Press release

Press briefing: morning 28 February 2014

The Prime Minister's Deputy Spokesperson (DPMS) answered questions on the Queen, Ukraine, Northern Ireland, Harriet Harman, European reform, legal highs and badgers.

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

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Lunch with the Queen

When asked about the Prime Minister’s lunch today with the Queen, the DPMS said that the Queen regularly hosts the Prime Minister so saw an opportunity to invite her for lunch at Chequers. She said he had found old photos at Chequers of her previous visits, which gave him the idea. The guest list included Lord Carrington, Baroness Manningham-Buller, Lord and Lady Guthrie, William Shawcross and Olga Polizzi. She added that the menu would consist of Scottish smoked salmon, lamb and bread and butter pudding.

Ukraine

When asked about the Ukraine’s claim that the 1994 Budapest Memorandum should be upheld, the DPMS reiterated the Prime Minister’s comments from earlier in the week where he said every country should respect the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine. She added that Russia, who also made this commitment, must keep its word. The DPMS said that the PM remained concerned about the situation in Ukraine, and was in touch with other leaders to ensure the international community worked together to ensure stability.

Northern Ireland

When asked if there were any further details on the announcement yesterday that there would be a judge-led inquiry into letters sent to republican paramilitary suspects, the DPMS said that more details are expected shortly.

Harriet Harman

When asked whether the Prime Minister felt Harriet Harman should apologise over links between the NCCL and PIE, the DPMS explained it was a matter for Ms Harman, but that the apology from Liberty and others was the right approach.

European reform

When asked about the PM’s strategy for European reform, the DPMS explained that the PM’s strategy was reform, renegotiation, referendum.

Asked whether the PM agreed that so called ‘legal highs’ should be available in ‘head shops’ the DPMS said that the PM has no intention for this government to regulate or license so called ‘legal highs’ and that it was understood the police were closely monitoring the shops, which government wants to further restrict access to.

Badgers

When asked if the PM agreed with a leaked report that says the recent badger cull was ineffective and inhumane, the DPMS said that government had commissioned an independent panel to look into what lessons could be learnt, and when the report was received the recommendations would be studied.

Published 28 February 2014