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1994 - PMQT Written Answers 31st October 1994

Below is the text of the written answers relating to Prime Minister's Question Time from 31st October 1994.


PRIME MINISTER:

Conduct of Public Life

Mr. Llew Smith: To ask the Prime Minister what recent meetings he has had with Lord Nolan; and what has been their purpose.

The Prime Minister: I met Lord Nolan on Wednesday 26 October to discuss various matters relating to the committee on standards in public life, including appointments of Members.

Mr. Hanson: To ask the Prime Minister what is the proposed remuneration of the chairman and board members of the proposed committee on standards in public life.

The Prime Minister [holding answer 28 October 1994]: I shall publish this information shortly.

Mr. Beith: To ask the Prime Minister for what reasons peers are not included in the categories of persons to be considered by the Committee on the conduct of public life in respect of their parliamentary duties.

The Prime Minister: It is open to the committee to examine the standards of conduct to be observed by peers as parliamentarians, as Ministers and, indeed, as holders of other public offices.

Mr. Llwyd: To ask the Prime Minister if he will include in the terms of reference of the body which will investigate standards of public life the issue of funding of political parties.

The Prime Minister: No. The funding of political parties has already been the subject of an investigation by the Home Affairs Select Committee. Under the terms of reference I announced on 25 October, it is open to Lord Nolan's committee to consider concerns that appointments or other Government decisions may be influenced by political contributions.

Mr. Llew Smith: To ask the Prime Minister pursuant to his oral statement on standards of conduct in public life of 25 October, Official Report, col. 757 , if he will indicate (a) who was the informant mentioned by the Cabinet Secretary in his report, (b) what proposals for a deal were put to him by the intermediary and (c) when he was first contacted by the intermediary.

The Prime Minister: I have nothing further to add to the statement that I made to the House on Public Life (Standards of Conduct) on 25 October 1994, Official Report, columns 757-770, and to the answer I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Dartford (Mr. Dunn) on 25 October 1994, Official Report, columns 521-22 .


Inhumane Weapons

Mr. Alton: To ask the Prime Minister what plans he has to ratify the 1980-81 United Nations convention on inhumane weapons.

The Prime Minister: We continue to work actively towards ratification of the United Nations weaponry convention review conference. Meanwhile, we do, of course, adhere strictly to the provisions of the convention.


Parliamentary Questions

Mr. Llew Smith: To ask the Prime Minister if he will make it his policy that Ministers should give substantive answers to questions from hon. Members about the contents of books or reports in areas for which they have responsibility, which are published by sources other than the Minister's Department or a non-departmental public body operating in the area or public policy for which the Minister has responsibility.

The Prime Minister: It is for individual Ministers to decide how to answer parliamentary questions.


Mr. Al Fayed

Mr. Byers: To ask the Prime Minister on what date the note of his meeting with the informant acting on behalf of Mr. Al Fayed was passed to the Director of Public Prosecutions.

The Prime Minister: On 20 October 1994.

Mr. Madden: To ask the Prime Minister, pursuant to his oral answer to the hon. Member for Barnsley, West and Penistone (Mr. Clapham), of 20 October, Official Report, column 420, what arrangements were proposed to him on behalf of Mr. Al Fayed; and if he will make a further statement.

The Prime Minister: I have nothing further to add to the statement that I made to the House on Public Life (Standards of Conduct) on 25 October, Official Report 757-70.


Sanctions (Libya)

Mr. Dalyell: To ask the Prime Minister what representations he has had from the Arab league about Libyan sanctions.

The Prime Minister: I have received no such representations.


Al Fayed Brothers (Citizenship Application)

Mr. Madden: To ask the Prime Minister what representations have been made to him (a) by right hon. or hon. Members or (b) others concerning the applications for British citizenship by Mr. Mohamed Al Fayed and Mr. Ali Al Fayed.

The Prime Minister: So far as I am aware, none.


Public Sector Pay Review Bodies

Sir Giles Shaw: To ask the Prime Minister what is the current membership of the public sector pay review bodies.

