Press briefing: morning 19 August 2013
This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government
The Prime Minister's Spokesperson answered questions on Gibraltar, David Miranda, lobbying, the Prince of Wales, fracking, families, Scotland and drugs.
Questioned on the on-going situation in Gibraltar, the Prime Minister’s Spokesperson (PMS) said that the government was actively considering legal action and compiling its own evidence. The PM had spoken to President Barroso and made it clear the delays were a serious concern and he wanted European Commission monitors sent to the border. It remained unacceptable that people crossing the border had to put up with totally disproportionate and politically motivated checks and the government wanted a quick resolution through political means.
Asked about the detention of David Miranda, the PMS said that it was an operational matter for the police.
Asked whether the PM had listened to comments about lobbying legislation, the PMS said that the initial report by the committee had been helpful. The government had consulted widely and considered the report carefully before bringing the Bill forward. The Bill would ensure greater transparency and built on the transparency measures currently in place.
Prince of Wales
Asked whether the PM was concerned that the Prince of Wales had been embedding his own staff into the Cabinet Office, the PMS said that there had been 3 secondments at junior levels over the last 5 years, which did not warrant concern. None of the work carried out by the secondees had related to the Duchy of Cornwall.
Questioned about the police handling of fracking protests, the PMS said that the police were managing and monitoring the protests. The PM believed that people could protest but it must be within the law. Asked more broadly about fracking, the PM believed shale gas presented a huge opportunity for the country. There was potential to lower energy bills and create jobs, but any exploration must go through a locally led planning process. Asked if the PM would be happy to have fracking in his constituency the PMS said that as long as the locally led planning process had been followed and the local community had been properly engaged and agreed then yes he would be happy.
Asked whether the government was doing enough for families, the PMS said that the government was unquestionably on the side of families, whatever their make up or background. More support for childcare, marriage recognised in the tax system, and the introduction of a single tier pension would all help families.
Asked whether the PM thought the Scottish referendum ‘Yes’ campaign was going to lose, the PMS said the campaign would continue until polling day and no one was complacent about the result. The PM had always been clear that he believed the union should remain together. The referendum debate should be led by Scottish voices, but the government would continue to set out information and analysis to help the debate.
Asked whether the PM agreed with Dame Sally Davies when she said that people who take drugs were uncivilised, the PMS said that the PM thought drugs ruined lives and caused misery to many.