The Prime Minister's Spokesperson (PMS) answered questions on alcohol pricing, Leveson and payday loans.
When asked whether the government was taking legal advice about the proposed changes to alcohol pricing, the PMS said that it was being looked at by the courts because of the ongoing legal case in Scotland. The government was following this closely. The government had said for some time its intention was to bring this in and it would be getting on with the consultation.
When questioned on whether the Prime Minister would be speaking for the entire government when he made a statement on Leveson tomorrow, the PMS said there would be a government statement by the Prime Minister at 15.00 tomorrow.
When challenged if the PM supported a DPM statement, the PMS said that people were digesting the report and there would be discussions ahead of the statement to parliament tomorrow. He said it was a matter for the speaker how things were conducted on the floor of the house.
When asked who would be attending the Quad meeting tomorrow, the PMS said it wouldn’t be simply the Quad, there would be other ministers from both sides of the coalition and minsters with responsibility for these issues.
When asked if there were any plans to hold discussions with the opposition ahead of the statement, the PMS said there were no current plans to do so. When asked if Labour would see the report before the statement, the PMS referred the lobby to the Leveson inquiry and the Labour party, but he understood they would get the report three hours in advance.
Responding to questions about the government’s position on payday loan caps, the PMS referred the lobby to HMT on the detail. The PMS understood that the bill as it stands would allow the new regulator, the FCA, to look at these issues already.
When asked if the government now supported a cap, the PMS said he understood the new regulator was able to look at this issue and the amendment put down would make it explicit.
The PMS said the OFT was half-way through an investigation and would report next year. The government would look at what they said and whether further action should be taken. The Financial Services bill was already in train and would bring this industry under the new FCA.