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27 Nov 2006 : Column 355W—continued

27 Nov 2006 : Column 356W

Bevin Boys

Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what recent meetings he has had with the Bevin Boys Association to discuss the case for a medal for Bevin Boys; and when he expects to report on the outcome of his work examining the merits of such a medal. [102699]

Derek Twigg: My office has been in regular contact with the Vice President of the Bevin Boys Association since officials met him on 30 August 2006. I plan to meet him shortly. I am also consulting with interested ministerial colleagues and will make an announcement on this work in due course.

Cluster Munitions

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what recent discussions he has had with NATO allies on the continued employment of cluster munitions. [101422]

Mr. Ingram: Ministry of Defence officials discussed the use of cluster munitions with some NATO allies this year. This has been useful in order to inform internal policy deliberations on cluster munitions, and to assist with determining our approach with international partners.

Conventional Weapons Review

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will bring forward measures to ban the use of cluster munitions as a response to the Convention on Conventional Weapons Review. [102375]

Mr. Ingram: In response to a UK proposal at the recent Certain Conventional Weapons Review Conference we achieved consensus with the major users and producers of cluster munitions within the Certain Conventional Weapons Convention to urgently address their humanitarian impact. Cluster munitions are permitted under international humanitarian law and UK forces use them strictly in accordance with international humanitarian law. The UK plans to phase out and destroy so-called dumb cluster munitions by the middle of the next decade.


Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what support the British Army is prepared to give to support the joint United Nations-African Union peacekeeping force for Darfur in terms of (a) personnel, (b) equipment and (c) logistical support. [102313]

Mr. Ingram: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave him on 22 November 2006, Official Report, column 118W.

Currently, the British Army fill five posts. The Ministry of Defence keeps its contribution to both UNMIS and AMIS under constant review and will consider any requests for support, as they are received.

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Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what duties personnel diagnosed with (a) type 1 and (b) type 2 diabetes may undertake in each of the forces and their reserves. [101364]

Derek Twigg: Candidates having either type 1 or type 2 diabetes are considered unfit for entry into the armed forces. For those already serving in the armed forces, the first priority if diagnosed with either type of diabetes is always the full assessment, treatment and stabilization of their condition. All personnel suffering either type of diabetes mellitus should be referred to a Medical Board when a decision on their medical category(1) will be made. Each case is considered on its merits.

Thereafter a decision is made on the continued employability of the person. Factors taken into account are:

Guidance on the appropriate medical category for personnel with diabetes mellitus is contained in the Joint Service Publication JSP 346. This states that:

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In summary, the continued employment of personnel with diabetes mellitus is a complex issue that is determined on an individual basis. In practice, it is unusual for someone with type 1 diabetes to remain in the services. Those type 1 and type 2 diabetics who are retained will usually be in a reduced medical category with restrictions on their activities depending on the aforementioned factors. This can range from full duties on a ship where there is a medical officer on board or “base areas only” at the milder end of the disease spectrum to “home only” or “no sea service” at the more severe end.

Falklands Anniversary

Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will place in the Library a list of the stakeholders being consulted about the commemorations planned for the 25(th) Anniversary of the Falklands conflict. [100669]

Derek Twigg: The list of stakeholders being consulted by the Department about the Falklands 25 commemorations is extensive and continues to grow. To date it has included:

Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what steps he has taken to ensure that the whole House has ownership of the commemoration of
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the 25(th )Anniversary of the Falklands conflict, as urged by the then Under-Secretary of State in his answer on 26 June 2006, Official Report, column 11; and which Opposition hon. Members have been consulted. [100671]

Derek Twigg: It is my intention to keep the House fully informed about our plans for the Falklands 25 commemorations and I refer the hon. Member to my written ministerial statement of 16 November 2006, Official Report, column 2WS; a further update will be provided to the House early next year. I hope that Members from all parties will apply, via the Speaker’s Office, to participate in the event planned on Horse Guards Parade on 17 June 2007.

I would be happy to meet with opposition defence spokesmen to discuss the commemorations in more detail if that would be helpful.

Far East Prisoners of War

Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what correspondence his Department has sent to potential recipients of the Far East prisoners of war ex-gratia payment living in Australia; when the letters were sent; how many letters were sent; and how many responses were received. [100887]

Derek Twigg: We are aware of 1,964 claims under the Ex-Gratia Payment Scheme from former far east prisoners of war and civilian internees who have given an address in Australia and have corresponded with these as necessary to decide their claims. Following the implementation earlier this year of the rule extending eligibility to British internees with at least 20 years' residence in the UK between 1 January 1945 and 7 November 2000, the Veterans Agency have written to formerly rejected civilian claimants inviting them to provide further information to establish if they might now qualify for a payment. 271 of these had addresses in Australia. As at mid-November, responses had been received in 99 cases.

Flying Hours

Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the average number of flying hours for a RAF (a) Hercules C-130, (b) Nimrod MR2 and (c) Harrier aircraft was in each of the last 12 months. [101057]

Mr. Ingram: The average number of flying hours for RAF aircraft of the following type in each of the last 12 months is as follows:

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Hercules C-130 Nimrod MR2 Harriers

November 2005




December 2005




January 2006




February 2006




March 2006




April 2006




May 2006




June 2006




July 2006




August 2006




September 2006




October 2006




Aircraft undergoing more in-depth maintenance activities such as long-term repairs or a major modification programme by joint RAF and civilian contract engineering teams on aircraft Main Operating Bases, or by civilian contractors in a specialist civilian industry repair facility/factory have not been included.

Harmony Guidelines

Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence which units will be operating outside harmony guidelines as a result of the deployment to Iraq of Telic 9 and Telic 10; and what the average tour gap number is for each unit. [101074]

Mr. Ingram: Three Mercian (One Stafford) is the only unit operating outside harmony guidelines, as a result of its deployment to Iraq on Telic 9, with an average tour interval of 12 months.(1)

Details in respect of Telic 10 cannot be provided as the Force Package is yet to be confirmed.

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