Asked if it was true that the PM would not be in the chamber for the statement by the Secretary of State for Health, the Prime Minister’s Spokesman (PMS) said he hadn’t checked the PMs diary but emphasised that the PM had given an address at lunchtime today and taken questions on health, and had been out talking about the health reforms extensively.
Asked if the PM was concerned by the fact that according to the impact assessment 1200 registered sex offenders will get the chance to appeal, PMS made it clear that Government is responding to the Courts. PMS pointed out that while it is true that sex offenders can now apply to be removed from the register after 15 years, Government had deliberately set a very high bar as public protection is key. Furthermore Government is strengthening the system so that the register is not just a list of names, but that we actively police it.
Aston Villa vacancy
Asked if the PM had a view on whether or not Aston Villa should appoint Alex McLeish as their new manager, PMS suggested that football management was not a subject he was going to get involved in.
Asked if there had been any progress on the issue of sentencing PMS said there was none to report.
Asked what happened in the second half of Cabinet PMS said it was taken up entirely by a discussion of the NHS reforms and that no other business was discussed.
Returning to the reforms, PMS was asked if the PM is happy with the reaction to today’s announcement, to which the PMS said there was clearly widespread recognition that changes had been made and that these changes were as a response to the concerns that people had raised during the listening exercise.
Asked if the professional bodies were onboard PMS said that the reform process was ongoing and that we will continue to listen to all those bodies. The next stage is to implement these reforms and it’s important that we take the professional bodies with us.
Asked if the Bill would go back to the Commons PMS confirmed it would. Asked if that meant the whole Bill PMS said it would be up to the Public Bill committee to decide what it wanted to focus on. Asked if that meant that the Bill would be in committee for a shorter time than when it was last there, PMS said he didn’t know but made the point that what is important is that the Bill receives full scrutiny.
Asked when the Bill would return to committee PMS said that would be announced in due course, asked if it would be before the summer recess PMS confirmed it would be. Finally, asked if the Bill would go through before summer recess PMS said it would go through in this session of Parliament.