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1992 - PMQT Written Answers 13th January 1992

Below is the text of the written answers relating to Prime Minister's Question Time from 13th January 1992.


PRIME MINISTER:

RECHAR

Mr. Morgan : To ask the Prime Minister if he will institute an official inquiry into the source of the leaked letter from the Secretary of State for the Environment to the Secretaries of State for Scotland and Wales referring to the RECHAR scheme.

The Prime Minister : Where it appears that classified documents may have been leaked, it is for the Secretary of State for the relevant Department concerned, in the first instance, to decide, in consultation with his officials, what inquiries need to be made.


Security Service

Mr. Flynn : To ask the Prime Minister if he will make a statement on the appointment of the new director of the Security Service.

The Prime Minister : My right hon. Friend the Home Secretary announced on 16 December 1991 that Mrs. Stella Rimington had been appointed as the new director general of the Security Service, in accordance with the provisions of the Security Service Act 1989.

Mr. Flynn : To ask the Prime Minister (1) what changes he intends to make in his policy for providing answers to questions from hon. Members on the Security Service;

(2) if he will make it his practice to give information in reply to parliamentary questions concerning the Security Service;

(3) if he will list changes made since 1987 in practice on providing answers to questions by hon. Members on the security services.

The Prime Minister : The functions of the Security Service and other statutory provisions were debated in Parliament during the passage of the Security Service Act 1989. The Government intend to continue the practice adopted by successive Governments of not disclosing information relating to the operation of the Security Service.


Roman Catholic Church (Recognition)

Sir Hugh Rossi : To ask the Prime Minister whether, following the repeal in part XVI of schedule 1 to the Statute Law (Repeals) Act 1978 of section 24 of the Roman Catholic Relief Act 1829, he will now make it the policy of Her Majesty's Government to accord the same degree of official recognition to the territorial sees and titles of the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales as is accorded to the unestablished Anglican churches outside England.

The Prime Minister : This suggestion is currently being considered, and I will write to my hon. Friend about it as soon as possible.


Government of London

Mr. Gould : To ask the Prime Minister when he intends to reply to the letter dated 22 October from the hon. Member for Dagenham concerning the government of London.

The Prime Minister : My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Environment has replied on my behalf.


Government Achievements

Mr. Flynn : To ask the Prime Minister if, pursuant to his reply, on Her Majesty's Government's achievements, to the hon. Member for Teignbridge (Mr. Nicholls) on 16 December, Official Report, column 22, he will set out (a) the cost of making this reply and (b) the failures of Her Majesty's Government over the same period.

The Prime Minister : My reply of 16 December to my hon. Friend the Member for Teignbridge demonstrated a consistent record of success and achievement throughout 1991. The cost of that reply, based on the cost of staff and overheads in various departments involved in its compilation, and the printing costs, is estimated at £1,520.


European Union

Mr. Spearing : To ask the Prime Minister what action he has agreed to or authorised in respect of the annex 1 entitled "Reference in the treaty to European Parties", in the draft treaty on European Union; and when, and under what circumstance, the places and formulation of such reference will be determined.

The Prime Minister [holding answer 19 December 1991] : It is for the presidency to propose a precise formulation and place in the treaty for such a reference before signature.

Mr. Spearing : To ask the Prime Minister if he will state which body or bodies will define which associations or foundations are deemed charitable, in respect of the declaration on co-operation with charitable associations in pursuing the objectives of either version of article 117 in the draft treaty on European union.

The Prime Minister [holding answer 19 December 1991] : Declarations by the inter-governmental conference have political rather than legal force, and the existing arrangements for defining charitable status are not affected. In the case of the United Kingdom, the competent body remains the Charity Commission.


Western Shoshone People

Mr. Cryer : To ask the Prime Minister if he will obtain for his office's library the 1989 report by the United States Congress Office of Technology Assessment to which reference is made in the letter by Ambassador Renwick to Chief Rowell of the Western Shoshone people.

The Prime Minister [holding answer 20 December 1991] : I have already done so.


Nuclear Weapons

Mr. Cryer : To ask the Prime Minister if he will make a statement on the technical basis for the requirement for the United Kingdom to carry out tests from time to time to ensure the safety of the nuclear deterrent deployment by the United Kingdom.

The Prime Minister [holding answer 20 December 1991] : It has not been the practice of this or previous Governments to give technical details of our nuclear test programme. Testing remains essential to ensure the effectiveness, safety and credibility of our independent nuclear deterrent.

Mr. Cryer : To ask the Prime Minister what steps have been taken to co-ordinate the United Kingdom nuclear weapons deployment and development programme with Her Majesty's Government's commitments under the nuclear non-proliferation treaty.

The Prime Minister [holding answer 20 December 1991] : For as long as our security depends upon the possession of nuclear weapons, the Government are committed to maintaining a minimum nuclear deterrent. This is entirely consistent with our commitments under the nuclear non- proliferation treaty.


Coopers and Lybrand

Mr. Cousins : To ask the Prime Minister which Departments, for what purposes, and at what cost, have used the services of Coopers and Lybrand since 1989.

The Prime Minister [holding answer 20 December 1991] : This information is not held centrally.


Lockerbie

Mr. Ron Brown : To ask the Prime Minister what representations he has received from Libya about the Lockerbie bombing; and if he will make a statement.

The Prime Minister [holding answer 20 December 1991] : The Libyans have issued various statements and indirect messages about the Lockerbie bombing. None of these provided a satisfactory response to the requests we made with our United States and French partners on 27 November.


Lt. Col. Partap Singh

Mr. Madden : To ask the Prime Minister when he expects to answer the letter, dated 12 August 1991, from Lt. Col. Partap Singh (retired), president of the Khalsa Raj party; and if he will place a copy of his reply in the Library.

The Prime Minister [holding answer 20 December 1991] : My office has no record of receiving Lt. Col. Singh's letter.