Briefing by the Prime Minister's spokesman on: National Security Council, Parliament, the economy, Ministerial cars and appointments.
National Security Council
Put that the Prime Minister attended a meeting at the Ministry of Defence this morning, the Prime Minister’s Spokesman (PMS) told the assembled press that it was a meeting of the National Security Council (NSC).
Asked why it wasn’t announced that the meeting had taken place, the PMS replied that we would not be letting people know every time the Council met. The PMS added that we would not be saying a great deal about the subject matter of the meetings given the kind of issues that would be discussed.
Asked if the Leader of the Opposition had been present, the PMS said we had already set out who would be attending meetings of the NSC when we announced the formation of the Council.
Asked if there would be PMQs next Wednesday, the PMS said that that was his understanding. Asked whether the Queen’s Speech debate would be over by then, the PMS advised people to check with the Leader’s Office about the details.
Asked if there was any more comment on banking proposals, the PMS replied that he did not have anything further to add to what the Chancellor had said earlier, which was that the Government was committed to introducing a bank levy and that he welcomed the fact that there was an increasing international consensus on the issue.
Asked if there was any more information on Capital Gains Tax, the PMS advised people to wait for the Budget when the policy would be set out.
Asked if it was correct that Ministers could take their red boxes on trains but could not open them, the PMS replied that he was not aware of any specific rules about where a Minister could and could not open their red boxes; Ministers would use their judgement.
The PMS said that it was not the case that Ministerial boxes were only allowed to travel around in cars. There were a lot of things that went into Ministerial boxes that were not confidential, such as letters for signing. Asked if there were any new rules in regard to carrying data on CDs, the PMS said that he was unaware of any new rules.
Asked if there would be fewer ministerial cars, the PMS said that the intention in this case was to save money, so it was his understanding that there would be fewer cars. Asked what would happen to the cars that Ministers no longer used, the PMS advised people to speak to the Department for Transport.
Asked if there would be any announcement on peers, the PMS said there wouldn’t be any announcements today concerning peers. Asked when people could expect the former Prime Minister’s honours list, the PMS replied that he didn’t know.
Asked if there was a Minister for the Pope yet, the PMS said he was not aware of one.