The Prime Minister's Spokesperson (PMS) answered questions on Lady Thatcher's funeral, Leveson and Afghanistan.
Lady Thatcher’s funeral
The PMS provided an update on the costs of Lady Thatcher’s funeral. He said that:
The current estimated cost for Lady Thatcher’s funeral was £1.6 million. The final figures would be published before the summer recess. The major opportunity cost with regards to this type of event was policing. The opportunity costs for policing was around £2 million. Of the £1.6 million, around £500,000 related to ceremonial costs, (costs to do with St Paul’s Cathedral, the Mansion House reception and printing and circulation of invitations), and £1.1 million was the additional policing and security costs.
Asked to clarify what was included in the costs provided on Lady Thatcher’s funeral, the PMS said the figure provided is the cost to the public purse. That Lady Thatcher’s family did make a contribution to costs in addition to that, such as undertaking costs and flowers. The PMS said that government would publish the full costs at a later date. Asked whether it included the opportunity costs of troops, the PMS said that it incurred some ceremonial military costs as well as the opportunity cost of policing.
Asked how the PM would respond to the alternative Royal Charter put forward by the newspaper industry, the PMS said that the Privy Council Office (PCO) will need to look at this proposal. The PM’s view on this is that there is a Royal Charter proposal that has cross-party agreement, a couple of hours ago we had proposals from the industry, the PCO will need to look at those proposals as Royal Charters are agreed by the Privy Council. The PMS said he was not aware of any changes to the timetable for the government’s Royal Charter going to the Privy Council.
Asked if the PM would support the funding of a memorial to those service personnel that had died in Afghanistan, the PMS said he hadn’t seen the Opposition’s proposals and so could not comment on the specifics. He said that the PM has made it very clear of his admiration for the incredible work and of course, tragically, sometimes, the sacrifice of British troops in Afghanistan. He and the Secretary of State for Defence had championed aspects of the military covenant.
The PMS said that the next lobby would be on Monday 29 April, followed by a lobby on the morning of Tuesday 7 May.