28 May 2015 : Column 1WS

Written Statements

Thursday 28 May 2015

Defence

Safety at HM Naval Base Clyde

The Secretary of State for Defence (Michael Fallon): I am informing the House at the earliest opportunity on the investigation of each of the claims made by Able Seaman William McNeilly about the operational effectiveness, safety and security of our nuclear deterrent.

Having now completed our investigation, and having consulted with the appropriate regulatory and operating authorities, I can assure the House that neither the operational effectiveness of our continuous at-sea deterrent nor the safety of our submariners or members of the public have been compromised.

The naval service operates its submarine fleet under the most stringent safety regime, which is subject to independent scrutiny. The naval service does not put a submarine to sea unless it is safe to do so, and there are appropriate procedures in place to deal with any issues that may arise during its deployment. There are robust regulatory mechanisms, both within the Ministry of Defence (MOD) but independent of the Royal Navy and, externally with the Office of Nuclear Regulation, to ensure this. The MOD is also held to wider account by Parliament.

Able Seaman McNeilly published his comments following his first submarine deployment. He was under training, and his access and exposure to activities and material on board were appropriate to his security clearance. We have found no evidence that he raised any concerns with colleagues on board or with the chain of command: had he done so, the more senior and experienced submariners would have been able to explain how the boat operated and why McNeilly’s concerns were unfounded. A number of the issues he raised did not occur during his patrol.

Most of McNeilly’s concerns proved to be either factually incorrect or the result of misunderstanding or partial understanding; some drew on historic, previously known, events none of which had compromised our deterrent capability and, where appropriate, from which lessons had been learned to develop our procedures as part of a continuous improvement programme. Only one of the allegations remains to be fully examined—the allegation that e-cigarettes were being used within the submarine. No independent corroboration of this has been found but even if it were true, there is clear evidence that their use did not put the safety of the boat at risk.

Able Seaman McNeilly was arrested having not reported for duty after a period of leave. He was released the next day, but confined to a specified location in Portsmouth while interviews were conducted. He is being afforded the duty of care that we give all our personnel, is in contact with his family, and is still in the employ of the Royal Navy.

[HCWS4]

28 May 2015 : Column 2WS

Leader of the House

Government's Legislative Programme

The Leader of the House of Commons (Chris Grayling): Following yesterday’s State Opening of Parliament, and for the convenience of the House, I am listing the Bills which were announced yesterday:

Armed Forces Bill

Bank of England Governance Bill

Buses Bill

Charities (Protection and Social Investment) Bill

Childcare Bill

Cities and Local Government Devolution

Bill Education and Adoption

Bill Energy Bill

Enterprise Bill

European Union (Finance) Bill

European Union Referendum Bill

Extremism Bill

Full Employment and Welfare Benefits Bill

Housing Bill

Immigration Bill

Investigatory Powers Bill

National Insurance Contributions Bill

Northern Ireland (Stormont House Agreement) Bill

Police Reform and Criminal Justice Bill

Psychoactive Substances Bill

Public Services Ombudsman Bill (Draft)

Scotland Bill

Trade Unions Bill

Votes for Life Bill

Wales Bill

The High Speed Rail (London-West Midlands) Bill is also carried over from the last Parliament.

Detailed information about each of these Bills can be accessed from the No.10 website at: https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/prime-ministers-office-10-downing-street.

[HCWS5]

Northern Ireland

Government's Legislative Programme (Northern Ireland)

The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (Mrs Theresa Villiers): The first Session UK legislative programme unveiled in the Queen’s Speech on 27 May contains measures of relevance to the people of Northern Ireland.


The following is a summary of the legislation announced in the Queen’s Speech and its proposed application to Northern Ireland.


The list also identifies the lead Government Department.

The following Bills will extend to Northern Ireland, in whole or in part, and deal mainly with excepted/reserved matters. Discussions will continue between the Government and the Northern Ireland Executive to ensure that, where provisions that are specifically for a transferred purpose are included in any of these Bills, the consent of the Northern Ireland Assembly will be sought for them:

28 May 2015 : Column 3WS

Finance Bill (HM Treasury)

National Insurance Contributions (HM Treasury)

Bank of England (HM Treasury)

Immigration (Home Office)

Scotland (Scotland Office)

Wales (Wales Office)

Northern Ireland (Stormont House Agreement) (Northern Ireland Office)

EU (Referendum) (Foreign and Commonwealth Office)

EU (Finance) (HM Treasury)

Investigatory Powers (Home Office)

Psychoactive Substances (Home Office)

Armed Forces (Ministry of Defence)

Votes for Life (Cabinet Office)

The following Bills may extend to Northern Ireland to varying degrees. They may require the consent of the Northern Ireland Assembly in relation to provisions in the devolved field:

Full Employment and Welfare Benefits (Department for Work and Pensions)

Energy (Department of Energy and Climate Change)

Enterprise (The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills)

Policing and Criminal Justice (Home Office)

Extremism (Home Office)

Discussions will continue between the Government and the Northern Ireland Executive on those Bills that might include provisions that require the consent of the Northern Ireland Assembly

The following Bills will have limited or no application to Northern Ireland:

Housing (Department for Communities and Local Government)

Education and Adoption (Department for Education)

HS2 (carried over from last Parliament) (Department for Transport)

Buses (Department for Transport)

Cities and Local Government Devolution (Department of Communities and Local Government) Charities (Social Investment and Protection) (Cabinet Office)

Trade Unions (The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills)

Childcare (Department for Education)

[HCWS2]

Scotland

Government's Legislative Programme (Scotland)

The Secretary of State for Scotland (David Mundell): Seventeen of the 24 new Government Bills for this Session of Parliament contain provisions that apply to Scotland, either in full or in part.