The Prime Minister: The membership of the pay review bodies is as follows:

Review Body on Senior Salaries

Lord Nickson KBE DL (Chairman)

Professor George Bain

Sir Cecil Clothier KCB QC

Mr. Gordon Hourston

Sir Anthony Wilson

Sir Michael Perry CBE

Sir Sydney Lipworth QC

Mrs. Rosemary Day

Miss Patricia Mann

Mrs. Yve Newbold

Mr. Mark Sheldon


Review Body on Nursing Staff, Midwives, Health Visitors and Professions Allied to Medicine

Mr. Michael Bett CBE (Chairman)

Mr. Jan Hildreth

Miss Anne Mackie OBE

Professor Gillian Raab

Professor George Thomason CBE

Miss Diana Whittingham

Ms Ruth Lea

Mrs. Sheila Gleig


Armed Forces Pay Review Body

Mr Gordon Hourston (Chairman)

Mr Michael Bolton

Mr John Cox CBE

Mr John Crosby

Baroness Dean

Mrs Dorothy Venables

Air Chief Marshal Sir Roger Palin KCB OBE

Mr Guy Neely


Review Body on Doctors' and Dentists' Remuneration

Mr Brandon Gough (Chairman)

Mr Douglas Boyd

Ms Christina Boyden

Mrs Sally Field

Dr Elizabeth Nelson

Professor George Thomason CBE

Mr Dennis Fredjohn MBE

Mr David Penton


School Teachers' Review Body

Mr John Gardiner (Chairman)

Mrs Brigita Amey

Mr Alan Cox CBE

Mrs Gill Rostron

Mrs Anna Vinton

Mr Michael Harding

Mrs Julia Cuthbertson

Mr Philip Halsey CB LVO


Ministerial Conduct

Mr. Wilson: To ask the Prime Minister what steps he has taken to assure himself that the right hon. Member for Norfolk, South (Mr. MacGregor) has, in all respects, complied with the guidelines laid down in "Questions of Procedure for Ministers", and if he will make a statement.

The Prime Minister [holding answer 25 October 1994]: Ministers have the responsibility to ensure that they comply with the guidelines in "Questions of Procedure for Ministers". I have no reason to think that my right hon. Friend failed to do so.

Mr. Wilson: To ask the Prime Minister what declaration of continuing association with Messrs Hill Samuel was made by the right hon. Member for Norfolk, South and on what date.

The Prime Minister [holding answer 25 October 1994]: Because of his former association with Messrs Hill Samuel, my right hon. Friend gave instructions to his Department that he should play no part in the selection process, in 1993, of financial advisers to the Department of Transport for the channel tunnel rail link.

Mr. Wilson: To ask the Prime Minister on what date the right hon. Member for Norfolk, South intimated (a) his desire to leave the Government and (b) his intention to rejoin Hill Samuel.

The Prime Minister [holding answer 25 October 1994]: As was made clear in my right hon. Friend's resignation letter of 20 July, he had advised me earlier in the summer of his intention to leave the Government. I was informed of my right hon. Friend's decision to take up his appointment on 6 October.

Mr. Wilson: To ask the Prime Minister what intimation of potential conflict of interest was made by the right hon. Member for Norfolk, South when direction was given by his Department to the British Railways Board to establish a vendor unit; and on what date.

The Prime Minister [holding answer 25 October 1994]: British Rail decided to establish a vendor unit in order to co-ordinate sales: no direction was given by the Department of Transport.

Mr. Wilson: To ask the Prime Minister what arrangements were intimated by the right hon. Member for Norfolk, South under paragraphs 128 to 134 of "Questions of Procedure for Ministers"; and if advice was sought by him from the then Prime Minister's Private Secretary in terms of paragraph 132.

The Prime Minister [holding answer 25 October 1994]: My right hon. Friend's pension arrangements are a matter for him, but I am advised that they corresponded with the requirements of paragraphs 128-134 of "Questions of Procedure for Ministers", and no consultation with the then Prime Minister's Private Secretary was therefore necessary.

Mr. Wilson: To ask the Prime Minister if he will list the contracts awarded by Her Majesty's Government to Messrs Hill Samuel between June 1979 and July 1994, with the value in each case.

The Prime Minister [holding answer 25 October 1994]: The information requested is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Mr. Byers: To ask the Prime Minister on how many occasions since 1 January 1991 the Cabinet Secretary has advised individual Ministers of his opinion on their conduct in relation to "Questions of Procedure for Ministers"; which Ministers were involved; and on what dates the opinion was given.

The Prime Minister [holding answer 28 October 1994]: Discussions between Ministers and the Cabinet Secretary are private.


