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Last Updated: Monday, 29 November 2004, 14:30 GMT
Key points: Blair news conference
Here are the key points of Tony Blair's monthly news conference on 29 November, 2004:

David Blunkett allegations

  • Mr Blair said all politicians were entitled to a private life and he had no doubt that Mr Blunkett would be exonerated over claims that he abused his position to help to help his ex-lover, Kimberly Quinn.

  • The prime minister insisted he had "absolutely every confidence" in Mr Blunkett, saying: "He has been, is and will continue to be a first class home secretary."

    ID cards

  • With the ID cards bill being published on Monday afternoon, Mr Blair argued the scheme would "protect rather than erode civil liberties".

  • The cards would help secure the UK's borders, tackle crime and ensure public services were not abused.

  • Those misusing the ID cards database would face tough penalties, he said, with anybody convicted of tampering with it jailed for up to 10 years.

  • Any staff involved in administering the scheme who improperly disclosed information would face up to two years in jail.

    Iraq and the Black Watch

  • Mr Blair urged the media to give more coverage to positive developments in Iraq and said the Iraqi elections would create a "completely different atmosphere."

  • There were no plans to send extra British troops to Iraq, he said, arguing that the focus was on building up the capability of Iraq forces.

  • Mr Blair insisted no decision had been made on the future of the Black Watch and other historic regiments, amid fears they could be merged.

    He admitted the move could be a political decision but ministers would work with the Army to get the right solution.

  • "It is not the case that politicians are trying to push the Army in a particular direction," he added.

    Gordon Brown

  • The prime minister said he was "mystified" by stories about him sidelining his chancellor and said they were working closely ahead of next week's pre-Budget report.

  • Mr Blair denied Mr Brown had claimed the British economy was superior to others in Europe but he argued Labour should be proud of its economic record.

    Election date

  • There is speculation the next general election will be on 5 May 2005.

  • Mr Blair celebrates his 52nd birthday on 6 May but said he had no plans to mark the occasion a day earlier. He expected to be in the North East - on a routine constituency visit.

    Middle East

  • There was a "window of opportunity" in the next few weeks for the Middle East peace process, said Mr Blair.

  • "My preoccupation is to make sure that we have a clear way forward for a proper, functioning Palestinian state based on the principles of democracy, transparency, freedom, security - not just for the Palestinians themselves, but obviously for Israel too," he said.




  • SEE ALSO:
    Blair gives Blunkett his backing
    29 Nov 04 |  UK Politics
    Blair presses case for ID cards
    29 Nov 04 |  UK Politics



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