Asked for the Prime Minister’s reaction to the European Court of Human Rights ruling to halt the extradition of Abu Hamza, the Prime Minister’s Spokesman (PMS) said that there was nothing to add to what the Home Office had already said; we would await the court’s judgement in the case, and in the meantime the individuals in question would remain in custody.
Asked if there would be any changes to the extradition arrangements between the UK and the US, the PMS said that the Government’s position remained as set out in the coalition document.
Asked if the Prime Minister had confidence in Michael Gove, the PMS said yes.
Asked if the Prime Minister thought Michael Gove mishandled the announcement on Building Schools for the Future (BSF), the PMS said that there were mistakes made and Mr Gove had apologised for those mistakes yesterday.
Asked if there was any thought about abandoning the plans to scrap BSF projects, the PMS said no; the statement that the Secretary of State made at the beginning of the week still stood. There were problems with this programme and the financial environment was very tight at the moment.
Sir Alan Budd
Put that Sir Alan Budd quit the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) because he wasn’t given the independence he expected, the PMS said that that was not true; Sir Alan Budd was originally appointed for a fixed-term and as such was only ever going to hold his position for a limited amount of time.
Put that the OBR should not be situated in the Treasury, the PMS said that the OBR had been established on an interim basis in order to add transparency and independent scrutiny of the forecast on which the Budget was based. There would be a bill soon to establish the OBR on a statutory footing.