» Tuesday, February 10, 2009


Asked if the Prime Minister thought that bankers used an appropriate form of words this morning, the Prime Minister’s Spokesman (PMS) replied that we did not have any particular comment on this. There was an ongoing Treasury Select Committee inquiry, and we looked forward to receiving it and the recommendations from it.

Asked who else the Prime Minister thought should apologise for their role in the banking crisis, the PMS replied that it was not really for the Prime Minister to comment on these particular matters.

Asked if the Prime Minister retained full confidence in James Crosby in the wake of the allegations, the PMS replied that James Crosby was not a member of the Government, he was somebody who had completed a review for the Government, and the Treasury was in the process of considering and implementing that review.

Put that he was someone who was trusted by the Prime Minister, and asked if that was still the case, the PMS replied that James Crosby was not a member of the Government, and he was not employed by the Government, he was somebody who led a review for the Government. We had received that review, and we were now considering that review and were taking it forward.

Asked if James Crosby ever expressed any worries to the Prime Minister about what these banks were doing, the PMS replied that James Crosby produced a particular piece of work for the Government. We had received that review and were now considering it and implementing it.

Asked if the Prime Minister thought he should be sorry for any of these financial dealings, the PMS replied that the Prime Minister was focussed on taking action to help businesses and individuals get through this difficult period. He was doing this in close cooperation with his international partners, and people would have seen the statement from President Sarkozy this morning emphasising the very close working relationship that they had, and the fact that we were taking a very similar approach to that taken by the French Government, as well as a very similar process taken by the German Government and the American Government, and we were all working together in order to help our people and our businesses get through this. That was the focus of the Prime Minister’s effort and attention.

Asked if the Prime Minister thought that this was the worse recession for a hundred years, the PMS replied that he was not sure anybody had said that. The Prime Minister thought that this was a very challenging time for the world economy.

Asked what the Prime Minister thought of Ed Balls’ comments on this, the PMS replied that what Ed Balls was saying, as we had been saying repeatedly over the last 22 hours or so, was that Ed Balls was first of all simply referring to the unprecedented global nature of this downturn, the fact that it had affected virtually every country in the world and had affected them very quickly. And secondly he was commenting on the particular issues relating to the financial sector. As Ed Balls himself had been making clear, he was not in any way suggesting that the British economy was facing prospects similar to that seen in the 1930s. One of the big lessons that we had learnt from the 1930s and other recessions was that, as President Sarkozy was saying this morning, it was very important that Governments acted and not simply allow the recession to run its course.

Asked why President Sarkozy had changed his tune, the PMS replied that this was not a question for us, but our understanding of the situation was that once they realised the extraordinary way in which the British media had reported President Sarkozy’s comments, they thought it necessary to issue a statement.

original source.

Briefing took place at 16:45 | Search for related news

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