Press briefing: morning 8 September 2015
The Prime Minister's Official Spokesperson answered questions about the PM's call with President Hollande, Syria and the European Parliament.
Call with President Hollande
When asked about the Prime Minister’s telephone call with President Hollande to discuss the government’s approach to refugees and migration, the Prime Minister’s Official Spokesperson (PMOS) said it was a good discussion about the different approaches the UK and France were taking, adding that the President welcomed the Prime Minister’s announcement that the UK would take 20,000 Syrian refugees, as well as the UK’s aid efforts in and around Syria. The PMOS also noted that the leaders discussed in broad terms the work of the coalition against ISIL, adding that they would have further opportunities to discuss those issues in the coming weeks.
When asked about the Defence Secretary’s remarks on the action in Syria, the PMOS said the Prime Minister thought there was a strong case for the military to do more against ISIL in Syria, but only on a consensual basis through the House of Commons.
Asked whether the government would publish legal advice from the Attorney General in respect of the precision strike in Syria, the PMOS said the Prime Minister had been very clear about the legality of the action taken, adding that the Attorney General was consulted and was very clear about the basis for acting in self-defence, including the long standing convention of not publishing the advice of the Law Officers.
On the question of national security briefings for other parliamentary parties, the PMOS said it was usual for the Leader of the Opposition to be briefed on matters of national security, adding that given the fact that the 2 individuals subject to the strikes were from the devolved administrations, both the First Minsters of Wales and Scotland were also briefed under Privy Council terms.
Intelligence and Security Committee
When asked about the Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC), the PMOS said a motion needed to be brought before the House of Commons on the ISC membership, followed by a vote. The PMOS said she expected the government to bring that motion forward shortly, adding that it would then be for the Speaker to decide on the timing of a vote.
Invitation to European Parliament
When asked about reports that the Prime Minister had been invited to speak about his EU renegotiation in the European Parliament, the PMOS said the Prime Minister had received the invitation to speak and was considering it, noting that the Prime Minster had engaged with many senior politicians across Europe on his renegotiation.