NSC discusses Afghan situation
with special reference of Pakistan
First coalition govt since 1945 vows to take country to its destiny,
ID card scheme to be scrapped, cabinet’s first priority budget deficit
14, May 2010
LONDON: As a first working day of first British coalition government since 1945, Prime Minister David Cameron chaired the inaugural meeting of National Security Council (NSC) on Wednesday soon after addressing his first over-crowded press conference as a premier alongwith Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg at the lawn of 10-Downing Street.
A spokesman for 10-Downing Street, before the meeting, said the meeting will “discuss the situation in Afghanistan, Pakistan and review the terrorist threat to the UK”. But the statement, issued following the meeting did not mention the name of Pakistan and confined to Afghan situation.
The National Security Council convened for the first time in the Cabinet Room in 10 Downing Street. The meeting was chaired by the Prime Minister and attended by permanent members including Sir Peter Ricketts, the new National Security Adviser, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and Secretary of State for Defence Liam Fox.
Other participants were include Chancellor of the Exchequer, Foreign Secretary, Home Secretary, Secretary of State for International Development, Minister for Security, Minister for the Cabinet Office, Cabinet Secretary, Chief of the Defence Staff, National Security Advisor, Chair of the Joint Intelligence committee, the Director General of the Security Service and Director of GCHQ.
Speaking after the meeting, a Downing Street spokesman said: “The Prime Minister this evening chaired the first meeting of the newly-established National Security Council. The Prime Minister began the meeting by paying a full tribute to the UK’s armed forces and expressed his personal admiration and gratitude for their dedication and sacrifice.
“He then received briefings on the political and military situation in Afghanistan, including from his new National Security Adviser, Sir Peter Ricketts and from the Chief of the Defence Staff. The Prime Minister was then updated on the wider UK security situation.”
Informed sources claim that though nothing was mentioned about Pakistan, but it was certain that Pakistan would have also come under discussion as Afghan situation is directly and indirectly related to Pakistan with special reference of activities of Taliban and al-Qaeda.
Britain ushered in an extraordinary new political era Wednesday as a pair of rivals-turned-partners pledged to set aside their differences and tackle the country’s disastrous budget deficit, forming the first coalition government since World War II.
Newly minted Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron and his Liberal Democrat deputy Nick Clegg stood together in Downing Street’s sun-dappled garden to present a new face of British politics, pledging sweeping reforms to Parliament, civil liberties laws and on ties to Europe.
Both promised to make the partnership stick but the coalition could also easily fall apart, many voters have expressed anger that they cast ballots for one party and got two.
Rifts could form once the two parties start digging into policy areas where divides are glaringly obvious. The Conservatives want to curtail the inheritance tax while the Liberal Democrats want a complete overhaul of the electoral system. While the Conservatives have said they will back a referendum on electoral reform they have vowed to campaign against it. The change could steal Conservative seats in years to come.
In a moment of telling comedy, Cameron acknowledged he had once told an interviewer the best joke he had ever heard was ”Nick Clegg” the name of the deputy premier now sharing the stage.
”Did you really say that?” Clegg said, pretending to walk away from the podium before Cameron comically implored him to come back With handshakes, smiles and a sprinkling of jokes, Clegg and Cameron showcased their pact, which ousted ex-leader Gordon Brown and his Labour Party after 13 years in office.
They also vowed that the partnership would stick so they could deliver the types of changes voters had demanded. The one-time foes banded together after Britain’s election last week denied all parties a majority leaving the country with its first hung Parliament since 1974.
The agreement between the two parties reached early on Wednesday five days after an inconclusive election, ended 13 years of rule by the centre-left Labour Party under Tony Blair and his successor Gordon Brown.
ID cards scheme to be axed:
The £5 billion national identity card scheme will be consigned to the scrapheap as a result of the new coalition Government, the Home Office confirmed
Axing the controversial scheme and associated identity databases were key manifesto commitments for both the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats.
Senior ministers must now choose how to withdraw several thousand cards already in circulation after individuals paid £30 and handed over personal information.
The majority have been handed to foreign nationals, but people in the north-west England, young people in London and airport workers were also able to apply. Anyone holding a card can still use it for identification, banking and travel within Europe.