Press release

Number 10 Press Briefing - Afternoon From 18 July 2011

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

From the Prime Minister's spokesperson on: phone hacking.

Phone hacking

Asked if there was any truth in the suggestion that the PM’s trip to Africa would be cut short, the Prime Minister’s Deputy Spokesperson (PMDS) said the PM had another country to visit after South Africa and he would be back on Wednesday as planned.

Asked if an amended list had been published, the PMDS said it would be published later that day and would correct administrative omissions.

Asked to run through the PM’s plans for Wednesday, the PMDS said the PM would make a statement to the House and then take questions from the floor.

Asked if she was confident that these were the last of any changes, the PMDS said she hoped so.

Asked if there were any plans for it to go any further back than May 2010, the PMDS said the commitment was to publish the list from the General Election.

Asked whether similar information would be published about Chancellor, the PMDS said there were plans for similar lists to be published for all Cabinet ministers from January 2011.

Asked why these had a later start date, the PMDS said the May 2010 start date was a PM commitment and ministers were committed to producing details from 1 January 2011. She added that the decision to provide detail before this was entirely a matter for individual ministers.

Asked if it was embarrassing for the PM to have to reiterate his commitment to transparency after these omissions, the PMDS said not at all as these were just administrative oversights. She added that the PM was very keen to issue the list as soon as possible.

Asked how the list characterised a meeting, the PMDS said that the PM was trying to be very transparent by publishing this list. She added the definition used was a sit down meeting.

Asked that considering John Yates had resigned because he failed to carry out due diligence on Neil Wallis, would the PM now make clear what checks he carried out on Andy Coulson, the PMDS said the PM had already said he sought personal assurances from Andy Coulson and, as with anyone joining Government, appropriate security checks were carried out.

Asked about claims that there had also been private sector checks, the PMDS said she would check but these had probably taken place in Opposition.

Asked about the nature of the Government security checks carried out on Andy Coulson, the PMDS said we wouldn’t comment on individuals but referred people to the Cabinet Office for details of the process.

Asked what level of security clearance Andy Coulson had received, the PMDS said she wasn’t aware of the specifics.

Asked if there was a feeling that PM would have to outline what personal assurances he had received on Wednesday, the PMDS said this was an ongoing investigation and the PM had been very clear that it should go wherever the evidence took it. She added that people should wait for the PM’s statement on Wednesday.

Asked if the Government was looking to review its security checks given what we now knew about Andy Coulson, the PMDS said there was a criminal investigation ongoing and she wouldn’t comment on security matters in detail but Government kept its policy under review.

Asked if the PM had had any contact with Sir Paul Stephenson over the weekend, the PMDS said she was not aware of any but the Home Secretary had spoken Sir Paul Stephenson.

Asked when the PM found out about his resignation and, if it was on board his flight, whether he thought about returning, the PMDS said he was on board the flight when he heard the news and issued his response from the plane. She added he had not thought about turning the flight back as this was a very important trade trip aimed at boosting British business overseas.

Asked if the PM was aware of Boris Johnson’s comments today and if he had spoken to him, the PMDS said he was aware of the Mayor’s comments but wasn’t sure if he had since spoken to him.