Press briefing: morning 21 March 2014
This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government
The Prime Minister’s Spokesperson (PMS) answered questions on EU reform, Parliament, the World Cup, tuition fees and immigration.
Asked about the Prime Minister’s meeting on EU reform with Chancellor Merkel, PM Rutte and PM Reinfeldt, the Prime Minister’s Spokesperson (PMS) said the leaders had discussed the importance of on-going economic reforms, the direction and priorities of the European Commission and wider EU issues.
Asked about the social mix of Parliament, the PMS said that constituents were responsible for returning MPs to parliament, but that the PM wanted to see people fulfil their aspirations whatever their background.
Asked about the bidding process for the 2022 World Cup, the PMS said the PM had recently expressed what was said at the time by a number of people involved in England’s bid, including the FA, and had acknowledged that there was some surprise about the votes the England bid ended up receiving.
Asked whether Russia should host the 2018 World Cup given the situation in Ukraine, the PMS said the government sent political messages not sporting ones.
Asked whether the PM was concerned about the default rate on student loans affecting the cost of tuition fees, the PMS said the government had made the right reforms to higher education.
Asked whether the PM thought not publishing immigration estimates had led to anti-immigration sentiment, the PMS said the PM did not agree. He said that given previous failings to effectively forecast immigration, the Migration Advisory Committee had said it was not sensible to forecast ahead of restriction changes on 1 January 2014.
He added that the government was taking action on immigration by clamping down on bogus colleges and introducing tighter border controls and pointed out that overall immigration was down by approximately 20% and immigration from outside the EEA was at its lowest level since 1998.