Asked whether there was cross government agreement that Leveson proposals should be published by the Conservative Party, the PMS said that there was agreement on publishing, and that talks continued with a view to finding a cross party agreement on the content of proposals.
Questioned on the government action on horsemeat, the PMS said that the FSA had made it clear to schools, hospitals and retailers that they should be seeking assurances from their suppliers about the content of their products. There was agreement at Cabinet that this is a labelling and retail practice issue, and that it was the responsibility of retailers and producers to get to the bottom of it.
Asked if it had been a mistake to take the responsibility for labelling from the FSA to the Department for Environment, the PMS said that the policy had moved from the FSA, but the responsibility for accurate labelling and contents of products was with retailers and suppliers. If contamination was a result of fraudulent activity, it was the government’s view that the full force of the law should apply. Asked whether the issue was limited to beef, the PMS said that there was no evidence of wider contamination.
Back to Work programme
Asked whether there was any response to the court ruling on the government’s Back to Work programme, the PMS said that the government was disappointed and would be appealing the decision.
Asked whether providing humanitarian aid to Mali was sign of mission creep, the PMS said that it was only a sign of a humanitarian commitment to Mali - providing clean water and medical supplies.