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Work to restructure the Infantry has been an important part of our effort to reshape the Army's structure to ensure that it evolves to meet the challenges of current and future operations. The Infantry work was led by the Army itself and involved a consultation period to allow the Infantry divisions to express their views on constructing the future Infantry structure. The
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results were considered by the Executive Committee of the Army Board, which were then passed to me. Iaccepted this advice and announced the outcome to the House on 16 December last year.
23. Mr. Francois: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many (a) regular and (b) territorial infantry battalions were in service in the British Army (i)in 1997 and (ii) on the latest date for which figures are available. 
Mr. Hoon: Full operating capability will be determined by both air group and ship readiness. The target date for the full operating capability will not be set before the main investment decision is taken.
Mr. Hoon: The Future Aircraft Carrier (CVF) programme remains in the Assessment Phase. Following the recent announcement of the selection of Kellogg Brown and Root UK Ltd. as the preferred Physical Integrator, the company has joined the Department, BAE SYSTEMS and Thales UK as a participant in the CVF Alliance. Work is continuing to discuss and agree the detailed alliancing arrangements, including the role and responsibilities of the participants, in preparation for taking the major investment decision for the Demonstration and Manufacture Phases, currently targeted for the latter half of 2005.
Mr. Ingram: The current gross vehicle weight of a Panther Command and Liaison Vehicle is 7.1 tonnes. The vehicle is to be air transportable, underslung beneath a Chinook helicopter or carried inside C130, C17 and A400M aircraft.
The Panther Command and Liaison Vehicle is based upon an Italian designed IVECO Multi-role Light Vehicle which is due to enter service with the Italian Army. BAE Systems Land Systems is responsible for converting the vehicle to meet UK specification.
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Mr. Soames: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what discussions he had with his EU counterparts regarding the EU proposals for lifting the ban on arms sales to China; and if he will make a statement. 
Member states discussed the embargo at the European Council in December 2004. The Council invited the Luxembourg presidency of the EU to take forward work on the review. The Government could envisage embargo lift subject to satisfaction on the issues laid out in the Conclusions of that Council.
Until the review process is complete, the Government continues to implement the Arms Embargo as set out by the then Minister of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the late Derek Fatchett, in his reply to my hon. Friend the Member for Gedling (Vernon Coaker) on 3 June 1998, Official Report, columns 24041.
Mr. Soames: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what discussions his Department's officials had with US Department of Defense officials regarding the EU proposals for lifting the ban on arms sales to China; and if he will make a statement. 
The Government recognises that the US has a legitimate and understandable interest both in the effectiveness of the EU's system of arms control and in the stability of the East Asian region. Representatives of the UK and US governments, at all levels, have therefore discussed the issue. Such discussions will continue, as they will also between the US and our EU partners. Although the EU will take all relevant factors into account in its review of the EU Arms Embargo, any decisions arising from it are for the EU alone.
Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what arrangements have been made for the disposal of sewage from British military camps in Iraq; what environmental assessment has been conducted in respect of such arrangements; and what liaison has taken place with the local environmental management authorities on these arrangements. 
Mr. Ingram: Private contractors undertake the disposal of sewage from British military camps in Iraq. There are no central Government or regional government environmental management authorities in Iraq but UK standards are applied where it is reasonable to do so.
Sarah Teather: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many civil servants were (a) suspended and (b) sacked from employment by his Department in each year since 2001 under suspicion of breaching the Official Secrets Act 1989. 
Mr. Caplin [holding answer 7 March 2005]: Information on the number of civil servants suspended while under suspicion of breaching the Official Secrets Act is not held centrally, and would incur disproportionate cost to obtain the data from individual units or business areas. Civil servants are not sacked while suspended under suspicion of breaching the Official Secrets Act.
Sarah Teather: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many civil servants were (a) suspended and (b) sacked from employment by his Department in each year since 2001 for gross professional misconduct. 
Mr. Caplin [holding answer 7 March 2005]: Information is not held centrally on the number of MOD civil servants that have been suspended from employment for possible acts of gross misconduct, and it would incur disproportionate cost to collate the data. The number of MOD civil servants that have subsequently been dismissed from the Department in each year since 2001 for gross misconduct offences is as follows:
|Number of civil servants dismissed|
Mr. Ingram: All of the samples produced in China were tested at independent accredited test houses in China and the United Kingdom. All tests confirmed that Ministry of Defence specification requirements had been met. The Ministry of Defence requires proof that its specifications are being met and it is the responsibility of the prime contractor to ensure that sufficient samples are submitted for testing.
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