From the Prime Minister's spokesperson on: Liam Fox/Adam Werrity, energy, financial transaction tax and Parliamentary calendar.
Asked if the Prime Minister (PM) had the Gus O’Donnell report on Werrity and Fox, and if he had decided what to do with it, the PMS said that we had not yet received it. Asked if there had been preemptive discussions on what to do with it, the PMS said there had not been, the PM had been busy with visits and meetings much of the day.
Asked if the PM’s office would decide what would be published that evening, the PMS said that he had already said that the Government would be transparent.
Asked what was meant by being ‘transparent’ about the report, the PMS said that he expected the Government to publish the report, but that he couldn’t tell them any more as the PM hadn’t seen it yet. The PMS said that the Cabinet Secretary had been asked to establish the facts over the last week, and that the Government would publish something setting those facts out, but that they would have to wait to receive the report first.
Asked if they could expect it to arrive tonight, the PMS said that his expectation was that it would arrive tonight and be given to the PM, and that he would be able to update them after that.
Asked if the report would answer all the questions raised, particularly providing a full list of financial backers, the PMS said he didn’t know what it included and that they could make their assessment of the report when they had seen what was in it.
Asked when the report would be published, the PMS said that it would not happen until after Cabinet the following day.
Asked if there would be a statement from a Government Minister on this matter, and if it would be from the Cabinet Office, the PMS said that the precise arrangements for publication of report were still being considered.
Asked if there would be a readout after the energy meeting, the Prime Minister’s Spokesman (PMS) said that questions should be directed to the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC).
Asked for the Government response to the gesture politics accusation around energy prices, the PMS said that they should wait and see what came out of the meeting. He added that clearly world markets would affect household bills, but so would competition in the retail market - the more competition, the better the deal for consumers. The PMS said that if the Government could make sure homes were well insulated and energy consumption came down, that would also reduce household bills.
Asked if the Government had any objection to the idea of separating generators and suppliers, the PMS said that was a matter for OFGEM who were looking at a range of issues about how the market was operating.
Asked if the Government was encouraged by what SSE did last week, the PMS said that they were and that anything that improved competition in this market would be welcomed.
Financial transaction tax
Asked for the Government’s position on financial transaction tax, following the German Finance Minister’s comments that the UK might support it at a European level, the PMS said that he had already set out the Government’s position - we would be willing to consider a global tax, but not one restricted to Europe.
Asked for further details around the Chancellor’s meeting with the German Finance Minister, the PMS advised journalists to speak to the Treasury.
Asked if the PM thought that MPs deserved five days off next month, the PMS said that dates for the Parliamentary timetable had been set out, and as a result of that timetable, Parliament would be sitting more days in the first two years of this Parliament than for the same period in the last.