The Prime Minister's Spokesperson (PMS) answered questions on the EU Budget, the Leveson Inquiry report, Ministerial Code and the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority.
Questioned about the PM’s calls with European leaders over the weekend and his approach to the upcoming European Union Budget negotiations, the PMS said that the PM was looking for the right deal for the UK taxpayer. The PM’s position had been made clear; at best he was looking for a cut in the budget, at worst a freeze. Negotiations would be tough as there were different views around the table, but the multi-annual budget had to be agreed by all 27 Member States. Chancellor Merkel had been clear that Germany would like to see restraint in spending and we both want to see the EU Budget spent more effectively; for example there was scope for reducing the spending on certain areas, such as cutting the spending on back offices. The PM would continue to have conversations on the lead up to the European Council.
Asked about the Leveson Inquiry report, the PMS said the timing had not been made clear yet, but journalists should await the report before questioning the Government on next steps.
Setting out the Government’s position on ministers voting with the Government, the PMS said that there was a ministerial code and the PM expected Government ministers to adhere to it. Whether a minister had broken the code was ultimately a matter for the PM.
Questioned whether the PM was concerned about the expenses system being open to abuse, the PMS said that it was a matter for IPSA; that was why the independent body was created.