Press release

Press briefing: morning 1 September 2014

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

The Prime Minister's Spokesperson (PMS) answered questions on Ukraine, security, Scotland and Ashya King.

Ukraine

Asked for the Prime Minister’s reaction to President Putin’s calls for talks on statehood for the Ukraine, the Prime Minister’s Spokesperson (PMS) said that type of statement is wholly at odds with what the Prime Minister and other EU Council leaders have said on the importance of respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Ukraine. Additional measures for deepening and furthering Tier Three Tier Two measures will be presented this week as Russia has not taken a path to de-escalate the situation.

Asked if plans for Russia to host the 2018 World Cup should be changed, the PMS said the focus for the coming weeks was on the political solution to the problem and the measures and pressure that need to be brought to bear.

Security

Asked about the nature of the discussions between the PM and DPM ahead of the PM’s statement to the House of Commons, the PMS said discussions had taken place across government involving a whole series of departments ahead of the statement and the PM would set out the targeted measures the government would be taking to address the gaps in our armoury shortly.

He added that it was important to have a detailed look across the board to produce the most effective package of policy and that this is about targeting an extremism that seeks to do harm to all of British society. Asked if new legislation or extending the existing provision might be announced, the PMS said the right approach was to agree the measures and then establish the right way to put them into place.

Asked about the UK’s duty to not let British citizens become stateless, the PMS pointed to the approach taken in the Immigration Act which gives the Home Secretary power to remove citizenship from naturalised British citizens where the Home Secretary has reasonable grounds for believing the person is able to become a national of another country. He added that government would look at all the ways in which we can keep citizens safe. Put that other countries might not want to detain people if they were deemed unsafe, the PMS said we see a good degree of international co-operation between the UK and other countries, while first and foremost is the protection of UK citizens.

Asked if human rights were a factor in discussions, the PMS said that a wide range of factors had been considered. Asked if there were legitimate reasons to travel to Syria, the PMS said that travel advice is clear: we advise people considering travel not to go. Asked if anyone was on a TPIM or if they had all lapsed, the PMS referred media to the quarterly updates published by the Home Office.

Scotland

Asked if there were any contingencies in place for a ‘Yes’ vote, the PMS said ‘no’ and that the government was entirely focussed on staying in the Union and making the positive case for the UK. Asked about possible PM visits, the PMS said while he could not comment on the PM’s travel plans, the PM himself made clear that he would be in Scotland in the coming weeks and previously had been there for ceremonies around the Commonwealth Games, World War 1 commemorations and had been there on Thursday and Friday last week, on top of a number of other events and visits this year.

Ashya King

Asked if the PM had sympathy for the parents of Ashya King, the PMS said that people will understand and be moved by the grave illness Ashya is suffering from, and the priority is that he gets the very best medical care. He added that the parental instinct is to do the very best for a child and while he was not familiar with the details of the case, the priority is the little boy’s health.