Press release

Number 10 Press Briefing - Morning From 16 May 2011

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

From the Prime Minister's spokesperson on: Chris Huhne, IMF, Libya, health.

Chris Huhne

Asked if the Prime Minister had spoken to Chris Huhne, the Prime Minister’s Spokesman (PMS) said they had both attended the National Security Council meeting on Libya that morning.

Asked if the Prime Minister or anyone in Downing Street had discussed the allegations against Chris Huhne with the Minister, the PMS said he would not discuss conversations between the Prime Minister and his Ministers or comment further. He also told assembled media that Chris Huhne denied all the allegations.

Asked if it were possible for a Minister to remain in Government when under investigation, the PMS pointed out that he was not under investigation and denied the allegations, but that it had certainly happened in the past.

Asked if the Prime Minister had full confidence in Chris Huhne, the PMS said yes. Asked if Chris Huhne had offered to resign, the PMS replied that he had not.

IMF

Asked if the head of the IMF should stay in his role, the PMS explained that that was a matter for the IMF.

Put that the allegations against the head of the IMF could have a distracting affect on its work on the economy, the PMS replied that the IMF was a big organisation and that the work of the organisation would continue. The PMS pointed out that the IMF had put arrangements in place so that Strauss-Kahn’s deputy would attend certain meetings on his behalf.

Libya

Asked if there would be a change in approach in military targeting within Libya, the PMS stated that targeting was a matter for NATO.

Asked about differences in statements by the Chief of Defence staff (CDS) and the Secretary of State for Defence Liam Fox, the PMS said that they had both been setting out the Government’s position: that we would continue to exert pressure on the regime, in line with the UN Security Resolution 1973.

Asked if the NSC meeting had discussed targeting, the PMS said that the group had reviewed progress and had looked at how Government could exert further pressure on the regime.

Health

Asked about the expected time frame for consultations on health reform, the PMS replied that there had been a natural pause to the legislative timetable. We were conducting a listening exercise and would have more to say after the exercise had concluded.

Put that some people conducting the listening exercise had doubts about the reform in question, the PMS explained that the Government’s objective was to have a debate on reforms and to listen to people’s views, reflect on them and see where changes should be made.