Number 10 Press Briefing - Morning For 15 July 2011
This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government
From the Prime Minister's spokesperson on: Phone Hacking, Afghanistan and Eurozone.
Asked what the PM thought of Rebekah Brook’s resignation, the PMS (Prime Minister’s Spokesman) said he thought it was the right decision.
Asked whether he had contacted her since, the PMS said he had not.
Asked whether he was given advance warning, the PMS said he wasn’t aware of any advance warning.
Asked whether the PM regretted getting as close to Rebekah Brooks as he did, the PMS said the PM had been clear about his thoughts on the relationship between politicians and press and the fact that in the past it had been too cosy.
Asked whether he regarded Rebekah Brooks as a friend, the PMS said she wouldn’t get into this but added that the PM has spoken at length about his relation with Andy Coulson and the relationship between politicians and the media.
Asked for a reaction to motion put forward by Bill Cash MP which called for expanding inquiry to include broadcasters and social media, the PMS said the letter hadn’t been received but it was important to note that the current terms of reference were only drafts and we would want to reflect people’s suggestions.
Asked whether the PM agreed Rupert Murdoch’s comments to WSJ were appropriate, the PMS said he had nothing more to add to what the PM had already said.
Asked whether the PM was surprised to find out that the Metropolitan Police had employed former News of the World journalist, the PMS said the PM had not been aware of this and the Home Secretary had written to Sir Paul Stephenson asking for an explanation.
Asked whether the PM would have preferred to have been told by Sir Paul Stephenson at their meeting earlier this week, the PMS said the issue hadn’t been raised.
Asked for a response to claims that the Metropolitan Police thought it was fine to employ Neil Wallis as No 10 had employed his boss at the News of the World, the PMS reiterated that the Home Secretary had written to Sir Paul Stephenson asking for an explanation.
Asked when the inquiry would start, the PMS said we were in the process of sorting out the resources but we had made it clear we wanted to get on with it.
Asked how the decision not to disclose what was discussed between the PM and Rebekah Brooks at Christmas was squared with the promise for greater transparency, the PMS said we had made the commitment to be more transparent about meetings between proprietors, senior executives and editors and politicians. He added that the PM had set out his proposals earlier this week and had asked the Cabinet Secretary for advice on taking these forward.
Asked whether the PM was going to put any restrictions or guidelines on timings and costs in place, the PMS said we had set out in the draft terms of reference a timescales for part one of the inquiry to be completed within 12 months. He added that we would not be responding to public concerns if we set up a report that didn’t report for 10 years.
Asked whether the Judge would have unlimited funds, the PMS said we had made our position clear but we would not put artificial restrictions on the inquiry. He added that people needed to be confident that that inquiry had looked at all the issues.
Asked if the PM had ever met Tom Mockridge, the PMS said he didn’t know.
Asked if today’s Cabinet had been planned in advance, the PMS said it had been.
Asked for a response to reports that the PM had approved a US request for British troops to fill in areas where US troops were planning to withdraw, the PMS said this was an operational matter for the Ministry of Defence.
Asked whether the PM backed moves to slash Greece’s debt to 100% of GDP, the PMS said this was an issue for the Eurozone.
Published: 15 July 2011