Turkish state visit
Asked if there was a readout of the Prime Minister’s meeting with the Turkish President, the Prime Minister’s Spokesman (PMS) said the meeting had just begun. The PMS said he expected the key issues they would discuss to be North Africa and the Middle East, events in Syria, Turkey’s bid for membership to the EU, and trade opportunities between the two countries.
Asked what the Prime Minister would be saying in his meeting with the Turkish President on Syria, the PMS said the National Security Council (NSC) had discussed the situation earlier in the day. He said the Government was clearly concerned about the situation and that President Assad needed to step aside. He added that the Government was looking at how we could engage with international partners to bring pressure on the regime.
Asked what the Government’s view was on the protests in Egypt, the PMS said the NSC had also discussed that earlier in the day and the Government was concerned about the situation. He said that, as the Foreign Secretary had set out the previous day, the Government wanted to see Egypt press ahead with elections. He added that the Foreign Office was being updated on a regular basis.
Asked if the Prime Minister had described the economic position as a difficult situation in Cabinet, the PMS said the Prime Minister had made that point in his speech to the CBI the previous day. Asked if the Prime Minister had referred to Housing Minister Graham Schapps as dyno-rod, the PMS said the Prime Minister had made the point that due to the credit crunch there were blockages in the system and that the housing package was a way of unblocking some of those problems in the housing sector.
Asked if there was agreement across the coalition on how to deal with employment law and deregulation, the PMS said a process had been underway for some time looking at reducing the burden of regulation, particularly where that affects small and medium sized businesses, and that announcements would be made in due course.
Asked if the Prime Minister backed a recommendation by the committee on standards in public life that the citations recommending someone for the House of Lords should be published, the PMS said all the recommendations of the report would be considered.