|Previous Section||Index||Home Page|
Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what measures are in place to ensure that members of the armed forces are aware of the existence of the Advisory Committee on Conscientious Objection. 
Mr. Watson: Detailed guidance on the Advisory Committee on Conscientious Objection (ACCO) and procedures for making an appeal to the committee are available to all service personnel. Personnel informing their chain of command of a conscientious objection to military service will be provided with the appropriate advice and assistance.
Dr. Julian Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what representations his Department has received from Army officers requesting an increase in the troop numbers allocated to Afghanistan. 
Mr. Ingram [holding answer 4 May 2006]: As I made clear in my answer of 1 March 2006, Official Report, column 735 W, the force package that the UK will send to Southern Afghanistan meets the requirements identified by the relevant military planning staffs and has been fully endorsed by the chiefs of staff.
Furthermore, during the previous Secretary of State's recent visit to theatre, the Commander of the British Forces again confirmed that he was content with the force package deploying. This package will be kept under review and adjusted were deemed necessaryas recently demonstrated by the announced extension to the GR7 Harrier deployment.
Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what recent assessment he has made of the impact of the eradication of poppy production on the security situation in Helmand province, Afghanistan. 
Mr. Salmond: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what discussions he has had with the Electoral Commission concerning the provision of postal and proxy voting forms to members of the armed forces in advance of the Scottish parliamentary election in 2007; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Watson [holding answer 8 May 2006]: Regular discussions are held with the Electoral Commission concerning Service voting issues, including the provision of postal and proxy voting forms to members of the armed forces. The Ministry of Defence and the Electoral Commission plan a joint electoral registration campaign in the autumn, in advance of the Scottish parliamentary election in 2007, which will include ensuring postal and proxy voting forms are available to all members of the armed forces.
Mrs. Humble: To ask the Secretary of Statefor Defence (1) what Army disciplinary policy is on (a) soldiers and (b) officers found to be (i) selling, (ii) distributing, (iii) in possession of and (iv) under the influence of class (1) A and (2) B drugs; 
(2) in what circumstances a soldier might not be discharged automatically for possession of a class A drug; and how many times in the most recent 12 month period for which figures are available (a) a soldier and (b) an officer found in such possession has been permitted to remain (i) at his or her rank and (ii) at his or her post in the Army. 
Mr. Watson: Soldiers and Officers found to be selling, distributing, possessing or under the influence of drugs are subject to disciplinary proceedings under the Army Act 1955. The Act states that after a finding of guilty in any drugs case, Commanding Officers are to apply for the discharge of the soldier under the provisions of Queens Regulations para 9.404. The regulations go on to state that retention in the Service should only be recommended in the most exceptional of extenuating circumstances.
Mr. Moore: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many drugs tests on Army personnel have produced positive results in each quarter since January 2000, broken down by (a) class of drugs and (b) regiment concerned. 
Mr. Watson: Due to the length of the response, the information has been placed in the Library of the House. The results of tests under the CDT programme are recorded by unit and some of the regimental returns may include individuals from a different cap badge.
The Army has in place a robust drug policy based on prevention, detection and disciplinary or administrative action. This triple approach aims to reduce drug taking in the Army as far as is possible in order to maintain the integrity of the force. CDT is a part of this approach by providing an active deterrent to drug taking. The Army tests 85 per cent. of the force annually for all controlled drugs and those who are caught are almost always discharged. Additionally, education and information strategies for substance misuse, including drugs and
alcohol, have been developed and are implemented at all stages in the careers of soldiers wherever they are based and on at least an annual basis.
Mr. Ingram [holding answer 8 May 2006]: Three Astute Class submarines are on order with BAE Systems, and further boat orders are currently being considered, subject to affordability. We are working with Industry as part of the Defence Industrial Strategy (DIS) to achieve an affordable and sustainable submarine programme. In support of this we have ordered long-lead items for Boat Four.
Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether the findings of the senior military officer appointed by General Sir Mike Jackson to examine the lessons from Camp Breadbasket in Iraq have been published; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Ingram: The amount of military low flying that takes place in the United Kingdom is better expressed in hours rather than by number of sorties, which can vary significantly from minutes to several hours. The information is only available for the last seven training years, as previous data was compiled in a different manner. The figures for the training year 2005-06 are shown in the following table and are due to be published in the next statement on the pattern of military low flying that will be made available in the Library of the House in summer 2006.
