Previous Section Index Home Page

19 Jan 2004 : Column 921W—continued


Mr. Hancock: To ask the Prime Minister when he was informed that the USA was intending to wage war on Iraq; and if he will make a statement. [149053]

The Prime Minister: I refer the hon. Member to the answers I gave to the hon. Member for Nottingham North (Mr. Allen) on 11 June 2003, Official Report, column 868W and on 23 June 2003, Official Report, column 616W.

Rogue States

Mr. Gummer: To ask the Prime Minister how he defines rogue states. [148677]

The Prime Minister: The phrase "rogue state" is generally used to describe those believed to be engaged in the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery, or those which support terrorism and offer succour to those who commit terrorist acts.

Thames Gateway

Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Prime Minister (1) what discussions he has had in connection with the Thames Gateway Communities plans regarding (a) the Crossrail Project and (b) a new Thames road crossing; [148200]

The Prime Minister: The Thames Gateway involves a number of Government Departments who are all represented in the Cabinet Committee on the Thames Gateway (MISC 22). Full membership and terms of reference of all Ministerial Committees of the Cabinet are available in the Library of the House.

The Government's policy was set out in 'Creating Sustainable Communities: Making It Happen in Thames Gateway' in July 2003, copies of which are available on the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister's website. This set out a level of Government financial support, including £446 million of ODPM pump priming funding over three years, to enable the development of at least 120,000 new homes in the Gateway by 2016.

The Department for Transport's recent announcements concerning the inclusion of the Channel Tunnel Rail Link domestic services in the Integrated Kent franchise and PFI funding support for the Thames Gateway Bridge in East London demonstrate the Government's continuing support for investment in infrastructure in the Gateway.

On Crossrail the Secretary of State for Transport has asked a review team to look at the proposals for Crossrail from Cross London Rail Links.

I have regular meetings and discussions with ministerial colleagues and others on a wide range of subjects and will continue to do so. As with previous Administrations, it is not my practice to provide details

19 Jan 2004 : Column 922W

of confidential discussions, under exemption 2 of Part 2 of the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information.

Weapons of Mass Destruction

Mr. Gummer: To ask the Prime Minister what common factor makes it permissible for the US, the UK, France, Israel, India, Pakistan and Russia to hold weapons of mass destruction. [148676]

The Prime Minister: The UK is fully committed to the Treaties promoting the non-proliferation of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, and supports their universalisation.

The US, UK, France and Russia, together with China, are recognised by the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) as nuclear-weapon States, as defined in Article 9(3) of the Treaty. Under the terms of the treaty Israel, India and Pakistan cannot be recognised as nuclear weapons states. The UK regularly calls on these states to accede to the treaty as non-nuclear weapon states.

The US, the UK, France, India, Pakistan and Russia are all States Parties to the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC). This Convention bans States Parties from producing, developing or stockpiling biological and toxin weapons. Israel has not acceded to the Convention, but is bound by the Geneva Protocol which prohibits the use of chemical and biological weapons. The UK regularly calls on Israel to accede to the convention.

The US, UK, France, India, Pakistan and Russia are all States Parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), which bans the development, production, stockpiling and use of chemical weapons and requires the destruction of existing stockpiles. US, India and Russia have begun destruction of their chemical weapon stocks as required by the convention subject to close scrutiny by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW). Israel has been a signatory of the CWC since 1993, but has yet to ratify it. The UK regularly calls on Israel to ratify the convention and supports calls by the EU and the OPCW to encourage it to do so.


Wales-only Legislation

Gareth Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what requests he has received from the Welsh Assembly Government for Wales only legislation to be included in (a) the current legislative programme and (b) the legislative programme for each of the last three years. [144399]

Mr. Touhig: The information is contained in the following table.

Legislative programme
2003–04Education (Miscellaneous Provisions) (Wales) Bill Public Services Ombudsman (Wales) Bill Tourism Accommodation (Registration) (Wales) Bill Transport (Wales) Bill Smoking in Public Places
2002–03NHS (Wales) Bill Common Land (Wales) Bill Sunday Licensing (Wales) Bill St. David's Day Bill Land Use Planning Bill Education Bill Audit (Wales) Bill Housing Ombudsman (Wales) Bill Passenger Transport Bill
2001–02Health and Well-Being (Wales) Bill Education (Wales) Bill St. David's Day Bill Census (Amendment) (Wales) Bill

No formal bids were made for the 2000–01 session as they would have needed to be submitted at a time when the Assembly had only just been constituted. However, informal discussions resulted in a bid being made for a Bill to extend the functions of the Children's Commissioner for Wales.

The Assembly Government also informed us of the Assembly's call for a Bill to ban smoking in public places.

In most cases, the Government publishes Wales-only Bills in draft. The Assembly Government supports this and makes its bids in that context.

19 Jan 2004 : Column 923W


Small Arms Action Network

Kate Hoey: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what funds have been provided to the International Action Network on Small Arms in the past five years; and for what purpose. [147888]

Hilary Benn: The International Action Network on Small Arms (IANSA) were awarded a grant for £1.1 million in October 2001 under the joint DFID/MOD/FCO Global Conflict Prevention Pool's (GCPP) Small Arms Strategy. To date they have received £997,059 and the full grant amount is due to be disbursed by April 2004.

The purpose of the project is to develop regional NGO and civil society networks in order to increase political commitment, raise public awareness and co-ordinate global action to effect policy change in tackling small arms proliferation and misuse.


Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if he will make a statement on the security situation in Afghanistan and its effect on (a) the provision of humanitarian aid and (b) national reconstruction. [148100]

Mr. Gareth Thomas: Security in Afghanistan is one of the biggest challenges facing the Afghan Transitional Administration (ATA), especially in the South and East of the country where Taliban insurgents continue to encroach. The recent bombings in Kandahar, which claimed 15 lives, and assassination of a French UNHCR worker in Ghazni, are unfortunate evidence of this.

Threats to the safety of Afghan and international staff have meant that some NGOs and international organisations are finding it increasingly difficult to operate in some parts of the country. So far difficulties

19 Jan 2004 : Column 924W

exist only in specific areas and organisations are doing an excellent job in working around these to continue providing assistance wherever possible. However, the overall effect on the provision of humanitarian aid and reconstruction is very serious.

The international community is heavily involved in helping the ATA deal with these problems, by helping reform its army and police force and through further deployment of joint civil-military Provincial Reconstruction Teams. The international coalition continues to counter Taliban fighters in Southern and Eastern Afghanistan and the mandate of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) has recently been expanded to allow it to operate beyond Kabul. Subject to provision of troops by contributing nations this will enable it to support the UN-led programme to disarm and demobilise former combatants and facilitate other parts of the Bonn Process including elections.

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development (1) how many of the international secondments to Afghanistan from his Department in each of the last two years have been of women; [148111]

Mr. Gareth Thomas: In 2002, DFID seconded two officials, both women, to international organisations in Afghanistan. One was seconded through UNDP to work in the ministry of Rural Reconstruction and Development and the other was seconded to the office of the EU special representative in Afghanistan as his special Assistant. In addition we employed three UK staff in our Kabul office of which one was a women.

In 2003, both female secondments remained in their posts for a period. A male official was seconded to the World Bank office in Kabul as a governance and institutional development specialist. In our Kabul office we employed five UK staff of which two were women.

Next Section Index Home Page