The Government’s ambitious programme of legislation will help to create jobs and support working people. It will reduce the tax burden on the lowest earners and will ensure there are no rises in VAT or national insurance contributions for the next five years, and no rise in the income tax levels for which the UK Government have responsibility.

28 May 2015 : Column 4WS

Bringing the different parts of the United Kingdom together is a priority for the Government. For Scotland we will meet our commitment to deliver in full the recommendations of the cross-party Smith commission on further devolution. The new Scotland Bill will give the Scottish Parliament wide-ranging new powers, including greater flexibility to make its own decisions and making it more accountable for raising the revenue it spends, while keeping the advantages of being part of the United Kingdom.

Other measures affecting Scotland include a focus on energy security and support for the North sea oil and gas sector and moves to tackle extremism and strengthen counter-terrorism. The legislative programme also includes measures to control immigration and to hold a referendum on membership of the European Union.

This statement provides a summary of the Government’s new legislative programme and its application to Scotland. It does not include draft Bills.

At present the only Bill that triggers the need for a legislative consent motion under the Sewel convention is the Scotland Bill. However, it is possible that the need for consent may arise as Bills are prepared for introduction.

The Government are committed to the principles of the Sewel convention, and we will continue to work constructively with the Scottish Government to secure consent for Bills that contain provisions requiring the consent of the Scottish Parliament.

The Bills listed in section 1 will apply to Scotland, either in full or in part, on introduction. Section 2 details Bills that will not apply in Scotland at introduction. In addition to the new Bills listed below there will also be a Finance Bill and the HS2 Bill from the last Session will be taken forward.

Section 1: New legislation applying to the United Kingdom, including Scotland (either in full or in part);

Scotland Bill

Full Employment and Welfare Benefits Bill

Energy Bill

Immigration Bill

Enterprise Bill

Trade Unions Bill

Wales Bill

Northern Ireland (Stormont House Agreement) Bill

EU Referendum Bill

Investigatory Powers Bill

Psychoactive Substances Bill

Extremism Bill

National Insurance Contributions Bill

Bank of England Bill

European Union (Finance) Bill

Votes for Life Bill

Armed Forces Bill

Section 2: New legislation that will not apply in Scotland

Childcare Bill

Housing Bill

Education and Adoption Bill

Cities and Local Government Devolution Bill

Police Reform and Criminal Justice Bill

Buses Bill

Charities (Protection and Social Investment) Bill

[HCWS1]

28 May 2015 : Column 5WS

Wales

Government's Legislative Programme (Wales)

The Secretary of State for Wales (Stephen Crabb): The Government’s first session legislative programme announced in the Queen’s Speech on 27 May contains a wide range of measures that will apply to Wales, either in full or in part.

The following Bills and draft Bills will extend to Wales in whole or in part:

Wales Bill (Wales Office)

Scotland Bill (Scotland Office)

Northern Ireland (Stormont House Agreement) Bill (Northern Ireland Office)

Psychoactive Substances Bill (Home Office)

European Union Referendum Bill (Foreign and Commonwealth Office)

Charities (Protection and Social Investment Bill) (Cabinet Office)

Full Employment and Welfare Benefits Bill (Department for Work and Pensions)

Finance Bill (HM Treasury)

National Insurance Contributions Bill (HM Treasury)

Energy Bill (Department of Energy and Climate Change)

28 May 2015 : Column 6WS

Immigration Bill (Home Office)

Enterprise Bill (Department for Business, Innovation and Skills)

Trade Unions Bill (Department for Business, Innovation and Skills)

Extremism Bill (Home Office)

Investigatory Powers Bill (Home Office)

Police Reform and Criminal Justice Bill (Home Office)

Armed Forces Bill (Ministry of Defence)

European Union (Finance) Bill (HM Treasury)

Bank of England Bill (HM Treasury)

Votes for Life Bill (Cabinet Office)

The following Bills will not extend to Wales:

Housing Bill (Department of Communities and Local Government)

Cities and Local Government Devolution Bill (Department for Communities and Local Government)

Childcare Bill (Department for Education)

Education and Adoption Bill (Department for Education)

Buses Bill (Department for Transport)

Discussions will continue with the Welsh Government on Bills that might include provisions that require the consent of the National Assembly for Wales or Welsh Ministers.

[HCWS3]