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Mr. Ingram: The courts-martial process was most recently examined during the passing of the 2006 Armed Forces Act. As a result changes are being made which include enhancing the role of the service police in the conduct of investigations likely to lead to a court-martial, and applying the same rules across the three services.
13. Mr. Burns: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government on the provision of local authority housing for former members of the armed forces. 
Derek Twigg: I discussed the issue of local authority housing for former members of the armed forces when I met my hon. Friend the Minister for Local Government, on 13 March. We agreed that our officials should work together to ensure that servicemen and women are fairly treated in terms of access to social housing.
The new Iraqi military headquarters in Baghdad has full operational control of four divisions of the Iraqi Army and more divisions will transfer over the coming months. This transfer of command and control is a critical step towards the Iraqi Government taking full responsibility for delivering security in Iraq.
Des Browne: Targeted counter-narcotic operations by Afghan forces continue to contribute positively to the international effort to stabilize that country. While there has been some opposition, this has been localised and it is not assessed to have significantly affected the wider insurgency.
Des Browne: UK operations in Afghanistan are focused around the Lashkar Gah Development Zone. To date, the creation of six other Afghan Development Zones has been announced and we expect more to follow.
19. John Barrett: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, whether British forces will take (a) M26 and (b) any other cluster munition rockets among the ammunition to be used by multiple launch rocket systems when deployed in Afghanistan. 
Derek Twigg: I am looking forward to sharing a platform at the veterans plenary conference on 28 March with the Minister of State, Department of Health, my right hon. Friend the Member for Doncaster, Central (Ms Winterton). My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Defence and I met with my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Health on 22 February. There is regular contact between our Departments at official level, both formally through the Partnership Board which meets three time a year, and informally as required.
Mr. Ingram: The programme to fit explosive suppressant foam to the majority of the RAF Hercules fleet is ongoing. On current plans it is expected that this work will be completed around the end of the year.
Derek Twigg: I met with Warwick Taylor, the vice-president of the Bevin Boys Association, on 7 February to discuss the most appropriate way to recognise the service of the Bevin Boys. Mr Taylor has since met with officials to discuss this matter further. I expect an announcement to be in made in the near future.
A range of measures are taken to protect UK armed forces from both anti-personnel and anti-tank mines. The best protection against mines can
be provided by a combination of appropriate equipment and robust Training, Tactics and Procedures.
The UK Task Force has an Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Task Force which is skilled and well-trained for dealing with mine incidents. The UKs EOD Task Force has good knowledge of legacy minefields, and UK military personnel undertake mine awareness training.
While not designated a Mine Protected Vehicle the newly procured Mastiff, a wheeled patrol vehicle with a less intimidating profile than our tracked vehicles, offers good protection against a range of threats including mines. We are rapidly procuring 100 of these vehicles for use in both Iraq and Afghanistan, and they will be delivered to Afghanistan this spring.
Des Browne: As I explained to the House on 26 February 2007, Official Report, columns 619-21, the UK has decided to fill one of NATOs most pressing requirementsa manoeuvre battalion for Regional Command (South). That means that over the summer our forces in Afghanistan will increase from around 6,300 to settle at around 7,700. The current planning assumption remains that these forces are committed until 2009. I and the Chiefs of Staff agree that this commitment is manageable.
Mr. Ingram: The following UK helicopters are currently based in Afghanistan: Chinook CH-47 support helicopters; Apache AH-64 attack helicopters; and Lynx light-utility helicopters. We would not expect all the helicopters to be available at any one time, due to requirements for routine maintenance, and therefore daily flying hours and availability will fluctuate. I am withholding further details as it would, or would be likely to prejudice the capability, effectiveness and security of our armed forces.
Mr. Carswell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what reports he has received of the effect on the operational effectiveness of Lynx helicopters in Afghanistan of warmer weather conditions. 
Mr. Ingram: We recognise that all helicopters have lift or payload constraints, and we take these into account when deploying a number of different helicopters as part of a varied fleet. Aircraft can be affected by variations in temperature and weather conditions, but I am withholding the information as it would, or would be likely to, prejudice the capability, effectiveness or security of our armed forces.
Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence which (a) Ministers, (b) members of the Intelligence and Security Committee and (c) other hon. Members have visited (i) RAF Menwith Hill, (ii) RAF Molesworth, (iii) RAF Lakenheath, (iv) RAF Mildenhall, (v) RAF Croughton, (vi) RAF Fairford, (vii) RAF Fylingdales and (viii) RAF St. Mawgan since January 2000; and what the date was of each such visit. 
Derek Twigg [holding answer 23 February 2007]: Since January 2000 Defence Ministers have visited the RAF stations at Menwith Hill, Molesworth, Lakenheath, Mildenhall, Croughton, Fairford, Fylingdales and St. Mawgan on the following occasions:
5 July 2001Visit to Menwith Hill
6 January 2003Visit to RAF Fylingdales
15 July 2005Visit to RAF Fairford
24 February 2000Visit to RAF Menwith Hill
26 June 2003Attendance at a public meeting at RAF Fylingdales
19 October 2004Visit to RAF Mildenhall
17 August 2006Visit to RAF Menwith Hill and RAF Fylingdales
12 October 2006Visit to RAF Fairford
16 October 2006Visit to RAF Molesworth
21 July 2002Visit to RAF Fairford
18 July 2003RIAT Dinner at RAF Fairford
16 July 2004Visit to RAF Fairford
Our records also show that members of the Intelligence and Security Committee made visits to RAF Menwith Hill on 22 May 2000, 18 October 2004 and 13 July 2006. Visits by other Members of Parliament to the RAF stations include:
Quentin Davies MP visited on 18 July 2001
Jonathan Djanogly MP visited on 10 January 2003, 25 July 2003, 21 April 2006, 29 September 2006 and 16 October 2006
James Paice MP visited on 7 July 2006
Richard Spring MP visited on 18 January 2002, 19 October 2004 and 14 July 2006
Timothy Boswell MP visited on 26 May 2005
The right hon. James Arbuthnot MP visited on 14 July 2006
Colin Breed MP visited on 14 July 2006
Geoffrey Clifton-Brown MP visited on 24 September 2003 and 14 July 2006
The right hon. Iain Duncan Smith MP visited on 16 April 2003
Adam Holloway MP visited on 14 July 2006
Gerald Howarth MP visited on 15 July 2005 and 15 July 2006
Mark Lancaster MP visited on 14 July 2006
Ian Liddell-Granger MP visited on 14 July 2006
Andrew Rosindell MP visited on 15 July 2005 and 14 July 2006
Mr. Evennett: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what recent representations he has received on the adequacy of medical care for injured service personnel; and if he will make a statement. 
Derek Twigg: From 1 January to 20 March this year, Ministers had received some 50 representations from hon. Members and members of the public on the adequacy of medical care for injured service personnel.
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