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13 Mar 2003 : Column 388W—continued

Rail Mail

Tom Brake: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what investment the MOD has made in the (a) Rail Mail and (b) MOD equivalent in each of the last five years. [102421]

Tom Brake: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what agreement is in place between Royal Mail and MOD for MOD use of the Rail Mail, and if he will place a copy in the Library. [102422]

Mr. Ingram: I assume that the hon. Member refers to the system known as "Mail Rail" which the Ministry of Defence does not use, and for which it has no requirement and no investment in this system. No MOD equivalent exists.


Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many reservists called up for duty in connection with Operation Telic have failed to respond to call up papers; and what plans he has for legal proceedings against reservists who have gone absent without leave. [102554]

Dr. Moonie: The Reserve Forces Act 1996 (RFA 96) requires reservists who are served with a call-out notice to report for service at a specified time and place. Should a reservist fail to comply with a call-out notice, the Ministry of Defence will attempt to resolve administratively cases where an individual has inadvertently failed to comply with call-out instructions. This includes checking address information and sending a follow-up notice by recorded delivery. However, should it become apparent that the individual has deliberately failed to comply, a formal investigation will take place that may result in the reservist being charged with desertion or absence without leave. Such cases will be reported to the civil police and will be tried in a civil court. As at 10 March only one reservist is believed to have deliberately failed to report for service.

There are separate arrangements for conscientious objectors.

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Mr. Waterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many NHS personnel (a) resident and (b) working in Eastbourne have received notice that they may be called up for active service; and what are their positions in the NHS. [91195]

Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many reservists have been called up who are employed at (a) Chorley hospital, (b) Preston hospital, (c) hospitals in the north-west and (d) hospitals in the UK. [100682]

Dr. Moonie: Generally, reservists are not required to provide details of their civilian employment to the Ministry of Defence until such time as they are called-out. Historically, therefore, no central records have been maintained by the MOD of the numbers of reservists working in the NHS as doctors, nurses, paramedics and other professionals allied to medicine.

As at 6 March, 1,065 medical reservists in the Volunteer Reserve Forces had been sent call-out papers. Of these, 509 are understood to be working in the NHS. Information detailing the specific NHS Trusts these individuals work for is not available centrally. In addition, 166 medical reservists from the Regular Reserve have been sent call-out papers. None of these are understood to be employed in the NHS.

The MOD is working with the Department of Health to minimise disruption to the NHS as far as possible.

RFA Sir Galahad

Mr. Keetch: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list (a) the date of original build completion, (b) the date of acceptance into service, (c) the anticipated date of decommissioning, (d) the number of crew, (e) the stores-carrying capacity and (f) the ownership of RFA Sir Galahad. [102513]

Mr. Ingram: The information requested for RFA Sir Galahad is contained in the table:

Build completion date1987
Date of acceptance into service1987
Planned decommission date2005
Crew complement51 RFA, 20 Embarked force
Approximate stores capacityAmmunition and cargo: 900 m3 vehicles: 15 Challenger tanks, 33 eight-tonne vehicles, 23 drop vehicles, 72 Land Rovers or 26 20-foot containers on the tank deck; 33 eight-tonne vehicles, 74 Land Rovers or 40 20-foot containers on the vehicle deck

Riot Control Agents

Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) whether it is the British Government's policy to forbid British armed forces from handling riot control agents such as CS gas and pepper spray during wartime; [102413]

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Mr. Ingram: The Chemical Weapons Convention prohibits the use of riot control agents as a method of warfare. United Kingdom armed forces will comply with their obligations under the Convention. The Government expect that other states parties to the Convention will likewise comply with their obligations under the Convention.

Sea Harrier

Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether Sea Harrier aircraft are being used in the quick reaction alert role. [102580]

Mr. Ingram: No.


Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the (a) establishment and (b) strength is of Tornado F3 navigators. [102576]

Mr. Ingram: On the 1 March 2003 the establishment for navigators on the Tornado F3 was 112. The trained strength on the same date was 90. The figures include senior officer appointments on frontline squadrons and the operational conversion unit.


Advertising Costs (Scotland)

Pete Wishart: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how much the Department spent on advertising in Scotland in each year since 1999 on (a) television, (b) newspapers, (c) radio, (d) magazines, (e) billboards and (f) sporting events. [102330]

Beverley Hughes: The information at the level of detail requested is not available. Where it is possible to disaggregate figures for advertising in Scotland, the information could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

Advisory Panel on Country Information

Simon Hughes: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department pursuant to his answer of 10 February 2003, Official Report, column 537W, on the Advisory Panel on Country Information, what progress has been made to date in setting up the Panel; and what his timetable is for appointing (i) the chairman and (ii) the members of the Panel. [102452]

Beverley Hughes: We have identified a number of eminent organisations that we expect will be interested in being represented on the Advisory Panel. The appointment of the chairman and members of the panel will take place during 2003.

Carter Inquiry

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will publish the report of the Carter Inquiry, with extracts that are deemed commercially confidential removed. [100901]

Hilary Benn: A summary of the key recommendations was published on 27 February.

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As we have made clear, the report took the form of advice to Ministers, including advice on matters that are commercially confidential. As such, the report would not be in a form suitable for publication, even if the commercially confidential material were removed.

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether disciplinary action has been taken against officials (a) in his Department and (b) in the Passport Service UK as a result of the Carter Inquiry. [101391]

Hilary Benn: No. The Independent Review Team was asked to look to the future and identify the long-term changes necessary to further improve the performance of the Criminal Records Bureau; it was not asked to conduct an inquest.

Juvenile Prisoners

Mr. Dawson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) how many children under 18 in 2002 were made subject to category A status in prison when they were (a) remanded and (b) sentenced; [101255]

Hilary Benn [holding answer 10 March 2003]: In 2002, four 17-year-olds were received into Prison Service accommodation and made the subject of category A procedures. Two of them were sentenced during 2002. Of the two, one was first held at Altcourse and then transferred to Moorland as a Restricted Status prisoner upon sentencing. The other was held in Highdown and had his security categorisation downgraded upon sentencing later in 2002. Of the remaining two, one was received into Woodhill and the other into Belmarsh. Both remain on remand. With regard to their ethnicity, two were white, one black and one of Algerian origin.

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