Briefing by the Prime Minister's Spokesman on: Turkey, European Investigation Order, AV referendum and BP.
Asked if the Prime Minister was canvassing for Turkey to join the EU, the Prime Minister’s Spokeswoman (PMS) said that the Prime Minister had said during his speech this morning that he would remain Turkey’s strongest possible advocate for EU Membership and for greater influence at the top table of European diplomacy.
Asked if the Prime Minister mentioned immigration controls in his speech, the PMS said that the Prime Minister did not make direct reference to immigration controls, but clearly there were concerns about this and changes needed to be made. We wanted to ensure that the brightest and the best people who wanted to work and study in Britain were able to do so.
Asked if the Prime Minister agreed with the Business Secretary that immigration policy should be as liberal as possible, the PMS said that the Home Secretary had made our position very clear; we wanted to reduce immigration from the hundreds of thousands to the tens of thousands, and the system needed overhauling. We needed to ensure that people didn’t abuse the system and those who wanted to come and work and study here were able to do so.
Asked if there would be specific transitional arrangements regarding immigration if Turkey joined the EU, the PMS said that we were not going to speculate on what future policies there may or may not be, but of course it could be a possibility.
European Investigation Order
Asked about the European Investigation Order announcement later today, the PMS said that the Home Secretary was considering whether to opt in or opt out of the directive and would make a statement this afternoon. We would not pre-empt the statement.
Asked if the Prime Minister was concerned by the fact that more than 40 MPs had signed a Commons motion protesting at plans to hold a referendum on voting reform on the same day as key elections in Scotland and Wales, the PMS said that it was not for her to comment on the political aspects of this, but the government had made its position clear regarding electoral reform; the programme was an ambitious one and the two constitutional reform bills were being debated by MPs at the moment.
Asked what the Prime Minister thought about the change at the head of BP, the PMS said that it was a commercial decision for the company.
Asked what the Prime Minister thought about the record losses reported by BP today, the PMS said that BP was an important company both to the UK and US economies. The Energy Secretary had said today that BP remained a strong and stable company.