Press release

Press briefing: afternoon 17 October 2013

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

The Prime Minister’s Spokesperson (PMS) answered questions on free schools, teacher strike, army reservists, pornography and energy prices.


Asked if it was sexist for a man to give up a seat for a pregnant woman, the PMS said people could make their own judgements but he believed that giving up a seat to anyone with a greater need than themselves was the decent thing to do in any walk of life.

Free schools

Asked if the Prime Minister (PM) thought free schools were still a good idea, the PMS said the PM thought it was a good policy.

Asked if it was right for untrained teachers in free schools to be funded by the taxpayer, the PMS said that free school applications went through a rigorous process of scrutiny to be approved. Three quarters of all Ofsted inspections of free schools were awarded either good or outstanding, which was higher than the national average.

Teacher strike

Asked if the PM thought it was right for teachers to drink in pubs while on strike, the PMS said the strike was entirely unjustified because it disrupted children’s educations and parents’ family routines.

Army reservists

Asked what the PM thought about claims over problems with the recruitment of army reservists, the PMS said the government was balancing the need for a highly adaptable and capable Armed Forces with the need to deal with the black hole in finances. A programme of action for increasing the number of reservists and equipment was underway but it would take time to complete.


Asked about a report in the People’s Daily newspaper in China which claimed that the UK had mishandled Tibet, the PMS said the UK had a longstanding position on Tibet.


Asked if the PM would be concerned at a newspaper publishing a topless photo of 15-year-old girl, the PMS said there was a legal framework on such issues and it would be for the relevant authorities to decide.

Energy prices

Asked if the PM thought people should switch from British Gas following its price rise, the PMS said the PM would encourage any customers unhappy with their energy provider to look for a better deal.