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1993 - PMQT Written Answers 7th June 1993

Below is the text of the written answers relating to Prime Minister's Question Time from 7th June 1993.


PRIME MINISTER:

French Security Services

Mr. Llew Smith : To ask the Prime Minister what representations he has made to his French counterpart in relation to activities by the French security services in relation to British companies.

The Prime Minister : It is not Government policy to comment on security and intelligence matters.


UN Conference on Women

Mrs. Fyfe : To ask the Prime Minister (1) what consultation process has been set up to enable women to make an input to the formal United Kingdom report to be presented at the UN conference on women in 1995; and what sums have been budgeted to encourage full consultation and to inform people of the United Kingdom's participation;

(2) if he will make a statement on the implementation in the United Kingdom of the UN convention on the elimination of discrimination against women;

(3) who is responsible for compiling the formal United Kingdom report to be presented at the UN conference on women in Beijing in 1995; and who will represent the United Kingdom Government at the conference.

The Prime Minister : The Government will be responsible for compiling the United Kingdom report to the UN world conference on women in 1995. The draft report will be considered by the ministerial sub-committee on women's issues. Details of the consultation process are being finalised. The views of the Women's National Commission will be taken into account at an early stage and other organisations will be invited to contribute. The costs of the consultation and information will be absorbed in normal Government expenditure. United Kingdom representation for the 1995 conference has yet to be decided.

The United Kingdom ratified the convention on the elimination of all forms of discrimination against women (CEDAW) in 1986 and reports to the UN on its implementation every four years. The second report, made in 1991, was updated in presentation to CEDAW in January 1993. It explained that since ratification we have continued to make much progress in the fields of the articles of the convention. Recent developments contributing to equality include the introduction of the national curriculum, the investment of some £45 million to support child care for school age children, the introduction of targets for action to address health issues that particularly affect women, and action aimed at increasing women's representation at all levels in public and private employment and the decision-making processes. The United Kingdom has now been able to withdraw two reservations, those relating to the married man's tax allowance and the employment of women in underground work in mines.


Human Rights (India)

Ms Walley : To ask the Prime Minister if he will raise the subject of human rights violations with the Vice-President of India during his visit to London; and if he will make a statement.

The Prime Minister : I raised the subject of human rights in India with the Vice-President of India during my meeting with him on 24 May.


UN Conference on Environment and Development

Mr. Llew Smith : To ask the Prime Minister what actions have been taken by Her Majesty's Government in fulfilment of commitments made by the United Kingdom at the United Nations conference on environment and development in June 1992; and if he will place in the Library a report of work undertaken towards meeting those commitments.

The Prime Minister : The Government are taking a leading role in the follow-up to the conference in Rio de Janeiro in June 1992. We have prepared a progress report which we shall be putting to the new United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development before its first meeting later this month. A copy has been placed in the Library.


Scott Inquiry

Mr. Llew Smith : To ask the Prime Minister if he will make it his policy to arrange for full copies of any statement made by Government Ministers to the Scott inquiry to be placed in the Library.

The Prime Minister : No. The general rule is that the statements are matters between the individual Minister concerned and Lord Justice Scott.


Northern Ireland

Mr. Barnes : To ask the Prime Minister if he will list the names, in date order, of all those who have died in the United Kingdom and Europe as a result of the troubles in Northern Ireland since 5 October 1968, giving the location in each case.

The Prime Minister : A comprehensive list of people who have been killed as a result of the security situation in Northern Ireland, as well as those who have died in related incidents in Great Britain, the Republic of Ireland and, since 1978, in mainland Europe, is currently being compiled and will be placed in the Library in due course. The list will include the cause and location of each death.


Nuclear Industry

Mr. Llew Smith : To ask the Prime Minister what plans he has to introduce a citizens charter for the nuclear industry.

The Prime Minister : The nuclear industry sells its products and services to other industries, not directly to the public. There are no plans to introduce charters for industries of this kind.


Arms Exports

Mr. Spellar : To ask the Prime Minister if he will now make it the policy of the Government to give substantive answers to parliamentary questions relating to the actions of Ministers and officials between 1984 and 1992 in relation to the export of arms to Iraq.

The Prime Minister : No. These issues are being investigated by Lord Justice Scott, and it would be wrong for the Government to comment on them before publication of his final report.

Lord Justice Scott is free to call for any papers and to call any Minister or civil servant to give evidence to his inquiry. It is the Government's policy that all Ministers and officials called to give evidence should co-operate fully. The Government are, therefore, making all the relevant facts available to the inquiry, and it is right that we should wait for Lord Justice Scott to present his conclusions before commenting publicly.


Nuclear Proliferation

Mr. Llew Smith : To ask the Prime Minister what matters in regard to nuclear proliferation were discussed during his recent visit to Paris.

The Prime Minister : Nuclear proliferation was not discussed.


European Court of Human Rights

Mr. Allen : To ask the Prime Minister, pursuant to his answer of 24 May, Official Report, column 372, if Her Majesty's Government intend to support proposals for a single-tier European Court of Human Rights at the Council of European Heads of State summit in October; and if he will make a statement.

The Prime Minister : The Ministers' Deputies Meeting on 28 May agreed by consensus the mandate for a draft protocol amending the control machinery of the European convention on human rights (UCHR). The Council of Europe steering committee for human rights will now draft the amending protocol. The United Kingdom will participate fully in the drafting process. Our position at the heads of state summit in October must depend on progress made by the steering committee.


Regional Development Assistance

Mr. Wareing : To ask the Prime Minister who will be the United Kingdom's lead Minister in the discussions on objective 1 status within the European Community.

The Prime Minister [holding answer 27 May 1993] : My right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade.