Asked for the Prime Minister’s (PM’s) reaction to the CPS withdrawing the arrest warrant against Mr and Mrs King, the Prime Minister’s Spokesperson (PMS) said it was his hope that Ashya would be reunited as quickly as possible with his parents. Asked what contact there had been between Downing Street and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), the PMS said that the CPS must reach its decisions independently and had signalled yesterday that they were reviewing the case. He added that there had been contact between the Department of Health and the hospital involved, and that the Health Secretary was looking into lessons learnt. He also referred the media to the PM’s comments, made to Capital Radio Yorkshire earlier today when he said:
Watching the pictures of him brought back memories of my desperately ill young boy, Ivan, and I remember him endlessly sitting on my lap and having to feed him through a tube, and having to deal with all of the difficulties of having a desperately ill child… I just hope there’ll be an outbreak of common sense – and a rapid outbreak of common sense – so that the family can be reunited with this young boy and the best treatment can be given to him, either in the United Kingdom, or elsewhere.
Asked about transport arrangements for the Kings, the PMS said that assistance would continue to be provided to the family by the Embassy in Spain. He added that if there was a role that the government could usefully play it would be looked at very constructively.
Asked when the new chair to replace Baroness Butler-Sloss would be announced in light of the Home Secretary’s comments today, the PMS emphasised that these were 2 distinct issues: there is an inquiry into historic child abuse and that separately the Home Secretary had today spoken about the government’s immediate response to the report into child abuse in Rotherham. On the matter of the chair, the PMS said that work is well underway to identify the person who will lead that panel and an announcement would be made once that was finalised. Put that the rules for sacking Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) should be addressed, the PMS said that PCCs were important for local accountability and every PCC who wants to have more than one term in office will have to run on their record and seek re-election.
Prime Minister’s calls
Asked if the PM had made any recent phone calls to foreign leaders on the issue of the Islamic State (IS), the PMS said he had spoken to EU Leaders at the weekend and he would meet with his NATO counterparts on Thursday and the NATO Secretary General on Wednesday.