» Thursday, November 19, 2009

Sir Christopher Kelly

Asked if the Prime Minister was concerned about suggestions that Sir Christopher Kelly was not totally independent and that he had been in collusion with David Cameron, the Prime Minister’s Spokesman (PMS) said that the Prime Minister was focused on ensuring that we turned our back on the old discredited system of expenses. We were not standing in the way of any of Sir Christopher Kelly’s recommendations; the Prime Minister had made it clear that he accepted the Kelly review and he asked the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA), which was legislated for in the last parliamentary session, to implement it as a whole as quickly as possible. Any other necessary legislation arising from Kelly would be brought forward by the Government on a cross party basis including, for example, through amendments to the Constitutional Renewal and Governance Bill.

Asked if the Prime Minister thought that Sir Christopher Kelly had a responsibility to be seen to be independent, the PMS said that the Prime Minister believed that every senior public official should be seen to be independent and there was no reason to believe that Sir Christopher wasn’t; the Prime Minister thought he was the right man for the job and was keen that he got on with implementing the proposals.

Asked what the Government’s position was regarding the argument that legislation was needed, the PMS said that the new expenses system did not require legislation. We would look at the points made in Parliament yesterday and if there were any that required legislation then we would find the opportunity to deal with them either through existing bills or other measures.

Put that The Queen’s Speech would have been the opportunity to have worked out whether or not legislation was needed, the PMS said that that was an unfair characterisation; Sir Christopher Kelly had said when the report was published that there may be the requirement to have additional legislation around new committee structures and other such things, and the Government had always been aware of that. The Leader of the House of Commons had been in the House this morning addressing the points raised yesterday. Harriet Harman said that there were issues that could fall to the House to deal with, for example the issue of the chair and remaining four members of IPSA.

Asked if the Prime Minister was worried that Sir George Young had telephoned Sir Christopher Kelly, the PMS said that he was sure there was lots of communication between Sir Christopher Kelly and other senior members of the House.

Asked what contact there had been between the Prime Minister’s office and Sir Christopher Kelly yesterday, the PMS said that we did not comment on conversations the Prime Minister may or may not have had with individuals.

Asked if Sir Christopher Kelly had at any point told the Prime Minister that there was a need for primary legislation in regards to his recommendations, the PMS said that we did not comment on private conversations but the Prime Minister welcomed Sir Christopher Kelly’s report and was keen that it was implemented as a package.

Asked why the Prime Minister had not mentioned the subject of expenses during his opening remarks in the House of Commons yesterday, the PMS said that there was nothing to read into that in terms of the Prime Minister not believing it was an important issue; he had been responding to The Queen’s Speech and wanted to emphasise the key issues that had been raised, with focus on the matters that people were concerned about around the country.

original source.

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

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