Public Appointments

Dr. Wright: To ask the Prime Minister (1) if he will give details of the current inquiry into the system of public appointments and identify (a) when it was established, (b) its terms of reference, (c) its composition and (d) when it will report;

(2) if he will give details of the current inquiry into the governance of quangos; when it was established; what are its terms of reference; what is its composition; and when it will report.

The Prime Minister [holding answer 25 October 1994]: As I told the House on 20 October, I set up a working group in May to review the guidance to Departments on public appointments procedures. The terms of reference for the review are:

"To examine, in consultation with departments, the principles that should govern the membership of public bodies and the methods used to identify potential candidates, including questions relating to equal opportunities and multiple appointments, and the procedures leading to disqualification from or premature termination of appointments; and to consider whether amendments and additions need to be made to the Guide on Public Appointments procedures'." The working group is chaired by the director of the public appointments unit and includes representatives from the Department of Employment, the Department of the Environment, the Department of Health, the Lord Chancellor's Department, the Scottish Office, the Department of Trade and Industry, the Treasury and the Welsh Office. My right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and I expect to receive the working group's report in a few weeks' time. I have also asked my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster to look across the board at appointments to all public bodies and to make any further recommendations he thinks necessary. We shall be making any recommendations, together with the working group's report, available to the committee on standards in public life.

In addition, the Office of Public Service and Science and the Treasury are preparing, in consultation with Departments generally, a revision of "Non-Departmental Public Bodies: A Guide for Departments". This is intended to assist sponsor Departments on a range of matters concerning non-departmental public bodies. The guide was last revised in March 1992. Work on a further revision began in May, and the aim is to produce the revised guide when the parallel work on public appointments has been concluded. This, too, will be made available to the committee on standards in public life.


Economic and Finance Council

Sir Teddy Taylor: To ask the Prime Minister if he will take steps to co-ordinate Government policy between the Treasury and the Home Office on the reduction of fines for law breaking in respect of persons, authorities or nations who refused to pay them, in relation to the decision made at the Council of Finance Ministers of the European Union on 21 October.

The Prime Minister: The decision taken at ECOFIN on 21 October was to increase the so-called "fine" imposed by the Commission on Italy and Spain by 1.1 b ecu, and not to reduce the penalties.

Although disallowance decisions taken by the Commission under the common agricultural policy are often colloquially described as fines, they are in fact completely different from fines imposed by criminal courts. I believe that co-ordination between the Treasury and the Home Office on these areas of policy is satisfactory.


Cabinet Secretary's Investigation

Mr. Alfred Morris: To ask the Prime Minister, pursuant to his oral answer of 20 October, Official Report, columns 420-22, in regard to the inquiry by the Cabinet Secretary, how many other cases there are of hon. Members who are now Ministers in respect of whom any inquiries are being or have been undertaken; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Prime Minister, pursuant to his oral answers of 20 October, Official Report, columns 420-22 , (1) which other hon. Members are being questioned by the Permanent Secretary to the Cabinet;

(2) if he will (a) make a statement on the Cabinet Secretary's report when it is complete and (b) publish (i) its contents, including the nature of the complaints and where they originated, (ii) the evidence requested, (iii) details of interviews conducted, (iv) a full summary of points considered and (v) the conclusions drawn.

The Prime Minister [holding answer 27 October 1994]: I refer the right hon. and hon. Members to the statement that I made to the House on Public Life (Standards of Conduct) on 25 October 1994, Official Report, columns 757-770, and to the answer that I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Dartford (Mr. Dunn) on 25 October 1994, Official Report, columns 521-22.

Mr. Byers: To ask the Prime Minister, pursuant to his answer to the hon. Member for Dartford (Mr. Dunn) of 25 October, Official Report, column 521-22, if he will identify the informant acting on behalf of Mohamed Al Fayed and all Ministers against whom allegations were made; and what documentary evidence has been requested and examined by the Cabinet Secretary as part of his investigation.

The Prime Minister [holding answer 28 October 1994]: The answer to the first part of the question is no. On the identity of the Ministers against whom allegations were made, I refer the hon. Gentleman to the answer I gave today to the right hon. Member for Manchester, Wythenshawe (Mr Morris). On the third part of the question, I have nothing to add to the reply that I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Dartford (Mr. Dunn), on 25 October 1994 Official Report, columns 521-22.


Butler Inquiry

Mr. Alex Carlile: To ask the Prime Minister pursuant to his oral answer to the hon. Member for Barnsley, West and Penistone (Mr. Clapham) of 20 October, Official Report, columns 420-21, how many Ministers are being or have been investigated by Sir Robin Butler; when he expects to receive the report; and if he will make a statement.

