Asked to explain the PM’s comment in the chamber, that the National Security Council (NSC) reviewed the Defence Review, the Prime Minister’s Spokesman (PMS) said that the process of implementing the Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR) was ongoing and discussed by the National Security Council regularly. He added that the SDSR set out a path to 2020, but that the NSC continued to work on issues within that as part of the implementation process.
Asked is there was a formal review of the SDSR, the PMS confirmed that there was not, and explained that it was looked at constantly by the NSC.
Asked if the SDSR was a live or closed issue, the PMS explained that the SDSR set out an end point for 2020, based on an assessment of military needs. He said that this conclusion would not change, but that the Government would continue the process of implementation, working on various issues, to reach that point.
Asked if the current pace of operations would change the framework of the SDSR, the PMS confirmed that the Government had the necessary resources to continue its campaigns in Afghanistan and Libya.
Asked if the financing of the SDSR would change, the PMS explained that there was a Spending Review settlement for the MoD, as with all Departments.
Asked if the SDSR defence planning assumption for a second conflict lasting no longer than 6 months was going to be a problem, the PMS said that there were a variety of scenarios set out in the SDSR document, and referred the lobby to it.
Asked for the PM’s position on the Italian Foreign Minister calling for a ceasefire in Libya to allow for aid, the PMS said that humanitarian aid was already getting into Libya, and pointed out that Qadhafi had called several ceasefires that did not take place.
Asked if the PM would support any pause in the air campaign, the PMS confirmed that the Government wanted to increase the pressure on Qadhafi and the regime.
Asked if the PM would look into the proposals around the DNA database and rape cases, the PMS explained the policy that if someone was arrested for a criminal offence but not convicted, their DNA would not be held. The PMS also pointed out that the legislation was still being considered, and as a point of principle if anyone had good idea, the Government would listen.
Asked about the advice that over-65s shouldn’t drink more than half a point a day, the PMS referred them to the Department of Health statement.