The Prime Minister’s spokesperson (PMS) answered questions on Syria, lobbying, the economy, legal aid and judicial reviews.
Asked if Syria would be discussed at the forthcoming G20 summit, the PMS told journalists that although there is not a formal agenda item on Syria, there will be discussions in the margins and the UK would be full participants in those discussions. He told journalists that the PM believes that there should be a robust response to the use of chemical weapons in Syria and that we are pursuing a political, diplomatic and humanitarian approach but the PM has no plans to return to the House of Commons on this issue.
Asked if the government intended to publish further Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC) assessments on Syria, the PMS said he was not aware of any plans to do so. He said that the government had arrived at a clear judgement based on the evidence we have already.
Asked if the PM thought that the lobbying bill raises real concerns over freedom of speech because of its potential impact on charities, the PMS said that the bill is not about limiting campaigns, rather it is about limiting direct support for the political campaigns of parliament and parties. He said that the government will listen to any points being made by third parties but believes that these are the right proposals.
Asked about the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) growth forecasts, the PMS said that they were moving in a favourable direction but the government’s plan is to secure the recovery and keep going with the measures we are taking to deal with the deficit.
Legal aid/judicial review
Asked about the cabinet discussion on legal aid and judicial reviews, the PMS said that the government would soon be setting out the way forward on both these areas so Chris Grayling updated the cabinet ahead of that.