Press release

Number 10 Press Briefing - Morning From 5 April 2011

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

From the Prime Minister's spokesperson on: Oliver Letwin comments, Libya and tuition fees.

Oliver Letwin Comments

Asked whether Oliver Letwin would apologise after the Prime Minister confirmed he had made remarks about Sheffield, the Prime Minister’s spokeswoman (PMS) told the assembled press that it was not practice to comment on private conversations and referred them to the comments made by both Oliver Letwin and the Prime Minister earlier in the day.

Libya

Asked which Minister was leading the debate on UK humanitarian aid to Libya, the PMS told journalists that it would be Andrew Mitchell.

Asked whether discussions were taking place today with the EU about lifting EU sanctions against Musa Kusa following comments by the Foreign Secretary yesterday, the PMS referred journalists to the Foreign Office.

Asked whether Musa Kusa was receiving medical treatment and whether he was receiving any advice from lawyers while he was in the UK, the PMS replied that Musa Kusa was in a safe location and was in discussions with officials.

Asked what the Prime Minister’s position was following the Libyan regime saying it was prepared to consider constitutional change if Qadhafi stays in position, the PMS replied that the Government’s position was very clear - Qadhafi must go. Any solution, which would not be dictated by the UK Government, must be acceptable to the Libyan people.

Asked whether any extradition requests for Musa Kusa had been received, the PMS referred journalists to the Home Office.

Tuition Fees

Asked whether the Prime Minister was concerned about plans by universities such as the University of Central Lancashire to charge the maximum amount of £9,000, the PMS replied that the expectation has always been that universities would only charge £9,000 as an exception, not the norm. There is a process in place with the Office of Fair Access. Those universities that want to charge a higher fee will need to provide an access plan that needs to be approved by the Director of Fair Access, setting out their reasons and how they are going to encourage access for people from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Put that quite a few universities have now said they are going to charge the maximum, the PMS replied that not all universities have said what charges they want to make and if they want to charge higher than the base rate they have to provide an access plan.