Number 10 Press Briefing - Morning For 19 October 2011
This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government
From the Prime Minister's spokesperson on: Justice and security green paper, Europe, Brooke Kinsella and Liam Fox.
Justice and security green paper
Asked what the scope of the green paper was and if it covered the intelligence services or went wider, the Prime Minister’s Spokesman (PMS) said that it contained issues to do with the intelligence services.
Asked why the Government was whipping the Europe vote, the PMS said that the whipping arrangements had not been set out, but the Government had a clear policy - that there should be a referendum before any transfer of powers from Westminster to Brussels.
Asked if whipping the vote was at odds with having a debate off the back of a petition, the PMS said that people should wait and see what the whipping arrangements were, as they would be established nearer the vote. He added that as a general principle the PM would expect MPs to support the Governments position on an issue.
Asked what the implications would be for Members choosing not to support the Government, the PMS said that was a conversation for nearer the time as the Government would not set out whipping until nearer the vote
Asked why the Government objected to an opportunity to renegotiate the relationship and repatriate powers, the PMS said that it was the Government’s position to seek to protect and enhance the UK’s interests within the EU where possible
Asked if it was Government policy to use the Eurozone crisis to support their policy to repatriate powers, the PMS said that the PM had spoken about this at length. The PM would seek to protect the UK’s national interest throughout and at every opportunity. On the point of the eurozone crisis, the PMS said it was in the UK’s national interest that there was a resolution to the crisis and the UK had been arguing that the Eurozone should be taking decisive action to deal with its problems.
Asked if the UK Government would look to repatriate powers in any future treaty and whether it would use its veto, the PMS said that the Government would take every opportunity to promote the UK’s interest. He added that we would not, and would not be expected to set out in advance what we would argue at particular points in time.
Asked if the Government agreed with the Chancellor’s line that deeper fiscal integration would lead us out of crisis, the PMS said that we had already seen further integration, in the form of a large bailout fund put in place. He said that there was now a discussion about increasing the size of that bailout fund. The PMS added that the Chancellor had said in the past that the relentless logic of monetary union was greater fiscal integration.
Asked if the PM was concerned that Brooke Kinsella said she was disheartened by the Justice Secretary’s approach to justice, the PMS said that the Government was strengthening laws in this area and courts do have the discretion to impose custodial sentences for juveniles where they deem it appropriate.
Asked if the PM could see any way back in to the cabinet for Liam Fox and if it was right for him to accept his severance pay, the PMS said that he had nothing more to say on this. The PM had set out his position in his letter to Dr Fox on Friday. The PMS added that the 1991 Act laid out the rules on payment post resignation, and that it was the law.
Asked if the PM agreed with Andrew Lansley saying it would be a ‘bit harsh’ if Fox was ruled out of front bench forever, the PMS said that this had happened very recently, and he wasn’t going to speculate on the future.
Published: 19 October 2011