Briefing by the Prime Minister's Spokesman on: Cabinet, the Bloody Sunday review and vetting and barring.
The Prime Minister’s Spokesman (PMS) said that Sir Alan Budd, the Head of the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR), attended Cabinet this morning. He gave a presentation on the findings and forecasts of his report, which was published yesterday. The Prime Minister and the Chancellor both stressed the fact that they were very keen to create the OBR in order to ensure that economic policy-making in this country was trusted. Sir Alan Budd said that he thought it had been an excellent start, and described the OBR as a radical innovation.
There was also a discussion on the Budget and the Spending Review process.
Bloody Sunday review
Asked how important the Prime Minister saw today and the publication of the Bloody Sunday review, the PMS said that the Prime Minister obviously saw this as a very important moment, but people needed to wait for this afternoon’s statement for details.
Asked who the Prime Minister had been speaking to ahead of today’s publication, the PMS said that the Northern Ireland Secretary of State had been the lead on the Bloody Sunday review, and as such he had been speaking to all the relevant players. The Secretary of State had briefed the Prime Minister.
Asked if the Prime Minister spent last night reading the review, the PMS said that the Prime Minister and the Northern Ireland Secretary had received the review twenty-four hours in advance, and the Prime Minister had been thoroughly briefed by officials.
Asked if the Prime Minister felt that the review had been set up in the right way, the PMS said that the Justice Secretary of State’s comments on the process of the review had been discussed yesterday, and the Prime Minister echoed those views.
Asked if the Prime Minister would think it right for prosecutions to be made, the PMS said that there were very strict arrangements around the release of the Bloody Sunday review, and as such no one in Government would get involved in speculation about what we may or may not do depending on what the review says.
Vetting and barring
Asked for the Prime Minister’s view on the announcement today regarding the Vetting and Barring Scheme, the PMS said that the proposals that were to be implemented were considered to be over the top and draconian. Clearly, safety of children was an absolute priority for the Government, but we wanted to look at the way we achieved that, and do it in a way that reflected common sense.