Briefing by the Prime Minister's Spokesman on: Facebook/Raoul Moat, BP and crime statistics.
Asked what Downing Street said to Facebook about Raoul Moat, the Prime Minister’s Spokesman (PMS) said that we wanted to make Facebook aware of the Prime Minister’s comments made at PMQs; we were not trying to instruct them to do anything. The Prime Minister had taken issue with the views that had been posted on Facebook.
Asked if the Prime Minister had a view on China’s censorship of Google, the PMS said that we were not in favour of censorship.
Asked if the Prime Minister regretted that his comments had been interpreted as an attempt to get Facebook to take the page down, the PMS said that the Prime Minister had been making his views known about comments that were made on Facebook.
Asked if the government would do anything to get the comments taken off Facebook, the PMS said that it was a matter for them. We were working with Facebook to promote debate on public sector reform and the spending review. What happened yesterday was that the Prime Minister made his views known about some comments that had been posted on Facebook.
Asked if the Prime Minister’s view had changed in light of the released tapes recorded by Raoul Moat, the PMS said no.
Asked if the Prime Minister had any comment on statements coming out from American congressmen saying that BP should not do any business with Libya until their role in lobbying the previous government with regard to prisoners was clarified, the PMS said that the last government made the position on this clear; it worked with British business to promote legitimate commercial interests with Libya and there was no link between those legitimate commercial activities and the Scottish Executive’s decision to release Megrahi.
Asked if it was appropriate for the issue of relations between the UK and Libya to be brought into the matter of the gulf oil spill, the PMS said that the Prime Minister at the time had said that he believed the decision to release Megrahi was wrong, and that he understood the concerns that had been raised by other people.
Asked if the Prime Minister would bring up the subject of BP when he visited America, the PMS said that the Prime Minister and President Obama had already been in contact about BP; they agreed that it would not be in anyone’s interest to undermine the value of BP.
Put that BP had made a statement to say that it did lobby the British government over the release of prisoners and asked if that was a legitimate activity, the PMS said that what BP said to the government was a matter for BP.
Asked if the government was responsive to that sort of lobbying, the PMS said that the government would take decisions on an appropriate basis; it could not be responsible for what others said to it.
Asked if the Prime Minister applauded the policies of the previous government that had led to today’s low crime figures, the PMS said that the Home Office Minister, Nick Herbert had been talking about the crime statistics published this morning; they were clearly down but they were still too high.