Asked about the PM’s speech on Britain’s place in the world and his views in Europe, the PMS said that the PM was setting out his global race agenda the week before the G8 summit. The PM’s views on the EU had been set out in a previous speech; membership of international organisations was important but he believed Britain’s relationship with the EU needed to change.
Questioned on the upcoming G8 summit, and the PM’s involvement, the PMS said that the PM had had a number of recent meetings with G8 leaders and he was pressing ahead with important agendas on development and tax transparency. Asked about the PM’s drive for transparency regarding tax, the PMS said the UK was working with G8 partners to make progress across the board. There had already been developments in piloting the exchange of information.
Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ)
Asked about the role of GCHQ and sharing intelligence with the United States, the PMS said that the PM agreed with the position set out by the Foreign Secretary over the weekend. The security services worked within a very strong legal framework, with strong ministerial oversight and parliamentary oversight from the Intelligence and Security Committee. The services did very important work keeping everyone safe, but questions had been raised and it was right that the Foreign Secretary provide a statement to the House.
Asked about the government’s action on lobbying, the PMS said that the government was bringing forward legislation before the summer recess. Regarding reports of impropriety in parliament, the PMS said it was a matter for the Parliamentary Standards Commission.
Asked whether the PM would be updating the House on the Bilderberg meeting discussions, the PMS said that the PM attended but it was a private meeting.