Asked if Jeremy Hunt was free to take as long as he liked to make a decision when the timetable for the competition inquiry was expected to take 6 months, the PMS said the process was as set out in Enterprise Act.
Asked what discussions were taking place in relation to the Terms of Reference (ToR) for the inquiry, the PMS said the ToR were being worked on.
Asked when there would be any information or an announcement made about the inquiry, the PMS said that discussions were taking place with relevant Select Committee members and others and that any announcement would reflect those. Put that it was ultimately a Government decision, he said it was, but due to public interest, we were listening to people’s views before any announcement.
Asked what the Prime Minister meant when he said that Murdoch’s priorities should be sorting out current issues before considering commercial deals, the PMS said it was self explanatory; he should be focusing on the immediate issues.
Asked about the cost of the inquiry and who would pay, the PMS pointed out that clearly there would be costs, but benefits too. He explained that the process was set out in the legislation.
Asked if the PM had seen any of the people involved in the latest hacking allegations, the PMS said it was highly unlikely as the PM had been travelling to Wales.
Asked what the PM’s reaction was to the latest raft of allegations involving former Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, the PMS said it was very disturbing, particularly allegations that the medical records of a child may have been accessed.
Asked if the current Downing Street Director of Communication had been in touch with his predecessor over the last few weeks, the PMS said he doubted he had.
Asked what the PM’s view was on the eurozone situation, the PMS advised the lobby to speak to Treasury about recent developments. Asked about the Greater Fiscal Union and concerns where it might lead, the PMS said that the current focus was on the immediate issues in relation to Greece.
Asked if the PM had any views on the International Monetary Fund vote, the PMS said the Government’s position was that we support it.
Asked why our subscription was going up so much, the PMS directed the lobby to speak to Treasury about the details.