Press briefing - afternoon 26 April 2012
This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government
The Leveson inquiry was discussed at the Number 10 afternoon press briefing.
Asked to clarify the meetings between the PM and Rupert Murdoch, the PMS said that Downing Street had published the list of meetings and was confident that the list was correct.
Asked whether the government regarded Rupert Murdoch’s revised evidence as accurate, the PMS said that he thought the Downing Street list was accurate.
Asked to define what was classed as a meeting, the PMS said that within the declarations of meetings published by ministers, there are footnotes explaining the scope of what is published.
Asked at what stage the Permanent Secretary of DCMS was aware of Adam Smith’s discussions with NewsCorp and whether he had authorised his position as a go-between before or during the correspondence, the PMS said they were questions to be answered by the Permanent Secretary of DCMS.
Asked whether the PM still had full confidence that the Culture Secretary’s comments made in the House of Commons were accurate, the PMS said that the PM was confident he had acted properly.
Asked whether it was premature to have full confidence without an inquiry, the PMS said that the PM had set out his view. It was his responsibility to decide who was a minister in his government.
Asked whether the Leveson Inquiry had asked for emails sent by Adam Smith, the PMS referred the journalist to the Leveson Inquiry.
Asked why Sir Jeremy Heywood had spoken to Lord Leveson, the PMS said that the Cabinet Office had issued a statement.
Asked whether the phone call was the PM’s idea, the PMS said that the Cabinet Office statement made clear the reasons for the call.
Asked whether the PM discussed the contents of the call with Sir Jeremy Heywood beforehand, the PMS said that Sir Jeremy was aware that MPs were asking him about the issues raised in the inquiry and he wanted to ensure that he did not cut across the inquiry’s work.
Asked whether the Leveson Inquiry would look into breaches of the ministerial code, the PMS said that the Leveson Inquiry’s remit was set out in its terms of reference.
Asked whether there would be any investigation into a breach of the ministerial code, the PMS said that the PM believed the Culture Secretary had acted properly and Lord Leveson had also made a clear statement about investigations running alongside his inquiry.
Asked whether the PM would deny Harriet Harman’s request for an investigations into breaches of the ministerial code, the PMS said that the PM would respond, but that the PM believed Jeremy Hunt acted properly and there was no reason to refer the issue to Sir Alex Allan.
Asked when the PM satisfied himself that there was no need to have an inquiry, the PMS said that the PM spoke to the Culture Secretary on Tuesday.
Asked whether the PM could ask for an investigation into the ministerial code after the Leveson Inquiry has concluded, the PMS said that it was a hypothetical question.
Asked whether the PM had ever called on the services of of the independent advisor, the PMS said that he had not.
Asked whether the independent advisor should be called independent, the PMS said that ultimately the PM was responsible for who was in his government and it was his decision whether to launch an investigation into whether there had been a breach of the ministerial code.
Asked whether the independent advisor could not start an investigation now alongside the Leveson Inquiry, the PMS said that there was already a public inquiry and we agreed with what Lord Leveson had said.
Asked when the PM was due to appear before the Leveson Inquiry, the PMS said that it was a matter for the Leveson Inquiry to announce when witnesses would appear.