» Thursday, February 17, 2011


Asked if the Prime Minister was concerned about the substance or presentation of the consultation on forests, the PMS said the Secretary of State was making an announcement to the House of Commons later today.

Asked if the Prime Minister had full confidence in Caroline Spelman, the PMS said yes.

Asked if the Prime Minister had met with Caroline Spelman yesterday, the PMS said he didn’t think so, but they had spoken in the last 24 hours.

Asked who the Prime Minister blamed for getting the proposals wrong, the PMS said that we had set out some proposals for consultation and as the Prime Minister had said yesterday a lot of people had expressed views. The Prime Minster had always been clear that we were going to listen.

Put that Caroline Spelman had brought forward her spending review proposals too early, the PMS said the spending review process was an orderly process with departments settling in the usual way with the Treasury. They were one of the first departments to settle, but that wasn’t particularly relevant to this issue.

Asked if DEFRA had joined the Star Chamber and if Caroline Spelman’s tough measures had had an influence on other departments to do the same, the PMS said that those that settled became eligible for membership of the Star Chamber, but not everyone who settled had to become a member of the chamber. He would have to check what had happened with DEFRA.

Asked if the Prime Minister thought that the forest proposals were a mistake, the PMS said that the Prime Minister had made the point in his interview on Monday that governments made mistakes, but that when we did we were relatively fast in trying to admit those mistakes and put them right.

Asked if the Prime Minister thought that appointing a new Director of Strategy would stop things like this happening, the PMS said that we hadn’t made any announcements on new appointments.

There had been some changes to the structures at No10 and Cabinet Office, which reflected the fact that we now had a coalition Government.

Asked if that was about staff numbers, the PMS said that it was about getting the structures right and one of the things we did early on was to set up a coalition committee to deal with certain issues, which had not happened in the past. There had been a process of evolution over time.

original source.

Briefing took place at 10:00 | Search for related news

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