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1993 - PMQT Written Answers 24th November 1993

Below is the text of the written answers relating to Prime Minister's Question Time from 24th November 1993.


PRIME MINISTER:

Queen's Speech

Mr. Allen : To ask the Prime Minister how many copies of the background note on the Queen's Speech have been sold to the press.

The Prime Minister : The background notes on the Queen's Speech are available free of charge to the press.

As part of the Government's drive to make information more available to the public, a system operated on behalf of the Central Office of Information was initiated this year to enable individuals and organisations to obtain the background notes by facsimile transmission. Over 1,000 calls were made to the system.

Mr. Allen : To ask the Prime Minister if he will make available to the hon. Members the background note to the Queen's Speech which was made available to the press before the Queen's Speech.

The Prime Minister : The notes have been placed in the Library of the House.


Security Services

Mr. Mark Robinson : To ask the Prime Minister what plans he has to change the vote accounting arrangements for the security and intelligence agencies, following the announcement of the intention to introduce new statutory arrangements for the secret intelligence service and GCHQ.

The Prime Minister : As part of its policy towards greater openness in security and intelligence matters, the Government intend to bring on to a single published vote the aggregate expenditure of all three agencies, much of which, including all the expenditure of GCHQ, has previously been carried on MoD and FCO Votes.

The new single intelligence vote will be fully open to scrutiny by the Comptroller and Auditor General, apart from limited restrictions to protect the identities of certain sources of information and the details of particularly sensitive operations.

The first main estimate for the new vote will cover expenditure in 1994-95, and will be presented to Parliament in March 1994.