The Falkland Islands referendum and the Eurozone Banking Union were among topics discussed at this press briefing.
Falkland Islands Referendum
Asked to clarify what the PM means when he says he would respect and defend the Falkland Islands’ decision in their referendum on sovereignty, the PMS said that the PM believes it is up to the Falkland Islanders to decide if they want to be British.
Asked whether the defence would include military action, the PMS said that we support the fact that the Falkland Islands have the right to self determination.
Asked whether the government was concerned about relations with Argentina, the PMS said that Argentina had not been warm or helpful regarding the sovereignty of the Falkland Islands, but it is right that the Falkland Islands determine their own sovereignty.
Asked whether Argentina was given a warning of the announcement, the PMS referred the journalist to the government of the Falkland Islands.
Asked whether holding a referendum will help the Falkland Islanders’ case at the UN, the PMS said that it was important that the Falkland Islanders put their opinion across.
Asked if there was any indication that the Argentineans or Mexicans want the Falkland Islands to be discussed at the upcoming G20 meetings, the PMS said that the referendum is a decision made by the Falkland Islands government and the G20 agenda had already been set, but the FCO may be able to add more detail.
Asked when Britain last met with Argentina, the PMS referred the journalist to the FCO.
Asked whether the British government had played any part in the decision to hold a referendum, the PMS said that it was a decision made by the Falkland Islands but it was supported by the British government.
Asked when the British government were aware of the decision to hold a referendum, the PMS said that the announcement had been made that day.
Asked whether the PM was surprised that the President of Argentina was due to attend a UN committee on decolonisation, the PMS said that there has been increasing Argentinean rhetoric which has caused concern.
Asked if the government was concerned with potential criminal sanctions against British companies, the PMS said that there had been comments made about trading relations with the UK, which were deeply unhelpful and of some concern. The referendum was welcome news.
Asked whether the UK government was instrumental in the decision for a referendum, the PMS said that it had been a Falkland Island government decision and the British government support their decision.
Asked whether the British government were funding the referendum, the PMS said that it was the Falkland Islands’ referendum and they would fund it.
Asked whether the PM would campaign in the referendum, the PMS said that the PM had been clear in his views but was unlikely to campaign.
Asked whether the government believed there was any doubt over the result of the referendum, the PMS said that the point of the referendum was to send a very clear message on the sovereignty of the islands.
Asked whether the Electoral Commission would be involved in the referendum, the PMS said that it was a matter for the Falkland Island government.
Asked whether the PM would visit the Falkland Islands, the PMS said that there were currently no plans for the PM to visit but Jeremy Browne was currently visiting the islands.
Britain in Europe
Asked whether the PM would provide a referendum on Britain’s involvement in Europe, the PMS said that it was not in the country’s interests to hold a referendum on Europe at the moment and that it was right to concentrate on solving the Eurozone problems. However, should there be any proposed transfer of power to Brussels, a referendum on those proposals would be triggered.
Eurozone Banking Union
Asked whether the government accepts that a European Banking Union would impact UK banks, the PMS said that the Chancellor had set out his position that if the Eurozone wanted a Banking Union, it was a matter for the Eurozone. Britain will ensure its interests are secured.
Asked whether the PM would be using a veto on any further integration or Banking Union, the PMS said that she would not speculate on future decisions.
Banking White Paper
Asked whether the Banking White Paper would be published later in the week, the PMS said that it would.