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Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence from which (a) companies and (b) organisations the Ministry of Defence has requested (i) information and (ii) co-operation with regard to investigations relating to the enforcement of anti-bribery legislation since 2000. [184167]

Mr. Ingram [holding answer 15 July 2004]: This information is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.


Mr. Pike: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what procedures are in place for reviewing contracts with a sole supplier for fabric and garments; and if he will make a statement. [197660]

Mr. Ingram: All clothing contracts placed by the Ministry of Defence are continually reviewed to ensure contractors' delivery and quality performance is satisfactory.

Mr. Pike: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence under what criteria his Department's recent tender process for the provision of cloth, fabric and garments was decided; for what reason past experience of
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contracting with his Department was eliminated as a criteria from the tender process; and if he will make a statement. [197661]

Mr. Ingram: Under EU public procurement regulations we may only consider factors directly relevant to the nature of the items or services to be supplied in order to apply the principles of most economically advantageous tender.

The published award criteria in accordance with the public procurement regulations were technical compliance, cost of acquisition, soft issues (to determine partnering capability), and delivery.

Contractors' past performance was included in the pre-contract award evaluation process.

Mr. Pike: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what estimate his Department has made of the number of UK-based companies contracted by his Department to provide garments and clothing in the last 10 years whose primary source of contractual work is with his Department; and if he will make a statement. [197665]

Mr. Ingram: Records are not maintained of companies whose primary source of contractual work has been with the Ministry of Defence in the last 10 years. It is estimated that the number is small and mainly in niche areas of the clothing range, particularly ceremonial items. The MOD encourages its contractors to have a diverse customer base to preclude dependency on one source of business.

Fishery Protection Squadron

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the HQ role of the Fishery Protection Squadron is; and what plans he has to change this role. [197708]

Mr. Ingram: The HQ role of the Fishery Protection Squadron is the provision of clear guidance, leadership, support and direction to units under its authority.

There are currently no plans to change the role of the Fishery Protection Squadron.

HMCS Chicoutimi

Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what his Department's contribution will be to the investigation by the Defence Committee of the Canadian House of Commons into HMCS Chicoutimi. [197906]

Mr. Ingram: The Ministry of Defence has been asked for some background information to be used to inform the Standing Committee on National Defence and Veterans Affairs of the Canadian Parliament with respect to a study on the Acquisition of Submarines for the Canadian Forces. We understand the Committee's inquiry continues and no further requests for assistance have been received.

Naval Navigational Aids

John Thurso: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what his Department's expenditure on naval navigational aids was in each of the last 10 years for (a) Northern Ireland, (b) England and Wales, (c) Scotland and (d) each military port in the UK. [197349]

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Mr. Ingram: The future provision of Marine Services is the subject of a PPP/PFI acquisition programme. Work relating to the provision of naval navigation aids forms part of the range of services, which is included in the invitation to negotiate. To divulge details of current expenditure could prejudice the fairness of the competition, and the potential for gaining best value for money, by giving industry the advantage of knowing part of the current the Ministry of Defence costs. It would also disadvantage the current in-house provider, the Royal Maritime Auxiliary Service, who are also competing for this part of the future work. I am therefore withholding this information under Exemption 7 (effective management and operations of the public service) of the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information.

RAF St. Mawgan

Ms Atherton: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what discussions he has had with (a) individuals and (b) organisations from Cornwall relating to the continuing use of RAF St. Mawgan for civilian aviation use. [197469]

Mr. Ingram: Ministry of Defence officials have written to Cornwall county council and will be meeting local authority officers shortly. I have also agreed that officials should brief the hon. Member for North Cornwall (Mr. Tyler). I would be happy for them to brief my hon. Friend.


Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment his Department made of the level of maintenance required for Upholder Class submarines to maintain their seaworthiness prior to their sale to the Canadian Government; what recommendations were made to increase spending to maintain seaworthiness; and if he will make a statement. [197909]

Mr. Ingram: After the Upholder Class submarines were taken out of Royal Navy service, the vessels were maintained to a standard to ensure that reactivation remained a cost-effective option. Following the agreement with the Canadian Government, on the lease to buy of the submarines, the Ministry of Defence identified the scope of the work required to meet the acceptance standards of the Royal Navy and made provision to fund a contract with BAE Systems for this work, including additional maintenance, to be undertaken.

