decision to proscribe an organisation needed to be based on evidence that it was concerned with terrorism as defined by the Terrorism Act 2000.

Asked what the particular concerns were with this organisation, the PMS said that it was best to speak to the Home Office for details.  We didn’t routinely comment on whether an organisation was being considered for proscription.

Asked if the Prime Minister was happy with the way the law was operating in terms of proscription, the PMS said that we had a robust counter terrorist strategy in place.  More generally there was a review underway on counter terrorism and that was due to report shortly.

Asked if the Prime Minister had spoken to the Home Secretary about this, the PMS said that the Home Secretary was aware of the Prime Minister’s views.

Iraq Inquiry

Asked if the Prime Minister had been signalling at PMQs today that his view was that Tony Blair should lift the ban on certain documents being published, the PMS said that the Prime Minister had been making the point that Tony Blair was in front of the Iraq Inquiry on Friday and he could, if he wished, explain the nature of his correspondence with President Bush.  The decision on whether or not to release the documents was for the Cabinet Office, but Mr Blair was aware of what was in those documents.

Asked if Tony Blair could authorise the decision to release the documents, the PMS said that it was a decision for the Cabinet Secretary.  When the Cabinet Secretary made these decisions he consulted the Ministers, or previous Ministers concerned, which was one of the issues he considered when coming to a decision.

Asked if the Prime Minister was encouraging Mr Blair to reveal the detail of the documents, the PMS said that the Prime Minister had always said that the inquiry should be a transparent process.  The Prime Minister had been making the point at PMQs that Mr Blair was in the position of knowing what was in the correspondence and therefore he would be able to say more about it if he wished.  The Prime Minister was not in that position as he did not have access to the documents.