World Cup Bid
Asked why the Prime Minister wasn’t taking a break from his holiday to meet with the World Cup bid team, the Prime Minister’s Spokesman (PMS) said that the Prime Minister’s holiday was a longstanding arrangement and the Deputy Prime Minister would be hosting the event. The nature of the visit was technical and the team would be looking at facilities. The Prime Minister was fully behind the bid and would be involved as the bid progressed.
Asked if there was a need for the inside of passports to have a new design in this age of austerity, the PMS said that this particular project had been underway for some time, and security was part of the reason for a new design.
Dr David Kelly
Asked what the Prime Minister thought of the Attorney General looking into the pathologist’s report on David Kelly, the PMS said that if the Attorney General felt that there was material new evidence then he could apply to the High Court for an inquest.
Asked if the Prime Minister wanted this issue to be resolved sooner rather than later, the PMS said that the Attorney General had a particular legal role and it was a matter for him.
Asked if the Prime Minister shared the Treasury’s concern that some of the plans coming from the Department for Work and Pensions were impractical, the PMS said he assumed that this referred to reports at the weekend about disagreements between the two departments. There was a spending review underway and tackling the welfare bill would be a very important part of that. This was something that both the Work and Pensions Secretary and the Chancellor understood, and discussions were ongoing.
Asked if the Prime Minister was concerned that there seemed to be some disagreement, the PMS said that discussions were taking place between the two departments, and the Prime Minister was concerned about the size of the welfare bill and how to tackle it.
Asked if the Prime Minister was still committed to seeing through promises made in the coalition agreement, for example on free bus passes, the PMS said that the coalition agreement set out the government’s policy and we would protect those things referred to in the agreement. There was a spending review underway and it would take a hard look at the welfare bill and when that process had concluded there would be an announcement.
Asked if the Prime Minister had spoken to Patrick Mercer with reference to his suggestion that Irish republican dissidents planned to make an attack, the PMS said that he was not aware of any phone call. We were not complacent about these things, but we would not provide a running commentary.
Asked if the Prime Minister thought that taxpayers’ money should be spent on glossy reports on human rights records around the world, the PMS said that it was something that we needed to look at and the Foreign Office had been saying as much; there was no question that we would be providing information on these issues, but in the current financial climate we should look at whether we published it in the most cost-effective way.