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the cost was of employing the US General Dynamics Electric Boat Division to assist with the construction of the Astute class submarines; and what the reasons were for their involvement in the construction process. [197962]

Mr. Ingram: General Dynamics Electric Boat is employed on the Astute programme to bring proven expertise notably from its current Virginia Class attack submarine programme. The United States Department of Defense has facilitated this via a Government to Government Foreign Military Sale. Electric Boat support takes the form of specialist draughtsman support and management assistance to BAE Systems at
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Barrow. This assistance is ongoing and the Foreign Military Sale allows for up to $98 million on this facility. This assistance is aimed at reducing risk and ensuring good value for the taxpayer.

HMS Grafton

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what estimates were received for the refit of HMS Grafton prior to the decision to decommission her. [197709]

Mr. Ingram: No estimates were sought or received for the next refit of HMS Grafton, which was due in mid 2006 and would have been the subject of competition nearer the time.

Territorial Army

Mr. Keith Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) whether Territorial Army soldiers deployed to Iraq were required to achieve a skilled grade in their weapon test; [196885]

(2) how many Territorial Army soldiers deployed in Iraq since March 2003 have accidentally discharged weapons; [196880]

(3) whether his Department has received notifications of concern from military units deployed in Iraq about inadequate training in personal weapons by members of the Territorial Army who had been passed as average by the Reserve Training and Mobilisation Centre; [196881]

(4) how many Territorial Army soldiers deployed to Iraq since March 2003 arrived with notes cautioning the receiving unit that they were a high safety risk due to having been passed as average by the Reserve Training and Mobilisation Centre; [196882]

(5) whether his Department has been notified of concerns by the staff at the Reserve Training and Mobilisation Centre about the deployment of reservists to Iraq since March 2003 who had been graded average in their weapons test; [196884]

(6) what measures his Department is taking to rectify the failures in training for reservists identified at the court martial of Lance Corporal Ian Blaymire; [197194]

(7) who within his Department was responsible for the failures identified at the Reserve Training and Mobilisation Centre in the trial of Lance Corporal Ian Blaymire; [197195]

(8) if he will make a statement on the allegation by Mr. Paul Camp, Assistant Judge Advocate, that the Army had lied in an attempt to prevent the exposure of the very poor training and very poor leadership to which reservists who had been sent to Iraq received. [197198]

Mr. Ingram [holding answer 8 November 2004]: A clear policy on the standards required of reservists before deployment on operations was and is in place. This policy directs that all Territorial Army (TA) soldiers deployed on operations to Iraq are required to achieve an overall skilled pass in their Individual Training Directive (ITD1(A))—weapons handling test (WHT) for their personal weapon prior to their deployment. ITD1(A) comprises seven components.
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Component 1 is the safety assessment and is marked at pass or fail. The other components relate primarily to skill at arms and can be assessed as skilled, average or fail.

Analysis of our records has so far established that three individuals who have failed the safety test have deployed to Iraq, but none was equipped with a weapon. All three were employed in a field hospital: one a surgeon; one a chef; and one a medical technician.

Evidence given at the recent court martial of Lance Corporal Blaymire suggests that during the mobilisation for earlier deployments to Iraq a decision was taken at the Reserve Training and Mobilisation Centre (RTMC) that for two elements of the ITD(A) (loading a magazine and wind tables—neither of which is related to safety) performance at average would be sufficient for the then operational requirement. While this did not accord strictly with the stated standards required, this decision reflected professional military judgment at the time.

Since 4 October 2004 RTMC has directed that stated policy be followed. We are identifying those deployed in Iraq who passed the two modules at average and will judge the need, if any, for additional in-theatre training. I am assured that, at no time, has safety been compromised. This is borne out by our Operation Telic "Lessons Identified" records which contain no comments from operational commanders about safety deficiency with regard to personal weapon handling among deployed TA personnel.

The media have reported a number of allegations in relation to the evidence given at the court martial. We take all these allegations seriously and when we have received the transcript of the court's proceedings we will examine the evidence in detail. In the meantime, we have set up a Learning Account and an Army Board of Inquiry has been convened. We shall be as open as possible in making the findings of both public.

Information on the number of TA soldiers who have negligently discharged their weapon is not held centrally. Neither are we able to differentiate between regular and reservist personnel once deployed on operations. I shall in due course provide details of the number of cases where disciplinary action has been taken as a result of a Royal Military Police investigation into such incidents.

Since the start of operations in Iraq we have mobilised over 9,000 Army Reservists who have performed with distinction and great professionalism. As reported by the House of Commons Defence Committee, the vast majority of demobilising reservists who responded to a questionnaire in September 2003 believed that they had been either "very well" or "well" prepared for their deployment.

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