|Previous Section||Index||Home Page|
Mr. Watson: The right to establish a conscientious objection to military service has long been recognised by the armed forces. As conscription no longer exists, it is unlikely that anybody who has an existing conscientious objection to military service would join the armed forces. Those who develop a genuine conscientious objection during service in the armed forces are able to follow well established procedures for their service to be terminated, and this includes an independent appeals procedure in any case where an application has been rejected. Information about the procedures is readily available.
Sir Michael Spicer: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State expects to reply to the letter from the hon. Member for West Worcestershire of 6 April, reference: 02321/2006. 
Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what land in Oxfordshire his Department has (a) owned, (b) leased, (c) rented and (d) otherwise had (i) use of and (ii) access to at any point since 1 January 2003. 
Mr. Watson: The Ministry of Defence has owned, leased, rented or otherwise used, numerous separate areas of land and buildings in Oxfordshire since January 2003. Full details are not held centrally and to provide them in the format requested would incur disproportionate costs.
Mr. Watson: I have assumed that the hon. Member is referring to the review of Gurkha Terms and Conditions of Service (GTACOS) announced on 11 January 2005, Official Report, column 9WS, and that he is asking about pensioners, rather than prisoners. I refer the hon. Member to the written statement that I made to the House on 25 May 2006, Official Report, column 92WS.
Mr. Watson: All Gurkha soldiers who retire after service in the British Army do so under Gurkha Terms and Conditions of Service, including the Gurkha Pension Scheme. These differ from those applying to the wider British Army
1 July 1997 was the date when the Gurkhas became a UK-based force, on completion of the withdrawal from their previous base in Hong Kong. Under the terms of the HM Forces Immigration Rule (HMFIR), announced on 30 September 2004, a Gurkha discharged from the British Army on or after that date may apply for indefinite leave to enter the UK, and settle and work here. This requires the applicant to have completed at least four years service as a Gurkha with the British Army and to have been discharged in Nepal on completion of his engagement. HMFIR is based on the general principle of granting settlement on the basis of close personal ties with the UK, which Gurkhas are assumed to have developed as members of a UK-based force. Those who retired before 1 July 1997 and are not covered by the new Rule, can still apply, but would be expected to demonstrate that such ties exist.
The review of Gurkha Terms and Conditions of Service announced by the then Secretary of State on 11 January 2006 is looking again at the pension arrangements for those who retired on or after 1 July 1997. Pension arrangements for those who retired before that date will not be affected.
Des Browne: Private Adam Morris and Private Joseva Lewaicei were killed in a suspected Improvised Explosive Device attack in Basra City, Iraq on Saturday 13 May 2006. The circumstances surrounding the incident are currently under investigation and it would be inappropriate to comment any further until our investigations are complete.
David Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to his oral answer of 22 May 2006, Official Report, column 1183, on Iraq, what assessment he has made of the potential for partition of Iraq as a direction of travel to achieve permanent peace and stability should the present levels of violence continue or worsen into the long term. 
Des Browne: The Ministry of Defence is engaged in Iraq in support of the wider UK Government's objective of ensuring a stable, united and federal Iraq, providing effective, representative and inclusive Government for all its people. The UK Government's policy reflects our support of the current Iraqi Constitution.
Adam Price: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many flights in each tactical training area in the UK, excluding the central Wales tactical training area, flew at between 250 and 100 feet between 1993 and 2005. 
Mr. Watson: The statistics for the amount of military low flying that takes place in the tactical training areas in the UK is held in hours rather than by number of flights. The information is only available from the 1999-2000 training year as previously the data were compiled in a different manner. The figures for the training year 2005-06 are given in the table and will be published in the next statement on the pattern of military low flying that will be available in the House in summer 2006.
The information following reflects the actual amount of operational low flying carried out between 100 and 250 feet within 14T and 20T, the tactical training areas in northern Scotland and the southern Scotland/Anglo-Scottish border area. These statistics are consistent with the information provided annually in the statement on the pattern of military low flying.
