Press release

Press briefing: morning 20 June 2013

The Prime Minister's Spokesperson (PMS) answered questions on GM foods, Abu Qatada/Jordan, Taliban and Saatchi.

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


GM foods

Asked if the Prime Minister was relaxed about eating GM foods, the Prime Minister’s Spokesperson (PMS) said that all decisions would be based on the latest independent scientific advice. Questioned on whether the Prime Minister was confident that GM foods were safe, the PMS made clear that processes were in place to ensure food sold by supermarkets was safe to eat. The PMS said it was also important for the UK to look again at the issue and that was what the Secretary of State was doing. The PMS made clear that this country should continue to be pro science. He said it was important that all foods were safe to eat and that consumers had confidence in what they brought. Questioned on whether the Prime Minister shared Owen Paterson’s view that Brussels was standing in the way, the PMS stressed the importance of the UK opening up discussions on GM foods and making sure the EU was not being left behind.

Abu Qatada/Jordan

Asked when the UK Parliamentary process on the Mutual Legal Assistance treaty with Jordan would be completed, the PMS said that it would be completed shortly. Questioned on whether Abu Qatada was discussed at the Prime Minister’s meeting with the King of Jordan, the PMS said it was not the focus of discussions as it had been several weeks since the treaty with the Jordanians had been agreed.


Asked whether the US consulted with the Prime Minister on talks with the Taliban, the PMS made clear the Prime Minister engaged closely with all allies. Questioned further on whether there would be any further follow-up conversations on the Taliban, the PMS said that NATO and the US were actively involved in further political steps, with a view to supporting stability and engaging with all aspects of the future agenda. Questioned on whether it was useful for talks to be held in Afghanistan, the PMS said the UK government was working closely with the Afghan government.


Asked about Charles Saatchi’s behaviour towards his wife, the PMS said it was an issue for the police. More widely, he made clear that domestic violence was appalling and should be condemned in the strongest terms.

Published 25 June 2013