Press release

Press briefing: morning 2 September 2013

The Prime Minister's Spokesperson (PMS) answered questions on Syria, Vodafone’s expected sale of Verizon Wireless and the Lobbying Bill.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government



Asked if the government would ever ask Parliament to reconsider taking British military action against Syria’s use of chemical weapons, the Prime Minister’s Spokesperson (PMS) said that the government had made its case but Parliament had expressed its will for there to be no military intervention. The government would respect that will, and there were absolutely no plans to go back to Parliament.

Asked if Britain would support other countries taking military action, the PMS said that the UK had a close intelligence relationship with a number of allies, particularly the US, but the government was clear that it would act in accordance with Parliament’s will and there would be no British military intervention. The Prime Minister (PM) would continue to press for an international diplomatic solution, including when he meets world leaders such as US president Barack Obama and Russian president Vladimir Putin at the G20 summit in St Petersburg later this week.

Asked if the UK should have granted export licences to Syria for materials that could have been used in a chemical weapon attack, the PMS said that the fact licences were revoked and exports did not take place showed the system was working.


Asked whether the PM was concerned about the possibility of Vodafone minimising its UK tax liabilities if it sold its stake in the US phone company Verizon Wireless, the PMS said that as usual he would not comment on the tax affairs of individual companies. The Treasury would be best placed to consider questions on the effect of a deal on the UK economy.

Lobbying Bill

Asked if charities were wrong to claim the forthcoming Lobbying Bill would prevent them from speaking out on matters of public interest, the PMS said that provided charities were not promoting the electoral success or otherwise enhancing the standing of a particular party or political candidate, they would not be affected by this legislation.

Asked if the PM thought there was a problem with charities lobbying, the PMS said that at the 2010 general election very few charities were registered as third parties, and provided charities continued to campaign as the vast majority of them always had, they would not be affected.

Published 3 September 2013