Asked if the Prime Minister was 'miffed' that the IMF was attempting to poach his Chancellor, the PMOS said that this was speculation. The reports about the Chancellor appeared to have emanated from the US. In his experience of Westminster, the file marked 'Political Job Speculation' was a rather large one. Being head of the IMF was a big job. Equally, the Chancellor had a big job to do here in the UK. Asked if No 10 and No 11 had discussed the issue, the PMOS said that there was regular contact between the two of us, as you would expect. He was not aware of any discussion about the substance of the story. Asked if the Prime Minister was concerned that the reports might be unsettling for the City, the PMOS said the Prime Minister believed that the fact that senior members of his Government were linked to jobs outside was probably an inevitable fact of political life. That said, it obviously reflected well on the talent within the Prime Minister's Government.
Asked if the Prime Minister would take Lord Healey's advice and step down, the PMOS noted that this was not the first time that Lord Healey had proffered this advice. He had said something similar last summer. The Prime Minister was focussing his attention on the important speech he was making in the North East today, rather than on what former Government or Party members had been saying or repeating.
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