Asked what the PM’s view was of the legal setback over the deportation of Abu Qatada, the Prime Minister’s Spokesperson (PMS) said that the government is disappointed with the outcome and will now request permission to appeal directly from the Supreme Court. The PMS added that the government remains committed to deporting him and will continue to work with the Jordanian authorities to address the outstanding legal issues preventing his deportation. Asked whether this was raised at the National Security Council (NSC), the PMS said that government doesn’t comment on the discussions or the exact timings of the NSC. The PMS was also asked what contact the PM had had with the Home Secretary on the matter, the PMS said that he talks to her all the time.
Asked whether the issue of Afghan interpreters had been discussed at the NSC and whether any decision had been taken on this, the PMS said that he couldn’t comment on the content or discussions or outcomes of NSC meetings. On the issue of locally engaged staff, there are discussions and considerations being given to that in the context of our wider policy on troop withdrawal.
Asked what the PM’s advice was to TUC members attending tomorrow’s meeting who are considering a general strike, the PMS made a general point that members of the government do not take the view that strikes are right for the people of this country, or for the economy.
Asked whether there had been any meetings amongst senior members of the Cabinet about a change in economic strategy, the PMS said that government has an absolutely clear economic strategy from which it is not going to budge. The PMS also pointed to comments the PM and Chancellor have recently made on economic strategy.