Asked about Lloyds Banking Group and whether the Government had any view on the Chief Executive’s decision to take time off, the Prime Minister’s Spokesman (PMS) said that it was a matter for the board.
Asked about fuel duty debate and whether the Government intended to whip any vote after the debate, the PMS said he wasn’t aware of the whipping arrangement for that debate, but fuel duty was a matter for the Chancellor and he made decisions on that in the Budget.
Asked about David Laws, who was seen going into the Cabinet Office that morning, and whether he had any role in the Cabinet Office, the PMS said he didn’t think it was unusual for MPs to have occasional meetings in Government departments.
Asked about Dominic Grieve’s comments on the prisoner vote, the PMS said that Dominic Grieve wanted to go to a European court and set out our position on prisoner voting.
Financial Transaction Tax
Asked whether the Prime Minister welcomed the Archbishop of Canterbury’s proposals on financial transaction taxes, the PMS said that the Government had a clear position on financial transaction tax, which was that we would support one on a global basis, and that he thought that what the Archbishop was pointing to more generally was public dissatisfaction with what had happened in the financial crisis. Lots of people were very angry about what was allowed to happen in the financial sector. He added that the Government had brought in new rules on bonuses, put in place a levy on the banks and were doing more to strengthen the regulatory system to make sure we didn’t see those problems again.
Asked about reports of a letter in which the Chancellor had expressed doubts about a global financial transaction tax, the PMS said he didn’t think that the Chancellor had said anything in the letter that he hadn’t said in public. He added that there were issues about how you designed a financial transaction tax, as with any tax. Those practical issues would need to be worked through before implementation and Government was committed to working with other countries to do so.