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Mr. Llew Smith : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will place in the Library a copy of the full interview given by the Under-Secretary for Foreign Affairs, the hon. Member for Morecambe and Lunesdale (Mr. Lennox-Boyd), to Fulmar Television and Film, part of which was broadcast on the "Dispatches" programme on Channel 4 on 4 and 6 May.
Mr. Llew Smith : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what is Her Majesty's Government's policy towards the Canadian proposals put to the preparatory committee meeting for the 1995 nuclear non-proliferation treaty conference, in respect of the division of the conference into a review group and an extension group.
Mr. Douglas Hogg : Canada has circulated informally a paper on the 1995 non-proliferation treaty extension and review conference putting forward a number of ideas, one of which is that an extension committee should be established at the conference, in addition to the three main committees that have been set up by previous review conferences. The proposal has yet to be discussed formally. We expect this may happen in the context of discussion on the rules of procedure at the remaining two preparatory committee meetings.
Mr. Jon Owen Jones : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will hold talks with the representatives of the Government of China to ensure that the continued trading in (a) rhinoceros horn and (b) other prohibited products is effectively policed during the transfer of the colony to China ; and what talks have already been held.
Mr. Lennox-Boyd : Both United Kingdom and China are parties to CITES --the convention on international trade in endangered species--which effectively bans international trade in the most endangered species such as the rhino. Hong Kong is included in the United Kingdom's ratification of the convention and was recently commended by the CITES standing committee for its rigorous implementation.
A specially chartered British Airways flight evacuated 218 British, European Union and Commonwealth nationals on 9 May. Two RAF Hercules carried out a further evacuation on 12 May. Consular advice to those who have chosen to remain in the Yemen is to act with extreme caution and to keep in regular contact with the embassy.
Mr. Worthington : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs on what dates and in what numbers patients from Bosnia have been flown to Britain for treatment in British hospitals.
Mr. Douglas Hogg : Statistics are available only for patients who come here under the United Nations medical evacuation programme for treatment by the NHS. The details are : 9 August 1993--one ; 15 August 1993 --21 ;27 November 1993--three ; 20 December 1993--seven ;19 January 1994-- one ; 18 February 1994--12 ; 9 March 1994--four ; 26 April 1994--12 ; 10 May 1994--one.
Mr. Llew Smith : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs who represented his Department at the seminar on "Britain and the Non-Proliferation Regime : 1995 and Beyond," held in Oxford on 19 April, organised by the Oxford research group ; and what benefits accrued from the departmental representation.
Mr. Llew Smith : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what information he has received from his Portuguese counterpart in regard to the outcome of the United Nations sponsored talks between Portugal and of Indonesia on East Timor.
Mr. Andrew Smith : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what information he has about the outcome of the talks between Portugal and Indonesia on East Timor held on 6 May.
Mr. Goodlad : The Portuguese Government have provided European Union partners with the text of the communique issued at the end of the latest round of talks with Indonesia on East Timor. The two sides have agreed on a number of confidence-building measures, including meetings with leading East Timorese supporters and opponents of integration, and a visit to East Timor in June by the special rapporteur of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights. The UN Secretary-General has been asked to identify a series of issues for consideration by the Foreign Ministers of Portugal and Indonesia in advance of the next round of talks in January 1995, including possible avenues towards achieving a just, comprehensive and internationally acceptable solution.
Column 284I am arranging for a copy of the communique issued by the UN Secretariat to be placed in the Library of the House.
Mr. Worthington : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what statement the Minister of State, the right hon. and learned Member for Grantham (Mr. Hogg), made in Pristina on 5 May about the relationship of Kosovo to Serbia and the rights of Albanians.
Mr. Douglas Hogg : My discussions in Pristina on 5 May were confidential. I did not make a formal statement, but in comments to the press I repeated our view that the political, civil and cultural rights of the ethnic Albanian population should be respected and their autonomy restored within existing international borders.
Mr. Llew Smith : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what will be the effect of the infringement procedures begun on 20 April by the EFTA surveillance authority against Finland, Austria and Norway for failing to implement within the set time period the environmental impact assessment directive, on the elegibility of those countries to join the European Union.
