Press release

Number 10 Press Briefing - Morning From 26 November 2010

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

From the Prime Minister's spokesperson on: ofgem, Frances Lawrence, wikileaks, tuition fees and misc.

Ofgem

Asked if the Prime Minister welcomed the action Ofgem had taken today to investigate rising energy bills, the Prime Minister’s Spokesman (PMS) said that the Prime Minister welcomed Ofgem’s decision to look at the effectiveness of energy markets.

Put that the Consumer Focus Group said this morning that structure of the market was the real problem, the PMS said that it was a matter for Ofgem, which was doing exactly the right thing: looking into the effectiveness of this market and whether or not it was working from a consumer’s perspective.

Asked if the Prime Minister understood how important the issue of energy bills was to most people, the PMS said yes; energy bills were a significant expense for many families in this country and that’s why it was important to see these markets working effectively.

Frances Lawrence

Asked if the Prime Minister would like to apologise to Frances Lawrence for the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) ignoring her letters and not giving her details of where the man who murdered her husband lived, the PMS said that there had been correspondence between MoJ and Frances Lawrence, which set out the position on the issue of where Mr Chindamo lived.  Providing more information on where Mr Chindamo lived would be unlawful, so it was not a question of giving more rights to criminals than to victims, it was an issue about compliance with the law.  Clearly this was a very distressing case, which the Prime Minister had spoken about it the past, and he was very concerned about the ongoing distress that Mrs Lawrence and her family were suffering.

Asked about the ignored letters that Mrs Lawrence sent to MoJ, the PMS said it was best to speak to the department as he was not aware of all the specific details regarding the correspondence.

Put that Mrs Lawrence had only wanted to know if Mr Chindamo was living in north or south London which didn’t seem a lot to ask, the PMS said that it was completely understandable why people thought that, but the department had set out that providing further information would have been unlawful.

Put that the Government could change the law so that victims of violent crime had the right to find out more detail about where the offender lived, the PMS said that we were concerned about the rights of victims, but there was a long-standing position and departments did not break the law.

Wikileaks

Asked how the Government was preparing for the release of hundreds of diplomatic papers, the PMS said that the Government had been briefing by US officials, including the Ambassador as to the likely content of those leaks.

Tuition Fees

Put that it had been indicated that Liberal Democrat Ministers would be able to abstain from the vote and asked if that applied to members of the Cabinet, the PMS said that some members of the Cabinet were Lib Dem Ministers. 

Asked about the collective responsibility of Cabinet, the PMS said that collective responsibility applied, but there were specific provisions in the Coalition agreement that allowed Lib Dem MPs to abstain on this issue.

Misc

Asked about the financial autumn statement, the PMS said that it was a forecast by the Office for Budget Responsibility.  There could be areas of policy where the Treasury would want to consult.

Asked if the Prime Minister was concerned that Britain had been blamed for misrepresenting an Afghan man as a Taliban leader, the PMS said that we would not get into operational detail on those sorts of issues.