Asked about a National Security Council (NSC) meeting that day, the Prime Minister’s Spokesperson (PMS) confirmed the leader of the opposition had attended and the meeting had lasted an hour. He said the NSC had discussed Afghanistan, Iran and Syria, spending about 20 minutes on each topic. They discussed progress in Afghanistan following the transfer of security responsibilities to Afghan forces across the country; the election of a new president in Iran and Syria in the context of the G8 discussions. Asked if Ed Miliband contributed to discussions, the PMS said he was a full participant in the meeting. Responding to a question on Syria, the PMS said the NSC met regularly to discuss Syria as would be expected. Asked if a military contribution in Syria was discussed at the meeting, the PMS said that discussions were focused on how to achieve a political solution that could lead to political transition. Responding to a question on Afghanistan, the PMS said no-one had said this kind process was easy or straightforward, but it was important to achieve stability in that country and in the region so that Afghanistan was not a haven for terrorists as it had been in the past. The government was very supportive of this process of engagement.
Asked about Mervyn King’s claims that banks had lobbied the government, the PMS said the regulatory body set up by this government, the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA), was completely independent and it made independent decisions on capital levels in banks and this was the right thing for them to do. The PMS said the government empowered the regulator that it had set up to be independent to allow them to get on with their job and that was what they were doing.
Asked about the Home Office’s proposals to introduce a pilot for migrant bonds, the PMS said the details of the pilot would be published in due course by the Home Office. He said the government were looking at a range of measures and bonds were one option being considered around dealing, in a targeted way, with the risk of overstaying and creating a deterrent to that. Asked what other measures the government were looking at, the PMS referred to the Immigration Bill in the Queen’s Speech which looked at access to health services and the private rental sector. supp