From the Prime Minister's spokesperson on: Gus O'Donnell's report, benefits and EU referendum.
Gus O’Donnell’s report
Asked if a Minister would be available to answer an urgent question on Sir Gus O’Donnell’s report if one was laid tomorrow, the Prime Minister’s Spokesman (PMS) said that a statement would be made by the Government and that we expected it to be made by Sir George Young. Asked if the Government had a view on why Adam Werrity was travelling with the Defence Secretary, the PMS said that Sir Gus’ report did not seek to explain this but had instead looked at the conduct of Ministers in relation to the Ministerial Code. Asked why publication had come so late in the day, the PMS said the report had undergone a checking process to ensure there were no factual inaccuracies before being released. Asked several questions about the severance pay Liam Fox was due to receive, the PMS said the rules had been set out in statute. Asked about meetings Adam Werrity had with other Ministers, the PMS said the lobby would have to approach the Ministry of Defence on that matter. Asked several questions about the detail of Sir Gus’ investigation, the PMS said the purpose had been to look at whether the Ministerial Code had been broken. Asked if the Electorial Commission should reconsider launching an investigation into the matter, the PMS said that was a matter for the Electoral Commission. Asked if the Government would accept all the recommendations made in Sir Gus’ report, the PMS comfirmed that it would. Asked several questions about the Prime Minister’s view on the matter and whether there was a need for any further investigations, the PMS said the Prime Minister had thought it was important to establish the facts and draw conclusions based on those facts, which is why the report had been commissioned. The priority now was to make sure we had the right procedures in place for the future.
Asked if benefits and pensions would be increased in line with the CPI figure, the PMS said that the Government’s policy was to increase many benefits in line with September’s CPI. There would be a social security benefits uprating order published later in the year which would set out the precise cash figures for benefits increases.
Asked for the Prime Minister’s views on next week’s vote on an EU referendum, the PMS said that there was a clear policy set out in the Coalition agreement.