Number 10 Press Briefing - Afternoon From 11 January 2011
From the Prime Minister's spokesperson on: control orders, bankers' bonuses and Eric Illsley.
Asked whether the subject of control orders was discussed at Cabinet, the Prime Minister’s Spokesman (PMS) told the assembled press that it had. The Home Secretary had set out the position as it stood, there was broad agreement on the policy and there would be an announcement soon.
On whether the Cabinet endorsed the policy, the PMS said that he had set out what happened at Cabinet. Asked if there was any dissent on the policy, the PMS replied that there was a broad agreement on the policy. There would be a few more processes that we needed to go through followed by an announcement.
On whether the Home Secretary would need to talk to external agencies, the PMS replied that there were lots of bits of Government involved in this policy.
Asked to explain what Lord MacDonald’s role would be from now until the announcement, the PMS said that he had been asked to undertake some work and advised people to speak to the Home Office about the nature of that work.
When asked if it would take a further Cabinet meeting to fully form the policy, the PMS replied that he was not anticipating a further Cabinet discussion on the issue.
Put that it was clear from comments made by the Chancellor that the Government had been able to negotiate a cap on the RBS bonus pot, the PMS said that the Chancellor was setting out the position to the House of Commons. The PMS added that talks between RBS and the UKFI were ongoing.
Asked if the Prime Minister agreed with Bob Diamond who had said that the time for bankers’ remorse was over, the PMS said that the Prime Minister had set out his position on Sunday.
Asked what he thought about the comment made by Bob Diamond suggesting that the Prime Minister and the Chancellor had not urged him to show restraint over bonuses, the PMS replied that there was a discussion ongoing between the Treasury and the banks and he advised people to speak to the Treasury for any more detail.
Asked what the Prime Minister thought would happen to the reputation of the Commons if an MP was sentenced to a term of less than twelve months but remained an MP, the PMS said that the Prime Minister’s personal view was that it would be a very difficult situation. The PMS said that if someone had defrauded the people they were there to represent, that would be an untenable position.
Asked if No10 was aware of any parliamentary procedures that could be used to remove such an MP, the PMS replied that it was his understanding that there was the Representation of the People Act 1981, which said that a person sentenced for a term of more than one year would be disqualified from membership of the House.
The PMS said that before that Act was passed, the House could expel members who were sent to jail on an ad-hoc basis, so there could be a resolution and a vote to expel a member from the House. The PMS said that it was his understanding that the relevant party would ask the Government to table such a resolution.
Asked if that had happened yet, the PMS said he did not think so.