Biography Chronology Home Search Speeches/Statements

1996 - PMQT Written Answers 26th February 1996

Below is the text of the written answers relating to Prime Minister's Question Time from 26th February 1996.


PRIME MINISTER:

Scott Inquiry

Mr. Llew Smith: To ask the Prime Minister if he will make a statement on the consistency between his statement in The Sun on 17 February as to United Kingdom arms exports to Iraq with the details of export licences provided on pages 21, 33, 34 and 77 of the appendix A of volume V of the Scott report.

The Prime Minister: Appendix A of volume V of the Scott report confirms that the UK did not on any occasion approve the export of lethal defence equipment to Iraq. This is the point that I was making in my article in The Sun on 17 February.

Mr. Smith: To ask the Prime Minister what guidelines he has issued to Departments in respect of the retention of papers dealing with export licences since the Scott inquiry commenced.

The Prime Minister: No specific guidance has been issued on the retention of papers dealing with export licences. Central guidance on the retention of Government papers generally is issued by the Public Records Office. More detailed criteria are applied by each Government Department to meet its own needs.

Mr. Smith: To ask the Prime Minister if he will place in the Library the briefing note prepared for him in support of his oral answer to the right hon. Member for Yeovil (Mr. Ashdown) of 12 November 1992, Official Report, column 990.

The Prime Minister [holding answer 16 February 1996]: This document was submitted as evidence to Sir Richard Scott's inquiry. Sir Richard Scott is free to publish any document which he considers relevant to his report, consistent with his procedures. I understand that he proposes to do this as soon as possible. Documents which Sir Richard does not consider relevant to his report and which contain internal discussion and advice will not be made available.


Iraq

Mr. Llew Smith: To ask the Prime Minister if he will now place in the Library a copy of the chronology of United Kingdom trade with Iraq, prepared for his Office by the Cabinet Office in November 1992.

The Prime Minister: This document was submitted as evidence to Sir Richard Scott's inquiry. Sir Richard Scott is free to publish any document which he considers relevant to his report, consistent with his procedures. I understand that he proposes to do this as soon as possible.


Ministers' (Resignations)

Mr. Sheerman: To ask the Prime Minister how many Ministers have resigned in each year since 1979.

The Prime Minister: This is a matter of public record.


Ministers (Broadcasting)

Mr. Spearing: To ask the Prime Minister if he will make arrangements for the transcripts of all television and radio broadcasts made by Ministers of the Crown to be deposited in the Library.

The Prime Minister: This is a matter for departmental Ministers. The cost of making it a universal practice would be very substantial.