The Falkland Islands, the Culture Secretary, Greece in the Eurozone, and Number 10 recorded phonecalls were among topics discussed at this press briefing.
Asked what David Lidington was addressing in his oral statement later that day, the PMS said that he would update the House on the Falkland Island referendum.
Asked what the PM thought of the DPM’s lack of backing in the debate over the Culture Secretary’s handling of the BSkyB bid, the PMS said that the PM had made his position on Jeremy Hunt clear. The PM will no doubt be asked about it in PMQs.
Asked whether the PM shared some Conservative MPs’ anger at the lack of Liberal Democrat support, the PMS said that it was a coalition government and sometimes they choose to vote differently.
Asked whether the PM was relaxed about the debate, the PMS said that she would not try to characterise his response.
Asked whether it would not be easier to refer the issue to Sir Alex Allan, the PMS said that the PM has previously made comments on referral to Sir Alex Allen. The evidence already provided by Jeremy Hunt showed that he acted in a thoroughly proper way and took independent advice at every turn. As the Permanent Secretary for DCMS made very clear, Jeremy Hunt set up a process which left him a vanishingly small chance to manipulate the bid. The PM will not be referring Jeremy Hunt because he has acted properly.
Asked why the PM had not discussed the issue of referral with the DPM, the PMS said that it is up to the PM to appoint people to the Cabinet and his decision to make judgements on whether the ministerial code had been broken. In his view Jeremy Hunt has acted properly.
Asked when the PM was told of the DPM’s decision for Liberal Democrats to abstain from the vote, the PMS said that the Whips office are in regular contact with the PM and DPM’s offices.
Asked whether the PM would attend the debate or vote, the PMS said that the PM had engagements in his diary.
Greece in the Eurozone
Asked whether the PM thinks Greece may have to leave the Eurozone, the PMS said that it is ultimately for the Eurozone to stand behind its currency. The PM is not predicting whether Greece will or will not leave the Eurozone.
Asked whether the PM would agree with the Chancellor’s comments that the efforts to resolve the Eurozone crisis have so far been frustrating and depressing, the PMS said that there were difficult issues being addressed. The Chancellor set out views which are shared by the Government. There are no doubts that the Eurozone is in crisis and the issues need to be addressed. It is frustrating when we want to see a resolution to the crisis.
No10 recorded phonecalls
Asked whether there had been any requests to Downing Street for recorded conversations from previous Prime Ministers, the PMS referred the journalist to the Cabinet Office.