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Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to his statement of 1 April 2008, Official Report, column 629, on Iraq, whether (a) military personnel or (b) civilian personnel were represented at the meeting on 23 March 2008; and what the (i) rank and (ii) civilian pay grade was of each UK representative present. [199428]

Des Browne: Both UK military and civilian personnel attended the meeting in Baghdad on 23 March 2008. The UK representatives were Her Majesty’s Ambassador for Baghdad and the Deputy Commanding General Multi-National Forces-Iraq, who is a Lieutenant General, they were supported by three other UK officials.

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many violent incidents were reported in (a) Dhi Qar, (b) Muthanna, (c) Maysan and (d) Basra provinces in each of the last six months. [199470]

Des Browne: The number of violent incidents involving Iraqi civilians, Iraqi security forces and/or coalition forces in each province that have been reported to the Multi-National Division (South-East) Headquarters, in each of the last six months are as follows:

Dhi Qar Al Muthanna Maysan Basra

September 2007





October 2007





November 2007





December 2007





January 2008





February 2008





Adam Price: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether British troops are deployed protecting (a) oil installations and (b) the port of Shalamchah in southern Iraq. [200194]

Des Browne: UK maritime forces, alongside our coalition partners and elements of the Iraqi Navy and Iraqi Marines, continue to focus on the defence and security of the Khawr al Amayah and Al Basra oil terminals (KAAOT and ABOT) in the Northern Gulf. UK forces do not routinely have a direct role in protecting oil installations ashore: this is carried out by the Iraqi security forces.

UK forces periodically deploy to the border crossing point at Shalamcheh and also provide mentoring and training to the Iraqi Directorate of Border Enforcement, who have primary responsibility for border security.

Adam Price: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether any requests have been made by (a) the US and (b) the Iraqi military that the British Army redeploys into central Basra. [200195]

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Des Browne: Iraqi requests for military support are made to the Multi-National Forces-Iraq, whose commanders judge whether these are appropriate or militarily viable. UK forces have—as part of the coalition effort—provided a range of support to recent Iraqi Security Force operations against criminal elements in Basra, including the deployment on the ground of elements of two of our battlegroups and small mentoring and advisory teams to Iraqi Army units.

Kosovo: Peacekeeping Operations

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many UK personnel were deployed to Kosovo in each month since August 2007; how many of those deployed received special training for civilian policing; where within Kosovo they have been deployed; and if he will make a statement. [197085]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: There are 175 UK established military posts in Kosovo. All personnel assigned to these posts since August 2007 have been deployed to Pristina, the majority of whom provide situational awareness support to the NATO led Kosovo Force and none undertake civilian policing duties.

In addition, approximately 50 civilian Ministry of Defence police officers work throughout the country as part of the 65 strong FCO sponsored UK contribution to the UN police mission in Kosovo. Those on regular deployments to Kosovo receive a five day mission-specific pre-deployment course as well training provided by the UN once in theatre.

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what command relationship has been agreed between the Kosovo Force and the EU rule of law civilian mission to Kosovo. [198707]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: The NATO Kosovo Force (KFOR) and the EU rule of law civilian mission (EULEX) operate under two separate chains of command in Kosovo. Technical arrangements to facilitate co-ordination and mutual support between the two organisations are under discussion.


Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what his Department's expenditure on language training was in each year since 1997. [199496]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: Language training for armed forces personnel and MOD civilians is provided mainly by the Defence School of Languages (DSL). The school also provides some training for overseas personnel on a repayment basis.

The cost of DSL for the financial year 2001-02 to the present date is as follows:

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Financial year £ million















(1)( )Until end February 2008

Information for the period prior to 2001-02 is unavailable; there is no requirement for the Department to retain financial information beyond the six year point.

Details of expenditure on language training by other MOD facilities are not held centrally and can be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Military Aircraft: Helicopters

Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many life-flying hours have been completed by the (a) Apache Attack helicopter, (b) Gazelle, (c) Lynx Mk3, (d) Lynx Mk7, (e) Lynx Mk8, (f) Lynx Mk9, (g) Merlin Mk1 and (h) Merlin Mk3 military helicopters. [198328]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: The figures requested are provided in the following table.

