» Tuesday, September 30, 2008


The Prime Minister s Spokesman (PMS) began by briefing journalists on this morning s Cabinet, which was dominated by the economy. The Cabinet was briefed in detail by the Chancellor on the current situation, and the Prime Minister and the Chancellor reminded Cabinet of the international origins and dimensions to what was happening at the moment. They explained the actions that the authorities had taken since Cabinet last met facilitating the takeover by Lloyds of HBOS, the action taken by the Financial Services Authority on short-selling, and the action taken by the tripartite authorities over the weekend in relation to Bradford & Bingley. They also explained that the Government stood ready to do whatever was necessary going forward.

Asked to explain what contact the Prime Minister had had with the other parties over this, the PMS replied that the Prime Minister spoke to David Cameron and Nick Clegg yesterday evening, and it was agreed that the Chancellor would have further discussions with his opposite numbers during the course of the day.

Asked if the Chancellor s discussions would be face to face, the PMS replied that in relation to the discussions with the Conservative Shadow Chancellor, we would expect this to be on the telephone as he was in Birmingham.

Asked for details on any further international meetings or calls, the PMS replied that we remained in close contact with our international partners as people would expect.

Asked if there was a view on the Irish Government guaranteeing deposits, and did the Government see any merit in that, the PMS replied that Yvette Cooper was asked this question this morning, and there was nothing really to add. As the Chief Secretary was saying, we had taken action in Britain to protect savers, to guarantee savings in Northern Rock, we took action to protect savers in relation to Bradford & Bingley, and we would continue to take whatever action was necessary to maintain the stability of the financial system.

Asked if the Prime Minister imagined that given what had happened in the last week, the terms of the Lloyds takeover of HBOS were likely to change given that they may no longer want to pay as much as it would have done, the PMS replied that this was a matter for the relevant institutions involved. Our role in this was to make a commitment to introduce legislation in order to facilitate the takeover and we stood by that commitment.

Asked if the Prime Minister thought that British banks had been foolish in their domestic lending practices, the PMS replied that the Prime Minister believed, as he had said on a number of occasions that where there had been irresponsible behaviour, that was something that should not be condoned, and we should draw lessons from it.

Asked for any more details of the meeting the Prime Minister and Chancellor had with the Governor of the Bank of England, the PMS replied that it was a private meeting, and as the Prime Minister said last night the Chancellor, the Prime Minister and the Governor of the Bank of England all stood ready to take whatever action was necessary.

Asked if there was a political Cabinet today, the PMS replied that there was no political Cabinet.

Asked for an assessment of how grave the Prime Minister regarded this, the PMS replied that clearly the situation was serious and challenging. It was an international event, as was clear to everybody. This was instability that originated in the United States, but we had seen it affecting all of the major economies, and had seen that very graphically in the last few days with Governments having to intervene in order to support individual banks in a number of countries over the last 48 hours or so.

Asked if the Prime Minister was planning to address that nation, the PMS replied that we continued to keep all those things under review.

Asked if the Prime Minister had a message for all of the US politicians who effectively scuppered the 700billion rescue plan, the PMS replied that the message was the message that the Prime Minister gave last night, which was that he was very disappointed by the outcome of the vote yesterday.

original source.

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

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