» Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Party Funding

Asked to be clear whether the Prime Minister had full confidence in Harriet Harman, the PMS replied that there should be no ambiguity about this – the Prime Minister had full confidence in Harriet Harman.

Asked if the Prime Minister had been in touch with Baroness Jay, or did he plan to speak to her, the PMS replied that we would not normally talk about particular conversations the Prime Minister may or may not have had.

Asked if the Prime Minister was at all concerned that some of his Ministers knew there was a proxy system going on, the PMS replied that this was a Labour Party funding question, and therefore a matter for the Labour Party.

Asked to establish exactly where we were in relation to the Bill on party funding, the PMS replied that the Hayden Philips process had broken down at the end of October, we had said that it was the Government’s intention to bring forward proposals on the regulation of party funding, but we were not in a position to say more about what that might involve or the timetable at this point.

Asked if it was still the Government’s wish that this would be done with some degree of consensus with the opposition, or was it a case of going it alone now, the PMS replied that it had always been the Government’s position to establish some form of consensus.

Asked if he could characterise the Prime Minister’s mood in terms of how he reacted to the news on Saturday, the PMS replied that the Prime Minister’s mood was that issues like this do arise. He had had to deal with this, the loss of the CDs last week, he had had to deal with floods, terror threats, foot and mouth, and everything else. The question was how did you respond to that. Secondly he was determined to continue to keep focused on some of the longer term changes that he wanted to see made in policy areas such as welfare reform, environmental policy, skills and training, and all the other issues that he set out yesterday.

Put that the Prime Minister must at least find it frustrating that things like this must distract everybody from those issues, the PMS replied that as the Prime Minister had said this morning, issues like this do arise, and they have to be dealt with. It was his determination that they were dealt with, and it was also his determination to keep focused on the long term priorities and the long term changes that needed to be made.

Asked if the Prime Minister had made any enquiries from his Ministers as to whether there was any conflict of interest over planning issues, the PMS replied that obviously the Prime Minister would expect his Ministers to deal with all of these matters in the appropriate way. But he did not think there was any evidence to suggest that anybody had not done that.

Asked why then had Hazel Blears told MPs that she would look into this planning application, the PMS replied that he had only just heard this and had no more information on that matter.

original source.

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

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