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1995 - PMQT Written Answers 19th April 1995

Below is the text of the written answers relating to Prime Minister's Question Time from 19th April 1995.


PRIME MINISTER:

Annual Reports

Mr. Peter Atkinson: To ask the Prime Minister when the annual report of the commissioner appointed under the Security Service Act 1989 will be laid before the House; and if he will make a statement.

The Prime Minister: A copy of Lord Justice Stuart-Smith's fifth annual report for 1994 has been laid before the House today in accordance with section 4(6) of the Security Service Act 1989. The confidential annexe to that report has been excluded from that copy in accordance with section 4(7) of the 1989 Act. I am grateful to the commissioner for his work in reviewing the issue of warrants and in providing assistance to the tribunal as provided in the Act. I note that he is satisfied that the Secretaries of State have exercised their warranty powers in accordance with the provisions of the 1989 Act.

Dr. Goodson-Wickes: To ask the Prime Minister when the annual report of the commissioner appointed under the Interception of Communications Act 1985 will be laid before the House; and if he will make a statement.

The Prime Minister: A copy of Lord Nolan's annual report for 1994 has been laid before the House today in accordance with section 8(7) of the Interception of Communications Act 1985. The confidential annnexe to that report has been excluded from that copy in accordance with section 8(8) of the 1985 Act. I am grateful to the commissioner for his work in reviewing the issue of warrants and in assisting the tribunal as provided for in the Act. I note that he is satisfied that the powers under the Act are exercised with care and with a strong sense of duty.


Teachers and Administrators

Mr. Spearing: To ask the Prime Minister, pursuant to his answer of 21 March, Official Report, column 112, concerning the ratio of teachers to other manual and non-manual staff employed by education authorities, if he has anything to add to his oral statement of the same day, Official Report, column 140, concerning the ratio of teachers to administrators in their authorities.

The Prime Minister [holding answer 18 April 1995]: No. I made the position clear in my oral statement of 21 March, Official Report, column 141, and my written answer of the same day, Official Report, column 112.


Conservative Party Health Group

Mr. Mackinlay: To ask the Prime Minister on what basis and on whose authority Conservative central office has dispatched a summons and agenda paper for a Conservative party meeting to be held at the headquarters of the Department of Health in Richmond terrace in April.

(2) if the Cabinet Secretary approved the conducting of Conservative party health group meetings at the headquarters of the Department of Health in Richmond terrace in 1994-95;

(3) how many Conservative party health group meetings, for which agenda and summonses were dispatched on Conservative central office notepaper, were held at the Department of Health in Richmond terrace in 1994-95.

The Prime Minister [holding answer 18 April 1995]: One Conservative party health group meeting was held during 1994 95 at Richmond house. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Health held another meeting on 4 April. These meetings did not incur additional cost to the taxpayer. No civil servant, apart from my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State's special adviser, was involved in preparing for or servicing these meetings. Approval was not required.


Official Box, House of Commons

Mr. McMaster: To ask the Prime Minister what instructions and advice is given to special advisers who occupy the civil service box inside the Chamber of the House as to their conduct, behaviour and impartiality during Question Time, statements and debates; and if he has any plans to amend or review this advice; and if he will make a statement.

The Prime Minister: Attendance in the Official Box is by permission of Madam Speaker who has laid down clear rules on officials' behaviour. These require officials to conduct themselves discreetly at all times. I expect these rules to be scrupulously observed.


Mr. Ghazanfer Ali

Mr. Madden: To ask the Prime Minister what is the current position regarding representations made on behalf of Mr. Ghazanfer Ali who is in prison in Azad Kashmir; and if he will make a statement.

The Prime Minister [holding answer 18 April 1995]: We continue to raise our concerns over the delays in the hearings facing Ghazanfer Ali. We understand that the hearings continue to be adjourned.


Lockerbie

Mr. Dalyell: To ask the Prime Minister, pursuant to his answer of 28 March, Official Report, column 453, regarding the concrete evidence on Lockerbie if he will (a) name the relevant authorities and (b) make a statement on the result of his approaches to the United States embassy on the issues of alleged forgery of the telex to which the question refers.

The Prime Minister [holding answer 5 April 1995]: I have asked the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to look into the matters raised by the hon. Member. It has consulted the Crown Office and the Dumfries and Galloway constabulary as the prosecuting and investigating authorities in this case, our security and intelligence services and the United States authorities. The consultations with the United States embassy are intended to check the authenticity of the document in question, and are still continuing.