Asked for comment on Abu Qatada’s deportation, the PMS said that the case was ongoing. The PM and Home Secretary were determined to put Abu Qatada on a plane back to Jordan as soon as possible.
Asked for the PM’s personal view on childcare arrangements, the PMS said that the PM supported what Education Minister Liz Truss had said in the House the previous day, that the UK had one of the highest costs for childcare provision in the UK as well as one of the tightest carer to child ratios. There was a need to cut costs to provide better access to excellent childcare for parents across the country. This could be done by providing greater flexibility to childcare providers over carer to child ratios.
Asked about the proposed Queen’s Speech amendment over an EU referendum, the PMS said that the amendment had only recently been tabled and it was a matter for the Speaker whether it would be heard. The PM was considering the amendment and was happy to look at ways of strengthening his commitment to a referendum in the next parliament. The PM’s position on the EU was clear; he wanted to see a reformed European Union which was more open, more flexible and more competitive, and ultimately gave a better deal for the UK.
Russia and Syria
Asked about the PM’s meeting with President Putin and the progress on Syria, the PMS said that the PM would be discussing a range of issues with President Putin ahead of the upcoming G8 meeting. It was expected that Syria would be discussed, specifically how the international community could advance a solution.
Asked whether the PM believed the UK could learn about economic growth from Latvia or Estonia, the PMS said that the PM believed the economy was healing. There were still some challenges facing the country, but we were on the right path and it was important we stuck to it.