Press release

Press briefing: afternoon 10 July 2013

The Prime Minister's Spokesperson answered questions on the Foreign Secretary, BBC, party funding, MPs' interests, Royal Mail, parliament and Wimbledon.

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


Foreign Secretary

Asked whether the Prime Minister (PM) thinks it’s acceptable for a cabinet minister to call another MP a “stupid woman”, the Prime Minister’s Spokesperson (PMS) confirmed he had seen the reports and pointed media to the Foreign Secretary’s response. Asked whether the PM worries that the government is getting a reputation for casual sexism, the PMS replied that policies such as childcare and the single tier pension demonstrate what the government is doing for women in this country.

BBC severance pay

Asked about the PM’s view of BBC executives who signed off large payouts and whether they should still be in their jobs, the PMS said that this is a matter for the BBC to look into and they are doing that.

Party funding

Asked whether negotiations on party funding would be reopened, the PMS pointed to political colleagues for a full response on this. He pointed out that the coalition agreement said it would look at this and that cross party talks have only recently failed.

Asked what offer the PM is making on legislation, the PMS pointed to the PM’s words in the house. The PMS also confirmed that the lobbying bill will be published next week.

MPs’ outside interests

Asked whether it is right to interpret that the PM is happy for MPs to have outside interests, the PMS pointed to Prime Minister’s Questions, where the PM gave some examples of MPs who bring a great deal to the house through their outside experience. He also said that transparency means that constituents can see how money is earned. Pushed on the value of outside experience, the PMS said that the point about transparency is that constituents can judge for themselves.

Royal Mail

Asked whether there are plans for a campaign on shares in Royal Mail, the PMS confirmed that the public will be able to purchase shares and that the sale story has led the media bulletins and been made clear in Parliament.

Parliamentary debate

Asked whether the PM thinks behaviour in parliament needs to be calmer and whether the PM was happy to be cut off by the speaker, the PMS said that there was a robust exchange of views, as there often is, on very important issues such as healthcare, party funding and the economy.


Asked for an explanation for the PM congratulating Andy Murray as the first “player” to win Wimbledon in 77 years, the PMS explained that in the course of the PM’s enthusiasm, he used the word “player” rather than “man”.

Published 11 July 2013