Past simple vs Present simple


“Speaking at the Guildhall last night, the prime minister said that fighting crime was his top priority.”

Could I say “… the prime minister said fighting crime IS his top priority” (using “is” rather than “was”)?

Thanks in advance. Cheerio


If you use ‘was’, you are using the conventional reported speech format. If the ‘reporter’ uses ‘is’, the statement becomes more immediate/actual.


Thanks for your responses, Beeesneees and Alan.

I find that “is” is more natural and more logical - but I’m not a native speaker, of course :slight_smile: