Press briefing: morning 7 June 2013
This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government
The Prime Minister's Spokesperson (PMS) answered questions on Bilderberg Group, the Duke of Edinburgh, DCMS, mobile phone records, Scotland and Syria.
The PMS confirmed that the Prime Minister would attend the Bilderberg Group meeting in Watford today. He said that it was a private meeting which the Prime Minister had been invited to attend as the head of government. Asked why the Prime Minister accepted the invitation, the PMS said it provided an opportunity to discuss global economic issues with senior ministers, business people and academics. He said that the Prime Minister would not be making a speech.
Asked a follow up question on transparency, the PMS said that the Prime Minister had always been clear about the importance of transparency and his determination to lead the most transparent government. He pointed out that the government publishes far more data and information than any other government has done and the government had a very clear record on increasing transparency and making far more data publicly available. He said it was in the interests of transparency that media were told the Prime Minister was attended the meeting. Asked a follow up question about whether the police would foot the bill for the event’s security, the PMS said this was a matter for the police.
Duke of Edinburgh
Asked if the Prime Minister had sent a personal message to the Duke of Edinburgh following his admittance into hospital, the PMS confirmed the Prime Minister had sent a message to him.
Asked if the Prime Minister thought the Department for Culture Media and Sport (DCMS) was fit for purpose, the PMS said yes. Asked if the department would be scrapped altogether or parts taken from it, the PMS said he was not aware of any plans to do so. Asked a follow up question on whether the Prime Minister was satisfied with the Culture Secretary’s work, the PMS confirmed the Prime Minister fully supported the Culture Secretary.
Mobile phone records
Asked if the Prime Minister would give assurances that the internet and mobile phones records of British nationals had not been accessed by the US, the PMS said the Government took all issues around cyber security extremely seriously.
Asked about a debate on Scottish independence, the PMS said the Prime Minister’s view had always been clear, that is of benefit to both Scotland and the rest of the UK that Scotland remained in the UK. Ultimately, it would be a decision for Scotland to take and it would be for Scottish voices to lead the debate.
Asked whether there would be a vote in Parliament before any decision would be taken to arm Syrian rebels, the PMS said the Prime Minister had been clear that he had never been someone who wanted to stand in the way of the House having a say on any of those issues. He made the point that the issue itself had not arisen because a decision had not been taken to arm the rebels. Asked a follow up question on whether the Foreign Secretary had previously talked about legislation to make it a requirement for Parliament to authorise military action, the PMS confirmed the Foreign Secretary had spoken about that issue in the past.