Press briefing: morning 17 May 2013
This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government
The PMS took questions on gay marriage, Nigel Farrange, Sri Lanka, the cost of politics, Europe, childcare and the Spending Review.
Asked whether Phillip Hammond was speaking for government in the views he had expressed on gay marriage, the Prime Minister’s Spokesman (PMS) said that there was a free vote on this issue, that would enable individual MPs to set out their positions and vote accordingly. The Prime Minister’s position is that he is a big believer in marriage, and that is why he thinks that gay people should be able to get married as well.
Asked about the critical reception that Nigel Farrage received during a visit to Scotland yesterday, the PMS said that the Prime Minister had not expressed a particular view on what had happened to him, but that active political debate took place in the UK on a range of issues.
Asked whether Sri Lanka should be invited to a Commonwealth event commemorating the First World War next year, the PMS said that the usual approach on inviting members of the Commonwealth should be followed.
Cost of politics
Asked how the creation of 30 new Peers would assist the Prime Minister in delivering on his commitment to reduce the cost of politics, the PMS said that he wouldn’t speculate on new appointments, but that there was clear evidence of the Prime Minister’s commitment to this matter from the approach that had been taken on ministerial salaries, which have been cut by 5% and frozen across the period of this Parliament.
Asked what the Prime Minister would say to views expressed by Francois Hollande on his position on Europe, the PMS said that there was a debate ongoing in Europe about its future, and that changes needed to be made. The Prime Minister’s view was that Europe should become more competitive and flexible.
Asked about the Prime Minister’s approach on childcare, the PMS said that there had been a consultation on the issue, that government was considering the responses, and would set out a way forward on this in due course.
Asked about the level of spending cuts that had been achieved by departments so far, ahead of the Spending Review, the PMS said that government would set out its budget for 2015 to 2016 on 26 June, and that the normal Spending Review process would be followed.