Monday 9 May 2011

Lobby Briefing 9/5/2011

With the new chumminess ban in place there was decided ambivalence toward any attempt to mark the one year anniversary of the Coalition at the Lobby briefing this morning.

The PM’s spokeswoman made clear there were “no plans for a press conference” and no specific event planned for the day itself (Wednesday), instead the cabinet would celebrate by “ensuring [they] are continuing to deliver on the Coalition programme”.

With the NHS reform debate looming today the spokeswoman added that the "listening exercise" designed to consult on the planned changes would finish next month, but declined to reveal details of what would happen when it did.

The Guardian’s Nick Watt cheekily asked whether the exercise's panel would be listening to the Health Secretary at all. Much of the briefing, however, focussed on details around the impending referendum on Scottish independence.

The PM has made clear that he will not block a referendum, and that he opposes independence. What isn’t clear is whether independence can be ratified without legislation being passed in Westminster.

That raises a whole bunch of questions for the PM over whether he would oppose such legislation or not, whether the rest of the UK would have a say in Scottish independence at that point.

Predictably the spokeswoman was not prepared to speculate.

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