Helicopter type Flying hours

Apache Attack Helicopter




Lynx Mark 3


Lynx Mark 7


Lynx Mark 8


Lynx Mark 9


Merlin Mark 1


Merlin Mark 3


These figures represent the total flying hours completed by aircraft in the current fleet, and are the latest available for each airframe. They do not include the hours flown by any aircraft which have been sold or are no longer in service for whatever reason.

Military Bases: Colchester

Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what discussions his Department has had with the Ministry of Justice on using space at the Military Corrective Training Centre at Colchester to accommodate civilian prisoners; and if he will make a statement. [199230]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: The Government have no plan to accommodate civilian prisoners at the Military Corrective Training Centre at Colchester.

Mineral Waters

Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many litres of bottled water were purchased by his Department in each of the last three years; and if he will make a statement. [191250]

Derek Twigg: This information is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

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MOD Aberporth: Manpower

Mark Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the workforce strength at MOD Aberporth is. [199880]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: As of 4 April 2008, 268 people were employed at MOD Aberporth, broken down as follows:




Ministry of Defence including Met Office


Support contractors/others


Navy: Piracy

Mr. Brazier: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence in how many incidents of tackling piracy the Royal Navy was involved in each of the last five years; and what the date (a) and (b) location of each incident was. [199820]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: The Royal Navy has been involved in tackling three incidents of piracy over the last five years as shown in the following table.

Date Country

January 2006


December 2007


February 2008


In each of these incidents, Royal Navy ships fulfilled supporting roles, including providing situational awareness. In addition, the Royal Navy has responded to incidents of suspected piracy which transpired to be local disputes and has been made aware of other incidents where other nations’ ships have been better geographically placed to become involved in tackling the piracy.

Official Engagements

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what his official engagements were from 25 February to 1 April 2008. [199666]

Des Browne: Throughout the period 25 February and 1 April, I had various meetings in London and Scotland, including with ministerial colleagues and officials from the MOD and Scotland office. In addition, on 26 February I had a video/telephone conference with the NATO Secretary General, Jaap de Hoop Scheffer. On 28 February, I met the Australian High Commissioner. On 29 February, I visited HMS Gannet and met with representatives of the Scottish Pensioners Forum in Edinburgh. On 3 March, I answered Defence questions in the House of Commons and, in the evening, attended the Graduation Reception of the Armed Forces Parliamentary Scheme. On 4 March I had separate meetings with the Dutch Ambassador, with Dr. Paul Sender, the recently-returned head of the British Health Organisation in Afghanistan, and with a representative of the media. On 5 March, I answered Scottish questions in the House of Commons. On 6 March, had a meeting with Gerry Grimstone, the Chairman of Standard Life. I also had meetings with the Albanian Defence Minister, with former Chiefs of the Defence Staff in the House of Lords, and with
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Quentin Davies MP on the Armed Forces National Recognition Study. On 8 March, I attended a Veterans Badge Presentation Event in Edinburgh and the RBS Six Nations Scotland v. England rugby match at Murrayfield. On 19 March, I met representatives of the Scottish War Widows Association at 10 Downing Street. On 25 March, I met the bereaved mother of a serviceman. On 26 March, I gave an interview to a national newspaper and attended President Sarkozy's parliamentary address at the House of Commons. On 27 March, I attended the Anglo-French summit, which included a bilateral meeting with the French Defence Minister. On 31 March, I attended the launch for Stephen Walker's book, 'Shot at Dawn'. On 1 April, I attended the Media Launch of TA100, the 100th anniversary of the Territorial Army, at the Tower of London and the Fly Past for the RAF 90th Anniversary at MOD Main Building.

Press Offices

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the cost of the press offices of (a) his Department, (b) its agencies and (c) its non-departmental public bodies were in each year since 1996-97; what the cost was in each quarter since 1 April 2007; and if he will make a statement. [189743]

Derek Twigg: The information requested across the Department, agencies and non-departmental public bodies is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

The central MOD Press Office in London cost £3 million in 2006-07, the latest year for which audited figures are available. This figure includes press officers and support staff pay and allowances capitation; programme costs such as press cuttings and electronic media monitoring.

Any data before this for the central press office could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Public Expenditure

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the forecast cost increase of £1.7 billion in his Department’s budget will be spent on; and over what time period. [196348]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: Any increase in the Defence budget is spent on the provision of Defence capability.

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