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1997 - PMQT Written Answers 24th February 1997

Below is the text of the written answers relating to Prime Minister's Question Time from 24th February 1997.


PRIME MINISTER:

Scottish Grand Committee

Mr. Donohoe: To ask the Prime Minister what has been the cost to public funds of the attendance of (a) the Prime Minister, (b) the Deputy Prime Minister and (c) officials from the Cabinet Office at meetings of the Scottish Grand Committee in Scotland since 1994; and if he will list the meetings of the Committee which (a) to (c) have attended indicating the cost of their attendance and the names of those who attended.

The Prime Minister: I attended the Scottish Grand Committee meeting on 5 July 1996 in Dumfries and had officials in attendance as necessary. Ministers attend Scottish Grand Committee meetings as part of their normal parliamentary duties and officials do so as part of their normal departmental duties. Expenditure falling to my Department has been limited to travelling costs.

No other Ministers from the Cabinet Office have had the opportunity to attend a Scottish Grand Committee meeting.


Business Appointment Rules

Mr. Cousins: To ask the Prime Minister when applications were received from the right hon. Member for Witney (Mr. Hurd) and Dame Pauline Neville-Jones under the business appointment rules; and when, and on what terms, approvals for their appointment to the Natwest bank were granted.

The Prime Minister: The right hon. Member for Witney (Mr. Hurd) was not bound to seek the advice of my advisory committee on business appointments before joining the National Westminster bank in October 1995 because the guidelines on the acceptance of appointments outside Government for former Ministers did not come into effect until the start of the 1995-96 Session of Parliament.

Nevertheless, I understand that Mr. Hurd consulted the chairman of the advisory committee informally before taking up the appointment. Dame Pauline Neville-Jones applied for prior permission, in accordance with the rules on the acceptance of outside appointments by Crown servants, to accept a position with the National Westminster bank after retirement. The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, on the advice of the advisory committee on business appointments, approved Dame Pauline's application unconditionally on 24 June 1996.


Intelligence and Security Committee

Sir Patrick Cormack: To ask the Prime Minister if he has received the 1996 annual report of the intelligence and security committee in accordance with the Intelligence Services Act 1994.

The Prime Minister: I have received the 1996 annual report of the intelligence and security committee and am presenting it to Parliament today. Copies are also being placed in the Libraries of both Houses. I am grateful to the committee for the valuable work it has undertaken in the preparation of the report. Certain portions of the report contained material which fell within the provisions of section 10 of the Intelligence Services Act 1994; accordingly, after consultation with the committee, these have been deleted from the published version.