Asked whether the Prime Minister would talk to Angela Merkel about a real terms cut in the EU budget when they meet next week, the PMS said we had argued a freeze. The Prime Minister had long made his position clear and in 2010 he had written a joint letter with Angela Merkel and the leaders of France, Netherlands and Finland calling for the EU budget to rise by no more than the rate of inflation. Asked whether the PM agreed with Nick Clegg that there was no point at attempting to repatriate powers from the EU the PMS said that we had previously been successful in doing so, for example, getting the UK out of the EU bailout fund.
Dame Helen Ghosh comments
Asked about Dame Helen Ghosh’s reported comments the PMS said that they did not accord with the facts. The Prime Minister has a number of women in his ministerial team and Number 10 teams. Responding to a question on a fall in the number of women permanent secretaries, the PMS said that the civil service was trying to recruit more women to these posts. We had made progress on the number of female senior civil servants, but we wanted to do more.