Press briefing: morning 2 September 2014
This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government
The Prime Minister's Spokesperson answered questions on Scotland, Ukraine, abuse of children in Rotherham, ISIL and Ashya King.
When asked the Secretary of State for Scotland’s view in Cabinet about the referendum, the Prime Minister’s Spokesperson (PMS) said he had reiterated the government’s confidence in the clear arguments made by those who want to stay in the UK. The PMS added that ministers wanted Scotland to have the best of both worlds as part of the union, a case they would continue to make. Asked if there were any contingencies in place for a ‘yes’ vote, the PMS said the government has no contingency plans.
Asked about the EU Special Council meeting at the weekend, the PMS said the Prime Minister believed in responding clearly and firmly to breaches of territorial integrity and sovereignty. The PMS touched on the new sanction proposals put forward this week, and highlighted Ukraine’s importance at the forthcoming NATO summit this week.
Asked about the abuse of children in Rotherham, the PMS said the Prime Minister felt it was very important that there was a clear response from the recent report by Professor Alexis Jay. The PMS added the Prime Minister met with the Home Secretary, the Education Secretary and the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government yesterday to talk about the work the Home Secretary will be leading in the coming days on this issue.
Asked about the threat of ISIL, the PMS said the government continued to work with governments in the region, and reiterated the need for an inclusive administration in Baghdad. On the issue of direct military help from the UK, the PMS said it was right the UK kept under review how best we help those in the region to combat the threat. The PMS stressed there wouldn’t be British boots on the ground but highlighted the work of the British military in delivering aid, supplies and intelligence support to our partners. On the question of emergency terror legislation being brought before parliament, the PMS said this would be delivered as quickly as possible.
Asked about Ashya King, the PMS said the Prime Minister felt it was right the CPS was looking into the case against Ashya’s parents, and said that it was important the welfare of Ashya was the focus. On the issue of government action, the PMS stressed that the Home Office and Department of Health were in close contact with South Hampshire Police and Southampton Hospital. The PMS confirmed that consular assistance was also being provided to the King family.
Asked about elections in Hong Kong, and the freedom of British Parliamentary Select Committees in Hong Kong, the PMS said Parliamentary Committees were rightly and appropriately independent of government. On the issue of leadership elections in Hong Kong, the PMS said the government will continue to observe events closely, and stressed that the best way to maintain Hong Kong’s strength was to see the full transition to universal suffrage that meets the aspirations of the people.
When asked about recent breaches of internet security, the PMS said that internet service providers have a commercial interest in keeping their customers’ data safe.