Press briefing: morning 19 December 2013
This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government
The Prime Minister’s Spokesperson (PMS) answered questions on Lords reform, Europe, Ministerial Code and the armed forces.
Asked about Lords reform, the PMS said reform had been in the Coalition Agreement but had not had a successful conclusion. Regarding the working arrangements of the Lords, the PMS said the Prime Minister (PM) thought it was right for cross group discussions on the issue to take place.
Asked about the EU Referendum Bill, the PMS said the PM would continue supporting the Bill in Parliament.
Asked to comment on an independent panel’s report into the National Security Agency (NSA), the PMS said it was a report for the US administration and it was for them to consider.
Asked about the review into whether the Northern Ireland Secretary had broken the Ministerial Code, the PMS said the PM was happy with what the Cabinet Secretary had found and set out in his letter. Ministerial meetings were reported and rules could be found on the Cabinet Office website.
Asked whether the PM thought London was sucking the life out of the country, the PMS said the PM had been clear about the importance of rebalancing the economy.
Asked whether the upcoming European Council would be used to discuss free movement, the PMS said that defence was the main issue on the agenda, but Albania and future accession would also be discussed. The PM would continue to make his points about accession and free movement as he had at the recent European Partnership summit.
Asked to comment on the Chief of Defence Staff’s speech at the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI), the PMS said the Chief of Defence Staff had talked about making sure the forces were fully equipped and well funded into the future. It was also important to have sustainable manpower arrangements. The First Sea Lord had made specific points about the Royal Navy.