Mr. Heathcoat-Amory : Proceedings by the EFTA surveillance authority under the European Economic Area agreement will not effect the eligibility of Finland, Austria and Norway to join the European Union. Article 171 of the treaty of accession--a copy of which is in the House of Commons Library --provides for any cases pending before the EFTA surveillance authority at the time of accession to be transmitted without delay to the European Commission, which will continue to deal with them under the relevant Community provisions.
Mr. Jon Owen Jones : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has made, or plans to make in the future, to the Tunisian Government on the incidence of arbitrary arrests, torture and detention without trial and that country's public commitment to the promotion of human rights.
Commercial links with Kyrgyzstan are still developing. My right hon. Friend the Minister for Housing, Inner Cities and Construction is due to lead a trade-related construction mission to Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan from 30 May to 4 June.
Mr. Allen : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many British passport holders resident in South Africa renewed their passports in (a) 1993 and (b) the first four months of 1994.
Mr. Lennox-Boyd : In 1993 a total of 30,591 passports were issued to British citizens and other British nationals resident in South Africa. In the first four months of this year, 13,247 passports were also issued.
Mr. Byers : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many employees have worked on a full or part-time basis with the Scott inquiry liaison unit set up within his Department ; when the unit was established ; and when its work will be completed.
Mr. Douglas Hogg : The FCO's Scott inquiry unit has three full-time posts. A total of seven people have filled these posts since the unit was established in December 1992. An eighth person was seconded full time to the unit for a short period in 1993. In addition, other officials have given part-time assistance on an ad hoc basis. The unit's work will be completed when Lord Justice Scott publishes his report and follow-up work by the unit has been undertaken.
Mr. Byers : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many employees have worked on a full or part-time basis with the Scott inquiry liaison unit set up within his Department ; when the unit was established ; and when its work will be completed.
Mr. Aitken : The Ministry of Defence Scott inquiry unit is made up of three officials, all of whom are employed on a full-time basis. A fourth full-time official was employed between September 1993 and March 1994. The unit was established on 30 November 1992 and its work will be completed after Lord Justice Scott has reported.
Mr. Hanley : As at 31 March 1994, the latest date for which figures are available, my Department owned 9,882 vacant married quarters and 105 vacant MOD civilian houses. In addition 1,431 vacant married quarters and 38 vacant MOD civilian houses were in the process of being sold. The majority of the vacant married quarters were either undergoing or awaiting major works or modernisation, held for unit deployments, or already allocated to service families who were due to move in shortly.
Mr. Morgan : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether Paul Martin was recruited as an unestablished civil servant ; by what means the posts in his Department were advertised for recruitment ; on what date ; which kind of recruitment panel interviewed him ; and for what length of contract.
Mr. Aitken : Mr. Martin was recruited as an established and permanent civil servant by Recruitment and Assessment Services. This followed advertising for the central competition for fast stream administrators and managers in the national press and through graduate careers services during 1992. The recruitment process involved interviews and other selection tests by the civil service selection board and the final selection board, whose members include serving civil servants and external representatives.
Mr. Morgan : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence on what date Mr. Paul Martin commenced employment as a permanent civil servant ; and on what date he became an established civil servant in his Department.
Mr. Morgan : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will set out the grade, duties and job description of Mr. Paul Martin (a) at the time of his suspension, (b) at the commencement of his employment and (c) at the time of any material change during the course of his employment.
He has held only one post, in which his duties have involved policy work on bilateral defence relations with Austria, Finland, Sweden and Switzerland, on questions relating to defence and the development of the European Union and, since January 1994, on arrangements to implement the partnership for peace initiative taken at the NATO summit. In carrying out these duties, he has been responsible for providing his line managers with draft written briefing for Ministers, senior officials and senior military officers.
Mr. Andrew Smith : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to his answer of 18 April, Official Report , column 416 , if he will make a statement on his plans for introducing anti-personnel mines with self-destruct and self-neutralising mechanisms ; and what percentage failure rates for these mechanisms will be set.
Mr. Aitken : We are currently considering our future requirements for anti-personnel mines. We anticipate that if any new mines were introduced they would have a self-destruct or self-neutralising capability. The specifications for these mines, including failure rates of the self- destruct or self-neutralising mechanism, would be determined as part of the procurement process.
