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The Prime Minister's Spokesperson (PMS) answered questions on G8, gagging orders, GM foods, sexual exploitation, knighthoods and economic pact.
Questions were raised on the future of security at the summit ahead of yesterday’s unrest in London. The PMS made clear this was a matter for the police. Security surrounding G8 was being kept under review and there were no changes. Asked whether Bermuda’s resistance to sign up to any tax deals will effect negotiations going into G8, the PMS said that progress had been made and that taxation was at the heart of the G8 agenda.
Asked about the Foreign Secretary meeting his US counterpart, the PMS made clear that talks will focus on preparations ahead of G8. The PMS was asked whether the PM was concerned that he would not get agreement from all countries on ransom kidnapping. The PMS made clear that all issues were being discussed with G8 partners and that terrorism was on the agenda.
Asked whether the PM supports Sir David Nicholson and whether he had spoken to him recently, the PMS made clear that the Public Accounts Committee and its members would have the opportunity today to put these issues to Sir David. The PMS also made clear that he was not aware that the PM had spoken to Sir David Nicholson.
Genetically modified (GM) foods
Asked what the PM’s view is on expanding GM crops, the PMS said that there was a need for a precautionary approach and all decisions taken should be based on sound scientific advice. The PMS also recognised that there is a challenge globally as to how future food production is met.
A question was asked on what the government’s position is on sexual exploitation. The PMS said the PM set out his view at the weekend and was sickened by child sexual abuse. The PMS made clear that the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP) had doubled its numbers of staff since 2010, but were always looking at what more can be done. The PMS also said that Maria Miller and Clare Perry were getting internet companies around a table next week.
Asked whether the PM thinks other bankers should give up their knighthoods like James Crosby, the PMS said there is an independent process for forfeiture.
Questioned on whether the PMS could provide any further information on Northern Ireland’s economic pact, the PMS said that the government had been working with the Northern Ireland Assembly on what more can be done, and we will make a further announcement shortly.