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Mon, 30 March 2020

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Number 10 lobby briefing on Brexit, grammar schools, Grenfell art and votes at 16

Number 10 lobby briefing on Brexit, grammar schools, Grenfell art and votes at 16
2 min read

Here is a summary of this morning's briefing for lobby journalists by a spokesman for the Prime Minister.


On the Prime Minister setting up two Cabinet working groups to examine the two options for Britain's customs relationship with the EU, the spokesman said: "The make-up of the groups reflect the issues that have been raised in relation to the two models and also to the relevant departmental responsibilities. As she has said, we think both options have merit and we're working through both."

Asked when the Government hoped to come to an agreed position on the issue, the spokesman said: "We're not setting any further deadlines for ourselves other than looking at October, that's what Michel Barnier has talked about."


On the announcement of £50m to create new grammar school places, the spokesman said: "These are measures that will create more good school places so that children from all backgrounds can get the world class education they deserve. This is about giving parents more choice in their children's education so they can give them the best start in life. It's part of the work that's been going on since 2010 on creating more good school places. 

On the Government ditching its manifesto pledge to lift the cap on the proportion of pupils a free school can admit from one religion, the spokesman said: "This is a sensitive and complex issue and it's right that we've consulted on our plans. Many faith schools have a strong track record on delivering educational excellence and the steps we've announced today will help them do that. This is a way that will allow faith schools to continue to help pupils."


Asked what the Prime Minister plans to do with a painting of Grenfell Tower she has been given by the families of victims of the tragedy, the spokesman said: "She was given the painting yesterday. This will be coming to Downing Street and we will be considering where it best fits. The Grenfell Tower fire was an unimaginable tragedy that should never have happened the work on the inquiry is ongoing."


On Labour MP Peter Kyle's private member's bill on lowering the voting age to 16, the spokesman said: "We have no plans to lower the voting age. The House of Commons has debated this issue a number of times and repeatedly voted against it. Eighteen is widely recognised as the age at which people become an adult and full citizenship rights, including voting, should be granted at adulthood."

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