Royal Naval Services (RN and RM) |Successful |Unsuccessful ------------------------------------------------------- Officers Phase 1 |65 |25 Phase 2 |365 |146 Phase 3 |70 |8 Ratings/Marines Phase 1 |273 |n/a Phase 2 |758 |822 Phase 3 |2,326 |1,020 n/a = Not available. Notes: 1. Phase 1 redundees left by 31 March 1993, phase 2 by 30 November 1993 and phase 3 redundees will have left by November 1994. 2. Detailed records of unsuccessful applicants for phase 1 are no longer available.
Army |Successful |Unsuccessful --------------------------------------------------------- Officers Phase 1 (1992-93) |695 |n/a Phase 2 (1993-94) |628 |n/a Phase 3 (1994-95) |578 |n/a Soldiers Phase 1 (1992-93) |2,500 |n/a Phase 2 (1993-94) |5,152 |n/a Phase 3 (1994-95) |5,342 |n/a Note: Details of those who applied unsuccessfully for redundancy are not held centrally by the Army.
Royal Air Force |Successful |Unsuccessful ---------------------------------------------------- Officers Phase 1 |281 |46 Phase 2 |315 |213 Airmen/women Phase 1 |687 |84 Phase 2 |1,769 |5 Note: Royal Air Force redundancies in Phase 1 relate to financial year 1992-93 and part of financial year 1993-94; Phase 2 redundancies cover remainder of financial year 1993-94 and financial year 1994-95.
Sir Teddy Taylor : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what estimate he has made of the costs of compensation to Army officers and other Army ranks who have lost employment and possible promotion by becoming pregnant following the decision of the tribunal in Glasgow on the application of European guidance ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Hanley [holding answer 12 May 1994] : The High Court ruled in December 1991 that the policy of discharging service women compulsorily if they became pregnant was in breach of the European equal treatment directive which had taken effect in August 1978. Service women who were discharged on the grounds of pregnancy between August 1978 and August 1990, when the policy was discontinued, are therefore eligible for compensation for any losses sustained as a result of their unlawful discharge.
Column 288As at 4 May 1994, 1,288 valid claims for compensation had been received from former Army officers and other ranks in response to which my Department has made offers of compensation totalling about £7 million. So far, 758 of these claims have been settled at a cost of about £4.6 million, mostly as a result of claimants accepting MOD offers. It is not possible to say how many of the remainder will do so or will choose instead to pursue their cases to industrial tribunals. Nor can my Department predict how much the tribunals will choose to award.
The upper limit of £11,000 on the amount that tribunals could award in sex discrimination cases has been removed following a decision of the European Court of Justice. My Department will, however, continue to press for awards to be based on realistic career prospects, taking account of the fact that only a small proportion of service women or, indeed, service personnel generally, choose to complete their term of engagement. Cases such as that in Glasgow, where the tribunal decided that the claimant would have remained in the Army until the age of 55 and would have reached the rank of colonel, are not necessarily typical, and we shall continue to appeal against individual awards whenever there are good grounds for doing so.
Mr. David Marshall : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how many times in each of the last 10 years an Anton Piller order has been served on someone residing in Scotland ; and whether he will make a statement as to the operation of such orders in Scotland.
Mr. Jack : Community-wide information on national support for pig producers in EC member states is not available from the European Commission. The European Commission is responsible for monitoring and approving nationals aids in all member states and has power to require the withdrawal or alteration of aids it considers to be incompatible with Community law, including the repayment of any aid paid illegally.
Mr. David Shaw : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what plans her Department has (a) to utilise the Internet, (b) to make available on the Internet press releases and other departmental information which the public may wish to have access to and (c) to use the Internet as a means of increasing the openness of her Department.
Column 289available to subscribers to FT Profile, Reuters Textline and POLIS. They are also accessible to users of the Internet via the Date-Star Dialogue (Europe) or Mead/Lexis/Nexis systems.
There are no plans for MAFF to use the Internet.
