Aircraft carrier policy, alcohol strategy and Asma Al-Assad were among topics discussed at the daily 10 Downing Street press briefing.
Aircraft Carrier Policy
Asked whether the lobby could expect a statement on aircraft carrier policy before the end of the week, the PMS referred the journalist to the Ministry of Defence.
Asked whether the PM was surprised by the alcohol industry’s response to the minimum pricing policy, the PMS said that the overall strategy is to cut down on binge drinking. The Government is consulting on the proposals and wanting views on what the minimum price should be.
Asked whether the Government was expecting legal challenges on the minimum pricing plan, the PMS said that the Government was currently consulting and was not going to speculate on views.
Asked whether the PM had unanimous backing from the Cabinet for this policy, the PMS said that this was a Government policy.
Asked why Andrew Lansley was not publicising the policy alongside Theresa May, given binge drinking had health implications, the PMS said this was a Home Office lead on this particular policy. The Government is trying to reduce a culture that has lead to alcohol related crimes and hospital admissions but this is a Home Office consultation.
Asked why the Oral Statement on the Government’s Alcohol Strategy appeared to have been brought forward, the PMS said that the Government had always planned to publish its Alcohol Strategy in due course and the intention was to publish before the Easter recess.
Asked whether the PMS could confirm Asma Al-Assad would be covered by recent EU sanctions on President Assad’s family, the PMS said she could not comment on individuals.
Asked whether the Government would respond to calls to suspend all contracts with A4E, the PMS said that when allegations came to light the Government launched a formal investigation. Alongside this, the Government said it would conduct a full audit of all current contracts with A4E, but clearly the Government wanted to ensure there was no evidence of systematic fraud. Regarding current allegations, the PMS referred the journalist to the Department of Work and Pensions.
Asked whether the PM had a reaction to the police officers mauled by a dangerous dog, and whether the Dangerous Dogs Act should be reviewed, the PMS said that the Government was aware of the incident. Defra were looking at the issue of Dangerous Dogs as they have been for some time. Defra will be saying more on the issue in the coming days or weeks.