Number 10 lobby briefing on customs union, breast cancer and Bercow
Here is a summary of this morning's lobby briefing by the Prime Minister's official spokesman.
Following reports that senior Cabinet figures are still at loggerheads over the issue, the spokesman insisted that Theresa May was confident an agreement would be reached.
He told reporters: “Both of the options that we have put forward are serious propositions.
“It will take time to get it right but we are absolutely confident that we can agree solutions that work for all the parties involved.”
Asked if the Government would attempt to overturn the latest changes made to the EU Withdrawal Bill in the House of Lords designed to prevent a hard Northern Irish border, he said: “We will look at each amendment in turn and we’ll respond closer to the time.”
But added: “We believe that the way the bill left the House of Commons was in such a way that would deliver a smooth Brexit."
The spokesman was unable to say when the legislation will return to the Commons, but stressed that all the necessary work would have been done within the Brexit timetable.
“We will make sure we have all the legislation in place,” he said.
BREAST CANCER SCREENINGS
Reacting to the news revealed by the Health Secretary yesterday that up to 450,000 women may have missed vital breast cancer screenings due to an IT error, the spokesman reiterated Jeremy Hunt’s commitment to supporting those affected.
He said: “Public Health England have set out a plan for ensuring that women are contacted and seen as soon as possible.
“Women are being seen as soon as possible and the vast majority of women will be seen sooner than that [six months].
“We have said that if the NHS believes any extra resources might be needed then that is something we will provide."
Asked why the news had been made public a month after it was discovered, the spokesman said: “The Government took advice on what would be the right way to move forward medically and we of course agree with that advice... It was made public at the earliest opportunity.”
He added that Number Ten had been made aware of the issue “at the end of last week”.
BERCOW BULLYING ROW
Responding to the latest allegations of bullying against the Speaker John Bercow, the spokesman said: “The election of the Speaker is a matter for Parliament.”
He added: “The allegations are concerning and should be looked into properly.”