Press release

Number 10 Press Briefing - Afternoon From 13 October 2010

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

From the Prime Minister's spokesperson on: Military Assistant, SDSR, quangos and Linda Norgrove.

The Prime Minister’s Spokesperson (PMS) briefed assembled press on the Prime Minister’s meeting with FIFA President Sepp Blatter. PMS also announced the appointment of Colonel Jim Morris as a Military Assistant in the Prime Minister’s Office.

Military Assistant

Asked whether CDS was still the military adviser to the Government, PMS confirmed that was the case and added that this post would strengthen the links between No 10 and the MOD and the Armed Forces.

Asked what prompted this decision, PMS said the selection process had been underway for some time.

Asked what it means that this person will lead on military issues, PMS responded that it was customary for staff in the PM’s office to lead on different issues and engage with the relevant departments.

Put that this could be seen as the PM bypassing the Defence Secretary, PMS said that the MOD have been fully aware and involved in this process and this process has been underway for some time.

Asked whether this individual is a Special Adviser or a Civil Servant, PMS said he was a serving officer.

SDSR

Asked whether it has always been the PM who would announce the Defence Review, PMS said that had always been the case.

Quangos

PMS told assembled press that action would be taken to tackle the legacy of departmental bodies.

PMS said in many cases functions may be taken back into Departments and Ministers will be responsible rather than making an unelected quango responsible for an important function. In some other cases, that particular model might be the right one.

Asked how many quangos on the list, PMS said about 700, but some will be explicitly retained.

The PMS said there would be a public bodies Bill introduced next month. Asked if the Bill would cover quangos set up by the government since they came into power, the PMS said no. The Bill would cover quangos currently in place and also allow us to review the situation in the future.

Asked whether no new non-departmental bodies would be under statute, PMS replied that government would be able to review these issues in the future and that the aim was to be able to review bodies again in the future and take action without specific legislation.

Asked about job losses, the PMS said there would be job losses but government would not publish this number.

Asked whether it would be made clear tomorrow what functions that quangos have will be transferred to Departments and what functions would be abolished, the PMS said the list will make clear whether they will be abolished, merged, retained.

Asked about a headline figure on savings during this process, PMS said this would be dealt with in the Spending Review. The changes would be implemented over time and further details would be given in due course.

Asked whether Devolved Administrations had been consulted in this process, PMS confirmed that this was the case.

Linda Norgrove

Asked about the repatriation of her body, PMS said it would some time this week.