Briefing by the Prime Minister's Spokesman on: crime statistics, Facebook, Phone call with Silvio Berlusconi, Graduate Tax and BP-Lockerbie Bomber.
Asked whether the Prime Minister stood by his claim made on the 7th of July in PMQs that under the last Government violent crime and gun crime went through the roof, given the figures that came out today, the PMS said there had already been some correspondence between the Home Secretary and the Shadow Home Secretary on this issue. He added that there was a lot of debate about crime statistics and their interpretation. The PMS added that the crime statistics we had, did not cover everything and that therefore we were having a review to look at how we could improve crime statistics.
Asked whether the Prime Minister welcomed the fact that the Raoul Moat tribute page had been removed from Facebook, the PMS referred to the comments the Prime Minister made in PMQs yesterday.
Phone call with Silvio Berlusconi
Asked whether the Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi had invited the Prime Minister to go on holiday with him, the PMS replied that he had been invited for an official visit.
Asked whether the Prime Minister had become friendly with Mr Berlusconi since he had been in office, the PMS said that the Prime Minister had met Mr Berlusconi on a number of occasions, that they had a bilateral meeting in Canada and met at the European Council.
Asked when the visit to Italy would take place, the PMS replied it would be this year.
Asked for the Prime Minister’s view on Graduate Tax, the PMS replied that Lord Browne was reviewing the issue of funding universities. We needed to look to balance what the taxpayer paid and what graduates paid.
The PMS added that we would wait for the Lord Browne review to complete (in the autumn) and that we would then assess it.
Asked about the United States’ inquiry into BP and the Lockerbie bomber, the PMS said that this was something a number of senators had proposed, rather than the US administration. The PMS added that the position on this was made clear by the last Government.