» Tuesday, April 22, 2008


Put that conspicuous by its absence in that long list was the issue of the 10p tax rate, and asked if that was raised, the PMS replied that this did come up as part of the general discussion on the economy. There was unanimous support for the position taken by the Prime Minister yesterday, and the Chancellor explained the further meetings that he and the Chief Secretary would be having with MPs in the days ahead.

Asked how the Prime Minister planned to deal with a potential rebellion on this on between now and Monday, the PMS replied that the Prime Minister regularly met with MPs as you would expect, but the next stage was that the Chancellor and the Yvette Cooper would be having a series of meetings with MPs in the coming days.

Asked what the Chief Whip told Cabinet about the prospect of them winning the vote on Monday, the PMS replied that the general message form the Chief Whip was that it was important that all Ministers in the Cabinet explained to those who had concerns what the Government’s position was on this.

Asked if the Chief Whip gave any indication of the vote, and would we comment on the fact that at the moment we were looking at defeat, the PMS replied that it was early days. He was not going to get into the specifics of what the Chief Whip did and did not say, simply to emphasise that the Government would be working hard during the course of the next week to persuade MPs of the merits of its case.

Asked if the Government would make it a confidence vote, the PMS replied that as we were saying yesterday, it was an important vote.

Put that there had been suggestions that if the Government was to lose then there would be a confidence vote the following day, and asked if we recognised that, the PMS replied that the Government was working hard to ensure that it persuaded MPs of its case.

Asked if the Government anticipated any further concessions on top of the extended work programme, the PMS replied that he obviously did not accept the premise of the question, but Yvette Cooper did set out a process and a timetable for the work that the Government was undertaking in order to help not only low income families with children, but low income households more generally.

Asked if the Government anticipated any increased clarification of the kind of measures that might be in the PBR, the PMS replied that as he had said, Yvette Cooper made her announcement yesterday.

Asked to clarify that as of present the Government did not regard this vote as a confidence vote, the PMS replied that this was an important vote that the Government was working hard to ensure that it won next week.

Asked if the Prime Minister was disappointed that so many MPs had signed the rebel motion despite his personal plea last night, the PMS replied that we should see how things developed during the week. We would also see what MPs had to say over the coming days.

Asked if the Government would regard the Bill as failed if it went through, or just slightly modified, the PMS replied that the focus of the Government’s effort was on persuading MPs of the merit of the Budget.

Asked if the Government was confident of winning, the PMS replied that the Government would make every effort during the course of this week to persuade people of its case. The Cabinet was strongly of the view that last year’s Budget was a good Budget and that they should all go out and persuade those who had not yet reached that conclusion that that was the case.

Asked if when the Chief Whip urged his colleagues to go out and make that case, there was a small note of regret that perhaps there hadn’t been as vocal in support of his policy in recent days, the PMS replied not at all.

Asked if any Cabinet Ministers raised the concerns of their constituents on this, the PMS replied that he did not want to get into the specifics of who said what, and exactly what was said. What he would say, was that this was in the context of a general discussion about the economy and the general concerns that individuals were facing at the moment. That was why the Prime Minister and the Chancellor emphasised the importance of stressing the action that the Government had taken across the board to meet each of the concerns.

Asked how long the discussion was on the 10p issue, the PMS replied that there was not a specific discussion on 10p, there was a more general discussion on the economy which took up most of the hour that Cabinet lasted.

Asked who initiated the 10p discussion, the PMS replied that he was not going to get into exactly who said what at Cabinet, but the discussion on the economy was introduced by the Prime Minister and then the Chancellor.

Asked if the Chancellor had had any feedback from the banks following yesterday’s package, the PMS replied that any specific discussions between the banks and the Government would tend to be with the Treasury rather than with No10.

original source.

Briefing took place at 11:00 | Search for related news

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