News story

Press briefing - morning 20 April 2012

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

The Bahrain Grand Prix, Abu Qatada, IMF Funding and Lords Reform were among topics discussed at the 10 Downing Street press briefing.

Bahrain Grand Prix

Asked what the PM’s position was on the Bahrain Grand Prix considering some security concerns, the Prime Minister’s Spokesperson referred the journalist to the Foreign Secretary’s statement made the previous weekend. The government remains concerned about violence but it is not for the government to dictate what sporting events should and should not go ahead in other countries.

Asked whether the PM had been following the developments, the PMS said that he had been kept up to speed with developments.

Asked whether the PM was concerned with the violence that had occurred overnight, the PMS said that the government remain deeply concerned by the violence.

Asked whether the PM shared the views of Yvette Cooper (that the event should be called off), the PMS said that it is not the position of the government to dictate what sporting events should and should not go ahead in different countries.

Asked what the current consulate advice on going to Bahrain was, the PMS said that at present the travel advice refers to ongoing demonstrations and protests and travellers are asked to maintain a high level of security awareness and caution.

Asked whether the government condemns the use of live ammunition, the PMS said that the government condemns all street violence and referred the journalist to the Foreign Office.

IMF Funding

Asked whether the UK was going to commit further funds to the IMF, the PMS said she would not speculate on the outcomes of the Chancellor’s meetings in Washington DC.

Asked whether the PM still thought it was important to fully fund the IMF, the PMS said that the UK is a longstanding supporter of the IMF but it is clear there are strict conditions under which we would agree to committing resources and any deal should be done on a global level.

Asked whether the PM had concerns over the use and impact of IMF funds, the PMS said that there are strict conditions under which the government would agree to commit further funds to the IMF. One of those conditions is that the IMF provides support for countries and not currencies.

Asked whether there could be global deal if the US were not going to commit funds, the PMS said that she was not going to speculate on the outcomes of the meeting.

Asked whether the government could confirm that not a single penny of British cash would go into the Eurozone, the PMS said that the money should be used to support countries and not currencies.

Asked whether the Eurozone countries had done enough to satisfy the Chancellor to provide further funds, the PMS said that more needed to be done but she was no going to speculate on the outcomes of the meetings.

Quantitative Easing

Asked whether the PM was concerned about the impact of Quantitative Easing on the economy, the PMS said that QE is a matter for the Bank of England.

Lords reform

Asked for an update on House of Lords reform, the PMS said that the government is waiting for the report of the Joint Committee. The coalition agreement says we will bring forward proposals for an elected upper chamber. The government and PM remain committed to reform.

Asked whether the government thought a referendum was needed on House of Lords reform, the PMS said that the government had not been persuaded on the case for a referendum.

Asked whether the government could be persuaded the PMS said that she was not going to speculate.

Asked whether the PM expects Parliamentary Private Secretaries to vote in favour of the proposals, the PMs said that the PM would expect them to vote for government policy.

Asked whether it was actually government policy to draft a Bill on reform, the PMS said that both the PM and DPM were committed to reform.

Asked what ministers were bound to regarding voting and the ministerial code, the PMS referred the journalist to the ministerial code.

Asked what the PM’s message was to 70 people who warned they would vote against the reform, the PMS referred the journalist to the rationale for reform set out by the PM and DPM in the joint foreword of the draft Bill.

Asked whether the PM supports the idea of having upper house elections by 2015, the PMS said everyone should wait to see the outcomes of the Joint Committee’s report.

Asked whether the PM was worried about the lack of support for this reform, the PMS said that reform had cross party support.

Asked whether the PM was committed to reform before 2015, the PMS said there was a process to follow. The draft legislation had been published and the government was awaiting the Joint Committee’s report on the legislation.

Asked whether the legislation would be in the Queen’s Speech, the PMS said she was not going to discuss the contents of the Queen’s Speech.

Abu Qatada

Asked how worried the Government was that Abu Qatada could shortly be released on bail, the PMS said that if he applies for bail the government would oppose the application vigorously.

Asked whether the PM has asked for an explanation from the Home Office on how the case had got into this position, the PMS said that he had been kept updated on the situation.

Asked whether the PM had full confidence in the Home Secretary, the PMS said that the PM did.

Asked whether the PM had full confidence that Abu Qatada would be deported, the PMS said that it was the PM’s firm intention to see him deported.

Asked whether the PM was happy with the result of the Brighton conference on the European Court of Human Rights, the PMS said that the PM was happy and referred the journalist to the Justice Secretary’s words on the outcomes.