The following information reflects the actual amount of operational low flying carried out between 100 and 250 feet within 7T, the tactical training area in mid-Wales. These statistics are consistent with the information provided annually in the statement on the pattern of military low flying.
Mr. Watson: Chaplaincy is proactive and all chaplains make every effort to speak to as many of the personnel on their ship, unit or base as often as possible. Similarly, Service personnel often approach the Chaplain on an informal basis without an appointment. Most of this contact therefore goes unrecorded.
This does not mean that the matters discussed are not important or the moral or pastoral care provided has no value. On the contrary, the ability to share fears or concerns, especially when deployed abroad and on operations, has particular value in the support of the moral component of fighting power.
Mr. Watson: There is one Muslim, one Hindu, one Sikh, and one Buddhist chaplain to the armed forces. The post-holders are Ministry of Defence civil servants but are fully integrated into the armed forces chaplaincy organisation. In respect of the Jewish faith there is one honorary Jewish chaplain to the armed forces. These chaplains have tri-service responsibilities.
Mr. Gregory Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many non-industrial civil servants from his Department are based in Northern Ireland; and how many will be offered redundancy over the next 12 months. 
We are still working to establish the full impact of the security normalisation programme on MOD civilian staff in Northern Ireland. Once this work has been completed, we will be consulting with the trade unions
on implementation but, until then, it is not possible to assess the total number of MOD non-industrial staff that might become surplus over the next 12 months.
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to his Answer of 25 April 2006, Official Report, columns 1021-2W, on Colombia, how much bespoke counter-narcotic assistance has been granted to Colombia, broken down by main budget heading. 
Mr. Ingram: UK armed forces have been able to provide some counter-narcotic assistance to the Colombian authorities as part of HMG's wider engagement with Colombia on counter-narcotics co-operation. However, I am withholding information on the bespoke training provided because its disclosure would be to the detriment of the safety of individuals, the prevention and detection of crime and international relations.
John Battle: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer of 18 April 2006 , Official Report, column 4W, on Colombia, if he will list the evaluation criteria for each type of training provided to the Colombian armed forces. 
John Battle: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer of 18 April 2006, Official Report, column 4W, on Colombia, by what criteria the level and nature of UK military assistance and training to Colombia is reviewed. 
Mr. Ingram: The level and nature of our military assistance to Colombia is based, and regularly reviewed on: the identification of training needs in the Colombian armed forces through our discussions with the Colombian authorities; the capacity and expertise the UK has to provide such training; and our satisfaction that those undertaking it have not been involved in activities that violate human rights, aid internal repression nor are in collusion with illegal armed groups.
Dr. Julian Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the average delay has been in each of the last five years for military personnel accused of serious offences between being charged and appearing at courts martial 
| Notes: 1. Royal Navy figure shows the average delay between charge and appearing at court martial and the year in which court martial was convened. 2. Army figure shows the average delay between the date of the offence and appearing at court martial and the year in which the court martial was convened. 3. Royal Air Force figure shows the average delay between the point that the case papers are received by the Court Administration Unit (which administers arrangements for the court martial) to the trial date and appearing at court martial and the cases that commenced in 2005.|
Mr. Watson: The armed forces have not undertaken any specific research or study into the impact of Deepcut on recruitment levels. Nevertheless, the Services continually monitor recruitment and seek to identify the reasons for any significant variation in the number of enquiries received. There is some evidence to suggest that the media coverage of Deepcut has been a factor in depressing encouragement from parents and teachers for those in the target audience to join.
Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what percentage of Defence Export Services Organisation staff, funded by the Government, work on defence export services to Saudi Arabia. 
Mr. Ingram: About one per cent of UK-government-funded staff of the Defence Export Services Organisation undertake work on the promotion of defence exports to Saudi Arabia. The costs of staff working on the Saudi armed forces project are met from a management fee received from the Saudi Arabian Government.
Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what discussions he has had with his counterparts in the Department for International Development and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office on the work of the Defence Export Services Organisation and its relevance to the work of those departments on counter-proliferation and conflict resolution; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Ingram: The Defence Export Services Organisation (DESO) of the Ministry of Defence implements Government policy in support of responsible defence exports consistent with Government commitments on export licensing policy. Responsibility for the Department's contribution to policy on counter-proliferation and conflict resolution rests with other areas of the Department, but DESO's activities are guided by the Government's policies on these subjects.
|Next Section||Index||Home Page|