Mr. Morgan : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food when she expects publication of the consultative paper on the marine conservation and enforcement duties for the coastal zone between the low water mark and the six-mile offshore limit ; and what representations she has had from the Association of Sea Fisheries Committees in relation to its contents.
Mr. Byers : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what representations were made to her Department by Unipac Packaging Industries, Sunzest Trading Ltd., Del Monte Ltd. or Polly Peck International about the effect of EC directives on their business ; which were the directives concerned ; and when such representations were made.
Mr. Martyn Jones : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what steps she has taken to prevent potentially diseased cattle originating outside the EU from being imported to the United Kingdom via European Union countries ; and if she will make a statement.
Mr. Soames : All member states are required to operate common control measures to prevent diseased cattle from third countries entering the Community. Live animals may be imported into the Community only through an approved border inspection post and must undergo full documentary, identity and physical checks by an official veterinarian before being permitted to enter into free circulation within the Community. Animals originating in a third country destined for the United Kingdom but imported into the Community via another member state are also subject to spot checks at their place of destination in the United Kingdom. Where there is evidence that checks have not been properly applied in another member state we take the matter up with the Commission and the veterinary authorities of the member state of entry.
Mr. Martyn Jones : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (1) how many head of cattle were targeted in the tracing by her Department to be tested for the presence of foot-and-mouth disease vaccination antibodies ; how many were actually traced and tested ; and if she will make a statement ;
(2) if she will make a statement on the policy of the branding on each shoulder with a V of traced cattle displaying foot-and-mouth disease vaccination antibodies and allowing these cattle to remain with the herds in which they have been found ;
Column 290(3) which parties were consulted before deciding on the policy of branding of cattle displaying foot-and-mouth disease vaccination antibodies ; and if she will make a statement ;
(4) if she will make a statement on the outcome of her Department's plans to remove all cattle displaying foot-and-mouth disease vaccination antibodies from the national herd by 1 August 1993 ; (5) if all the cattle involved in the tracing of foot-and-mouth disease vaccination antibodies by her Department have been found.
Mr. Soames : Of the 994 cattle known to have been imported into Great Britain from the Czech Republic and Poland since the autumn of 1992, 933 were traced and tested for the presence of antibodies to foot and mouth disease. It was not possible to trace all the animals because of poor movement records at the importers' premises and problems caused by re- tagging and subsequent onward movements. A total of 190 Czech and 59 Polish animals were found to be seropositive to FMD. All the animals concerned had undergone a documentary check after arrival in Great Britain and all were certified by the veterinary authorities in their country of origin as being in accordance with Community import rules.
Community rules permit the importation only of those animals which have never been vaccinated against FMD. Vaccinated animals can carry the FMD virus without showing clinical signs of the disease. Although there was no evidence that the seropositive cattle were carrying live virus and could thus be a threat to native livestock, the implications of the incident were potentially serious. In order not to jeopardise the United Kingdom's health status, the cattle were initially placed under restriction on their holdings until arrangements could be made for their re-export or slaughter. A deadline of 1 August 1993 was originally given for this to take place. Ministry veterinary officials visited both the Czech Republic and Poland and their veterinary authorities accepted that the animals had been certified incorrectly. However, despite lengthy and intensive negotiations between MAFF and the Czech authorities, and between the original British importer and the Czech export company, arrangements for the return of the affected animals to the Czech Republic could not be agreed. Similarly, discussions between the Ministry and the Polish veterinary authorities proved fruitless. As a result the deadline of 1 August was extended and owners of seropositive animals were given the option of slaughter of the animals or their permanent retention on their current holdings subject to restrictions, including freeze branding, until they are slaughtered.
There is no requirement to consult outside parties about measures intended to prevent the possible spread of disease.
Mr. David Nicholson : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food how many fishing vessels owned in other EC countries are registered in the United Kingdom ; how many United Kingdom-owned fishing vessels are registered in other EC countries ; and if she will make a statement.
Column 291which are either wholly or largely owned by nationals of another Member State. There are more than 11,000 fishing vessels on the United Kingdom register. RSS does not hold figures for United Kingdom-owned vessels registered abroad.
Column 292propose to the Fisheries Council to enforce compliance with the European Union ban on drift nets longer than 2.5 km.