Press briefing: afternoon 9 February 2015
This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government
The Prime Minister's Official Spokesperson answered questions about Ukraine, policing and traffic regulations.
When asked about the imposition of sanctions on Russian individuals, the Prime Minister’s Official Spokesman (PMOS) said that names of those subject to sanctions would be published in the official journal when the measure came into force. He said that there would be an opportunity on Wednesday for Russia, during Normandy format discussions in Minsk, to signal a different approach. He added that should Russia choose to de-escalate, there might be a small window of opportunity for today’s decision to be reconsidered. However, he said that unanimity would be required to revoke the sanctions and that the burden of proof to demonstrate intent to de-escalate would be on Russia entirely.
When asked about the Prime Minister’s personal leverage on President Putin, the PMOS said that the Prime Minister had always believed that alongside being critical where necessary, the UK should seek to engage diplomatically. He said this approach had always been part of the international community’s efforts to apply pressure and that the Prime Minister was one of a number of senior international leaders who was making the same point to President Putin.
He said evidence had been seen that sanctions had made an impact on Russia and the Russian economy. He added that the Prime Minister had long said there was a need to arrive at a political solution, and there was determination across the EU and US to continue to increase the political and economic costs
When asked about an apology from Wiltshire police after one of its officers asked a newsagent for the names of people who had bought a commemorative issue of Charlie Hebdo magazine, the PMOS said the constabulary’s apology spoke for itself.
When asked about European traffic regulations, the PMOS said it was right that the authorities in the UK could make a prosecution - should they choose to do so - where a motorist from an EU country committed an offence in the UK. He said that a principle of reciprocity applied, and that individual countries were able to prosecute those who committed driving offences in their jurisdictions. He said, however, that the UK did not support EU authorities being able to apply penalty points to a UK driver’s licence.