Briefing by the Prime Minister's Spokesman on: law/regulation repeal, Afghanistan, Defence Secretary's speech, Foreign Secretary's Speech, MP's expenses and misc.
Asked for the Prime Minister’s comments on the launch of a national campaign to encourage people to suggest laws and regulations they would like to see removed, the PMS said that there was a commitment to repeal laws, and there would be a bill to allow us to do that. We would consider all the suggestions put forward.
Asked what would happen if there was one case that had backing from most people, the PMS said that we would consider the weight of public opinion, but we would also look at the merits of proposals.
Asked if anything could be suggested for example the smoking ban, the PMS said that people could come forward with any suggestion they wanted, and we would consider those suggestions on merit.
Asked for the Prime Minister’s response to the Taliban who had said that they would not negotiate, the PMS said that the key point to remember was that the Taliban was a disparate organisation, and we would not get into remarking on specific comments.
Asked if in theory the Prime Minister would back General Richards view that negotiation had to be considered, the PMS said that it was important this was an Afghan-led process.
Defence Secretary’s Speech
Asked if Downing Street had seen a check against delivery version of the Defence Secretary’s speech, the PMS said that we had a copy of the speech in advance, which was normal practice.
Asked if Downing Street had requested any changes be made to the speech, the PMS said not that he was aware of, but we had a very clear strategy on Afghanistan. It was important to remember that the Defence Secretary and the Prime Minister were both on the National Security Council and had been sitting round the table developing the Government’s policy together.
Foreign Secretary’s Speech
Asked how the Foreign Secretary’s view related to the Prime Minister’s vision and Government policy, the PMS said that the Foreign Secretary had been setting out the Government’s position; he had said that it was important to be clear about Britain’s national interests, and how we could use foreign policy to protect those interests. The Prime Minister agreed with what the Foreign Secretary had said.
Asked if the Prime Minister thought that the new expenses system was working, the PMS said that the expenses system was now dealt with on an independent basis. There had been some issues about how it was operating. The Leader of the House was listening to MPs’ concerns, and they would be responded to.
Asked what the Prime Minister would say to MPs who had been speaking out about the new system, the PMS said that it was a new system and it was important that it was put in place and worked effectively.
Asked what Samantha Cameron thought of the Prime Minister’s Madame Tussauds waxwork, the PMS said that she thought it was a very good likeness.