Press briefing: afternoon 18 December 2013
This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government
The Prime Minister’s Spokesperson (PMS) answered questions on Theresa Villiers, Hinckley Point, the Barnet Formula and shares.
Asked what was happening with Theresa Villiers and the Cabinet Office inquiry into her meetings with lobbyists, the PMS directed media to the Prime Minister’s (PM’s) earlier words on the subject. He confirmed Theresa Villiers had written to the Cabinet Secretary and the Cabinet Secretary would be writing back to her. Asked if the Cabinet Secretary’s response would be made public, the PMS said that was matter for Theresa Villiers. Asked whether the Cabinet Secretary’s letter was the result of a formal inquiry, or simply a response to Theresa Villier’s letter, the PMS said it was a response to the letter. Asked if the PM had spoken to Theresa Villiers about these issues, the PMS said the PM regularly discussed a range of issues with his Northern Ireland Secretary.
Asked if the PM was concerned the European Commission had announced an investigation into the Hinckley Point deal, the PMS said the government had always accepted it would be right for the European Commission to consider a project of this type and scale. He added the government’s view had not changed.
Asked if it was the PM’s position that we must await the stabilisation of public finance before there is a review of the Barnet Formula, the PMS said the PM had set out his position recently with the Deputy Prime Minister (DPM) in Cardiff and there had been no change to that. Asked if the Scottish Secretary’s comments that there would be no review in this Parliament, meant the PM thought public finance wouldn’t be stable by 2015, the PMS said the way the government was tackling the deficit was clearly set out in the Autumn Statement.
Asked if it was the government should stop dealing in shares after negative reports around Lloyds and Royal Mail, the PMS pointed media to the National Audit Office (NAO) report on Lloyds that said the sale provided good value for money and was managed effectively.