The Prime Minister [holding answer 26 October 1994]: My right hon. and learned Friend the Home Secretary and my right hon. Friend the Chief Secretary to the Treasury have confirmed that they were the subject of allegations investigated at my request by the Cabinet Secretary. No other Ministers were involved.


Mr. Ian Greer

Mr. Byers: To ask the Prime Minister on what dates on and after 29 September he has met Mr. Ian Greer of Ian Greer Associates.

The Prime Minister [holding answer 28 October 1994]: None.


Public Appointments

Dr. Wright: To ask the Prime Minister (1) what is the total number of public appointments which he is responsible for making or which require his approval; and if he will include figures for the Crown appointments on which he is responsible for advising Her Majesty the Queen; (2) pursuant to his answer of 17 January, Official Report , columns 367-68 , if he will give details of the Crown appointments on which he is responsible for advising Her Majesty the Queen.

The Prime Minister [holding answer 27 October 1994]: Further to the information on appointments already given to the hon. Member, I am listing those appointments on which at the present time I advise Her Majesty the Queen. The total number of appointments for which I am responsible, including those on which I advise Her Majesty the Queen, cannot be accurately calculated since I have discretion in some cases as to how many appointments I make; and in the case of Church appointments some vacancies fall casually and unpredictably to the Crown by virtue of the Royal Prerogative.

Appointments made by the Queen on the advice of the Prime Minister

Astronomer Royal

Bank of England

Governor and Deputy Governor

Executive and Non-Executive Directors

British Broadcasting Corporation

Governors, including the Chairman and Vice-Chairman

Chancellor of the County Palatine of Durham

Church Commissioners

Chairman and six others

The Churches Conservation Trust

Chairman and members

Civil Service

Head of the Home Civil Service (Cabinet Secretary)

Board of Customs and Excise, Chairman, Deputy Chairman and Commissioners

Board of Inland Revenue, Chairman and Commissioners including Deputy Chairman

Clerk of the Crown in Chancery

Civil Service Commissioners

Her Majesty's Printer of Acts of Parliament (Controller of the Stationery Office)

Procurator General (Solicitor General)

Registrar General

Comptroller and Auditor General

Constables of

Caernarvon Castle

Flint Castle

Harlech Castle

Tower of London

Captain of Deal Castle

Crown Estate Commissioners

Data Protection Registrar

Development Commissioners

Ecclesiastical Appointments in England

Archbishops of Canterbury and York

Diocesan and Suffragan Bishops

Deans

Crown Canonries

Crown Livings c. 200

Appointments under the Royal Prerogative and Sede Vacante Ecclesiastical Appointments in Scotland

Her Majesty's High Commissioner to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland

Forestry Commissioners

Governor of the Isle of Wight

Health Service Commissioners for England, Wales and Scotland Interception of Communications Tribunal

Vice President and members

Ministers of Her Majesty's Government

Senior Judiciary in England

Lord Chief Justice of England

Master of the Rolls

Vice Chancellor

President of the Probate, Divorce and Admiralty Division Lords of Appeal in Ordinary

Lord Justices of Appeal

Court of Ecclesiastical Causes Reserved

Senior Judiciary in Scotland

Lord Justice Clerk

Lord Justice General and Lord President of the Court of Session in Scotland

Judge of the Arches Court of Canterbury and the Chancery Court of York

King Edward's Hospital Fund for London

President, or three Governors

Lord Clerk Register of Scotland

Lord Great Chamberlain

Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports

Lord-Lieutenants and Vice Lord-Lieutenants of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland

Parliament

The Speaker

Clerk of the Parliaments

Clerk of the House of Commons

Parliamentary Commissioner for Administration

Honorary Physicians to The Queen

Poet Laureate

Police Complaints Authority

Chairman

Public Works Loans Board

Chairman, Deputy Chairman and Commissioners

Receiver-General and Deputy Receiver-General of Jersey

Receiver-General of Guernsey

Royal Patriotic Fund Corporation Members, including President Standing Royal Commissions, including Millennium Commission Scholastic Appointments

Regius Professors of Oxford and Cambridge

School of Oriental and African Studies Governing Body members Provost of Eton

Principal of King's College, Cambridge

Master of Trinity College, Cambridge

Master of Church College, Cambridge

Security Service Tribunal

Members, President and Vice President