The PMS provided a diary update to the Lobby, and said that the PM will join a scheduled meeting between Lord Green and Prince Al-Waleed of the Kingdom Holding Company in Downing Street this afternoon. Discussions would be focussed on commercial interests between the UK and Saudi Arabia, as part of ongoing discussions about Britain’s bi-lateral relationship with Saudi.
This morning’s regional cabinet led on HS2. Cabinet members also heard presentations from those responsible for Yorkshire’s successful bid to host start of the 2014 Tour de France and from the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change on the launch of the Green Deal.
The Chancellor provided an update on the latest economic data, which the PMS summarised: Britain continues to face a difficult economic situation but there is data pointing towards the economy healing, such as the recent employment statistics and growth forecasts for 2013-14 which are stronger than those for both France and Germany.
Parliamentary boundaries and Equal Marriage legislation were both touched on in the update of forthcoming Parliamentary business, but there was no substantive discussion. Asked about reported comments by Philip Hammond on the issue of equal marriage, the PMS said that he was not aware that the PM and Mr Hammond had discussed the issue, but that it was the PMS’ understanding that media reports may not be accurate.
Asked when the Government would respond to the Dilnot report on care for the elderly, the PMS said that Government response would be published in due course.
Responding to media reports suggesting that appointments will shortly be made to the House of Lords, the PMS said that there were no specific timings for an announcement at present.
The PMS confirmed that discussions are ongoing on the role and level of UK participation in the EU training mission in Mali. The PM has previously spoken about tens not hundreds of personnel, and Lobby were referred to his statement to Parliament last week.