Page last updated at 16:55 GMT, Friday, 28 November 2008

Cabinet discusses Mumbai attacks

Gordon Brown chairs cabinet meeting in Leeds
The meeting was dominated by the situation in Mumbai

Gordon Brown has chaired a Cabinet meeting in Leeds dominated by the government's response to the Mumbai attacks and the economic situation.

Foreign Secretary David Miliband briefed ministers on developments in the Indian city where police are still battling gunmen at several sites.

Mr Brown said there was "no evidence" to back up reports that some of the attackers were of British origin.

Earlier, Mr Brown spoke to local business people about the economy.

Indian speculation

The Leeds gathering, the second Cabinet meeting outside London in the past two months, took place at the Royal Armouries Museum in the West Yorkshire city.

The meeting was dominated by the still unfolding situation in Mumbai, where one Briton was killed and at least seven injured in a wave of attacks on high-profile locations in the city.

Mr Brown said the government was "doing everything in its power" to help British citizens caught up in the violence.

Amid reports that some of the attackers may be British, Mr Brown said people should be "very careful" about speculation of this sort.

He said the Indian prime minister had made no mention of this during their talks on Friday.

British security sources have told the BBC they are asking their Indian counterparts for information following a report on Indian news channel NDTV that there were British citizens among the militants.

Ministers also discussed the pre-Budget report and finalised the detail of their legislative programme for the next Parliament, which will be outlined in the Queen's Speech on Wednesday.

Ahead of Friday's meeting, Chancellor Alistair Darling and Chief Secretary to the Treasury Yvette Cooper attended business events in the region while Gordon Brown took part in a roundtable discussion with members of the public about the economy.

At the session, Mr Brown said he believed the UK would "come through the downturn a lot better than many other countries".

Mr Brown also visited the headquarters of Halifax bank, where staff expressed concerns about possible job losses after its proposed merger with Lloyds TSB.

Later on Friday Schools Secretary Ed Balls unveiled funding for after-school facilities for sport and music.

October's Cabinet meeting in Birmingham was the first away from London or Chequers since 1921.



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