Well, not quite a beginner, beginner. Basically, my mate is picking up guitar again after a few years out and he needs a complete setup. He has about £250 to spend. Looking at stuff which would suit U2 style; new wave and light punk. Used is not a problem, just depends on what he can get his hands on.

Squier Strat, then get a cheap amp. With left over money, get a multi-effects pedal because i think stuff like that uses them. Search here for reviews on some, i would'nt know what pedal to get since i don't play that
Well, I know for a fact The Edge uses an AC30 with a huge array of pedals and effects. However, a cheap amp will sound like shit, there's no getting past that.
Yeah, like everyone else said. HSS or HSH strat, and a Vox AC30 (U2 used the AC30, it's also great for punk) plus whatever effect pedals you want.