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Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Prime Minister Gordon Brown's Final Press Conference before Recess at Downing Street

The Prime Minister was quite relaxed, I observed, watching him from a few feet away in the Downing Street press conference. Some serious questions on helicopters and the economy were interspersed with lighter ones on football and holidays. Such as would he like to holiday in Berlusconi's villa? (a smiling demur by way of an answer).

As always, the big TV boys sat in the front row and the BBC's Nick Robinson did nothing to shake off his ' Downing Street pet hack' title (given by his ITV competitor) by being the first the PM picked to ask a question.

Le Monde was there, as well as Africa Today whose reporter danced a little jig outside No 10 while we waited. (She also took ages to ask her question, the PM had to stop her repeating herself because she was going on and on).

There was a Chinese Television contingent but unusually the reporters didn't speak today. The Japanese asked lots about the PM's predictions concerning their forthcoming election; a topic he avoided dealing with directly.

My question was on Afghanistan and Pakistan. I asked if the PM wanted to line up with Admiral Mike Mullen, US Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff in agreeing that the map for Afghan battle space needed to be redrawn to include Pakistan. I also asked how that was going to be done. Gordon Brown answered me fully and courteously.

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