Mr. Watson: To date a total of 17 wrecked vessels, in military service when lost, have been designated under the Protection of Military Remains Act 1986. Statutory Instruments 2002 No. 1761 and 2003 No. 405 refer. The places containing the remains of HMS A7, HMS Affray, HMS Bulwark, HMS Dasher, HMS Exmouth, HMS Formidable, HMS H5, HMS Hampshire, HMS Natal, HMS Royal Oak and HMS Vanguard are designated as controlled sites. The wrecks of HMS Gloucester, HMS Hood, HMS Prince of Wales, HMS Repulse, RFA Sir Galahad and the U-boat U-12 are designated as protected places.
On 31 May I announced that the wrecks of the fourteen British ships sunk at the Battle of Jutland would be designated as protected places under the Act. The designations will come into effect later this year. Further designations will be considered as part of a rolling programme.
Clare Short: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make it his policy that no further support will be provided to the Army of Nepal until arrangements have been put in place to ensure democratic accountability. 
Mr. Ingram: The new Government in Nepal has already made significant steps towards achieving democratic accountability over its defence and security forces. On 18 May 2006 the Nepalese House of Representatives unanimously passed an historic declaration which announced itself as the sovereign body of the country, and renamed His Majesty's Government of Nepal as Government of Nepal and the Royal Nepal Army as the Nepal Army. The King is no longer the Supreme Commander-in-Chief of the Army and the Nepalese Army are now subordinated to democratic control. Her Majesty's Governments goal in Nepal remains to help the country emerge from the current conflict with a sustainable peace, based on the principles of a civilian, accountable and democratic Government, as the necessary foundation on which to build a viable economy and climate for recovery and reform. Although much remains to be done, this can best be achieved through engagement by the international community with the new democratic Government and with the new Nepal Army to help it adjust to the new accountability. Our current support to the Nepalese Army includes help towards the development of democratic control of the military, human rights training and explosive ordinance disposal training (in support of their post-conflict role).
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence on what basis Z Berth nuclear accident exercises do not rehearse arrangements for a worst case scenario (category B6) within a 40 kilometre diameter affected area; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Ingram: Rehearsals of Z Berth nuclear accident response plans are undertaken in accordance with the requirements of the Radiation (Emergency Preparedness and Public Information) Regulations 2001. They are designed to test the detailed emergency plans for responding to a reasonably foreseeable radiation emergency. Any questions relating to the requirement to rehearse arrangements for events that are not reasonably foreseeable should be referred to the Health and Safety Executive, Nuclear Installations Inspectorate.
I refer the hon. Member to my right hon. Friend the Minister of State for the Armed
Forces written ministerial statement of 10 May 2006, Official Report, columns 19-21WS, about the future requirement for defence estates in Northern Ireland which included the military site at Aldergrove.
Work leading up to this announcement took into account the overall need for accommodation and land which was one of the factors in the retention of the RAF Station at Aldergrove as the base for the Joint Helicopter Force (Northern Ireland).
Mr. Watson: Recruiting targets for the Army fluctuate in accordance with the Armys staffing planning assumptions for inflow and outflow of soldiers to trained strength across the Army. Targets for enlistments in the current financial year and previous two years are as follows:
|Financial year||Enlistment target|
| Note: Figures have been rounded to the nearest 10.|
David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many staff in his Department have had (a) five or more, (b) four, (c) three and (d) two periods of sick leave of less than five days in each of the last three years. 
Mr. Watson: The following tables show the number of non-industrial and industrial MOD staff who had (a) five or more, (b) four, (c) three and (d) two periods of sick leave of less than five days in 2003, 2004 and 2005.
|Non industrial absence occurrences of less than five days for calendar year 2003, 2004 and 2005|
|Number of occurrences less than five calendar days||2003||2004||2005|
|Industrial absence occurrences of less than five days for calendar year 2003,2004 and 2005|
|Number of occurrences less than five calendar days||2003||2004||2005|
| Notes. 1. Figures listed above have been rounded to the nearest 10. 2. Data used exclude Royal Fleet Auxiliary staff and locally engaged civilians for whom sickness absence data are not available.|
|Next Section||Index||Home Page|