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27 Mar 2006 : Column 671W—continued

Executed Soldiers (Posthumous Pardons)

Andrew Mackinlay: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what representations he has received on the granting of posthumous pardons to soldiers of the First World War who were executed following conviction for cowardice, desertion, sleeping at posts, disobedience, throwing away arms and hitting a superior officer; and if he will make a statement. [60978]

Mr. Touhig: We continue to receive many representations on the subject of posthumous pardons for the soldiers who were executed during the First World War. This subject provokes powerful emotions, and there are strong and principled views on both sides of the question.

Interview Transcript

Adam Price: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will place in the Library a copy of the transcript or contemporaneous note taken of the interview given by officials of his Department reported on 20 March in the Afghan newspapers Outlook and Siyasat. [60937]

Mr. Ingram: Officials have been unable to locate copies of the articles referred to by the hon. Member. I will write to the hon. Member once they have done so and a copy of my letter will be placed in the Library of the House of Commons.


Tim Farron: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the security situation in Iraq. [61044]

27 Mar 2006 : Column 672W

John Reid: While there has been an increase in sectarian violence, particularly in and around Baghdad following the bombing of the Golden Mosque, the majority of attacks remain confined to four out of Iraq's 18 provinces.

The UK's area of operation in MND(SE) remains relatively calm.


Mr. Gerald Howarth: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on his Department's special share in QinetiQ. [44153]

John Reid: I can confirm that in recent highly successful QinetiQ initial public offering, in addition to receiving proceeds of £347 million for the taxpayer and maintaining access to cutting-edge technology for our armed forces, the Government have retained a special share in QinetiQ to protect the defence or security interests of the UK.

Mr. Gerald Howarth: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will place in the Library a copy of his Department's (a) long-term partnering agreement, (b) compliance regime agreement and (c) special shareholder agreement with QinetiQ. [47267]

John Reid: The Ministry of Defence's long-term partnering agreement, compliance regime agreement and special shareholder agreement with QinetiQ are commercially confidential agreements and I am therefore unable to place copies in the Library. However, a detailed summary of the key aspects of these agreements appeared on pages 287–292, 54 and 244–247 respectively of the QinetiQ prospectus, a copy of which was placed in the Library of the House on 26 January 2006.

Mr. Gerald Howarth: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list strategic assets which QinetiQ must retain and maintain under the principal agreement with his Department. [47270]

John Reid: The list of strategic assets in the principal agreement is updated from time to time to reflect the requirements of MOD customers. The current list is shown in the following table. In addition, assets required for MOD programmes may be subject to further requirements covering maintenance and disposal and these would form part of the various individual contracts with customers.
List of strategic assets identified in the QinetiQ restated principal agreement (correct at 30 January 2006)

Air-surface, air-air and surface-air weapons evaluationAberporth
Surface-surface weapons evaluationAberporth
Target development and provisionAberporth
Controlled airspace for aircraft evaluation and weapons clearanceAberporth
Hyperbaric facilityAlverstoke
Magnetic signature rangingBarons Point
Fast jet flying facilityBoscombe Down
Aircraft parkingBoscombe Down
Rotary wing flying facilityBoscombe Down
ME flying facilityBoscombe Down
Jaguar 833Boscombe Down
Applied performance reqBoscombe Down
Boscombe Down Chester estatesBoscombe Down
Military aircraft releaseBoscombe Down
Airfield ServicesBoscombe Down
Environmental test chamberBoscombe Down
Avionics rigsBoscombe Down
Radio frequency (REG)Boscombe Down
Radio navigation trialsBoscombe Down
Data systemsBoscombe Down
Alpha JetsBoscombe Down
AndoversBoscombe Down
BassetBoscombe Down
BAC111Boscombe Down
ChieftanBoscombe Down
GazellesBoscombe Down
HarvardBoscombe Down
HawksBoscombe Down
LynxBoscombe Down
Sea KingsBoscombe Down
TIARABoscombe Down
TucanoBoscombe Down
VAAC HarrierBoscombe Down
Bays (logistics for aircraft)Boscombe Down
Empire test pilot schoolBoscombe Down
Rolling platformBoscombe Down
Magnetic signature rangingBurnt island
Roll and stray field rangingBurnt island
Mine hunting and sonar systems evaluationBUTEC
Tracking and evaluation of torpedoes and sonar systemsBUTEC
Wet Gap bridge crossingChristchurch,
Gun range and accuracy trialsEskmeals
Proof of ordnanceEskmeals
Munitions and armourEskmeals
Weapon and armour development trialsEskmeals
Hypobaric facilityFarnborough
Helicopter rotor test facilityFarnborough
Hyposonic tunnelsFarnborough
Misc gun rangesFort Halstead,
Cavitation tunnelHaslar
Haslar wave makerHaslar
Towing tankHaslar
Ocean basinHaslar,
Quiet water tunnelHaslar,
Hosting of annual practice campsHebrides
Air-surface, surface-air weapons systemsHebrides
Long range air-air systemsHebrides
Over the horizon weapons evaluationHebrides
Target provisionHebrides
Vehicle test trackHum
Electro magnetic launcherKirkcudbright
CHARM operational ammunitions proofKirkcudbright
Gunnery evaluationLarkhill
Surface-surface, short range surface-air weapons evaluationLarkhill
Bombing and rocket trialsLarkhill
Heavy store and ultra low dropsLarkhill
UAV trialsLarkhill
Laser system trialsLarkhill
Acoustic signature rangingLoch Goil/Loch Fyne
Hydrophone calibrationLoch Goil/Loch Fyne
Maytime (floating facility)Loch Goil/Loch Fyne
Dynamic and static warheads testingPendine
Long and short test tracksPendine
Small arms/cannon test/proof capabilityPendine
Short impact test trackPendine
Magnetic signature rangingPlymouth
Acoustic signature rangingPortland
Open sea magnetic signature rangingPortland
Land magnetic ranging and compass calibrationPortland
Electronic warfare calibrationPortland
Magnetic signature rangingPortsmouth
Acoustic signature rangingRona
Magnetic signature rangingRosneath
Underwater explosives testingRosyth
Pressure testingRosyth
Submarine pressure chamberRosyth
Small fatigue chamberRosyth
Environmental testing of explosives and weaponsShoeburyness
Safety testing of hazardous storesShoeburyness
Large NEQ static warhead and fragmentation testingShoeburyness
Overwater recovery and proximity fuze testingShoeburyness
3.5km direct fire rangeShoeburyness
Munitions, propellant and weapons systems testingShoeburyness
Ordnance disposal facilities/demilitarisationShoeburyness
Electronic warfare calibrationSkipness
Underwater explosives testing project managementWeston Super Mare, Winfrith
Acoustic ranges (includes magnetic tape archive)Winfrith

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Mr. Bone: To ask the Leader of the House if he will bring forward guidelines for Ministers on responding to written requests from hon. Members for meetings and information. [61610]

Mr. Hoon: Existing guidance emphasises that it is essential that MPs receive carefully considered and prompt responses to correspondence. Ministers will give proper consideration to any requests for a meeting with hon. Members and for information. It must however be a matter for judgment as to whether a meeting would be possible in the particular circumstances of each case and this is not something on which precise guidance can be given.

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