The Prime Minister’s Official Spokesperson (PMS) gave an update on the cabinet agenda following a meeting earlier that day.
Asked about international takeovers, PMS said that the Pfizer bid for AstraZeneca had been noted during cabinet, and set out that the government would continue to actively engage with both Pfizer and AstraZeneca on the importance of the life sciences industry, research and development and the skills base within the UK economy. He said that decisions about whether any bid should go ahead were for the companies’ shareholders.
Asked about the discussion in cabinet that had focused on policy implementation, PMS said that cabinet regularly discussed commitments and policies, and there had been a wide discussion amongst cabinet colleagues about the importance of implementing policy, particularly in light of the new Parliamentary session which would begin soon.
Asked about the housing market, PMS said that as the Chancellor had said at the Treasury Select Committee, the Bank of England’s job was to review asset prices across the board. Increasing housing supply is at the heart of the government’s approach.
Asked about the Chilcot Inquiry, PMS said that it was right that the independent Chilcot report into the Iraq war would be published as soon as it was ready to be published.
Asked about the kidnapping of girls in Nigeria, PMS said that, as the Foreign Secretary had said, the government had offered assistance to the Nigerian government. PMS said he was not aware that any requests had yet been made.
Asked if the Prime Minister was concerned about the case of the missing prisoner Michael Wheatley, PMS said that the Prime Minister shared the concerns of the Justice Secretary and that it was right that there would be an urgent review into the matter. The Justice Secretary had recently set out measures to tighten the process of temporary licensing.
Asked about jobseekers losing certain benefits if they don’t take jobs with zero hours contracts, the PMS said that the Prime Minister thought it was right that as part of the introduction of Universal Credit, there should be requirements on people to take opportunities that were offered. He said that decision about individual cases would rightly be made by staff locally.