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1997 - PMQT Written Answers 19th March 1997

Below is the text of the written answers relating to Prime Minister's Question Time from 19th March 1997.


PRIME MINISTER:

Thomas Hamilton

Mr. Dalyell: To ask the Prime Minister when Ministers were informed that Thomas Hamilton of Dunblane was a police informer.

The Prime Minister: Lord Cullen's inquiry looked very closely into Thomas Hamilton's background and his relationship with the police and no information came to light to suggest that he had ever been a police informant. Inquiries of the four forces in whose area Thomas Hamilton ran boys' clubs and of the Scottish crime squad have confirmed this.


Organophosphates

Mr. Alfred Morris: To ask the Prime Minister if he will make it his policy that organophosphates will not in future be used to protect British troops.

The Prime Minister [answer 18 March 1997]: The Ministry of Defence aims to provide the best available means to protect its military personnel, including, where appropriate, the use of pesticides for environmental health purposes. I am advised that pesticides in the services' inventory are kept under review to ensure that appropriate products are available for use in a variety of situations. Some organophosphate pesticides will continue to be included in the inventory as long as these are judged to provide the best available protection in particular areas of actual or potential deployment.


Parliamentary Questions

Mr. Flynn: To ask the Prime Minister in how many cases in the past 12 months he was advised that the cost of answering a parliamentary question would exceed £450; and in how many of those cases he declined to provide an answer on grounds of disproportionate cost.

The Prime Minister [holding answer 18 March 1997]: I refer the hon. Member to the reply that I gave to the hon. Member for Cynon Valley (Mrs. Clywd) on 27 February, Official Report, column 320.


Parliamentary Delegations

Mr. Butler: To ask the Prime Minister what changes there are in the composition of the United Kingdom delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe and the Assembly of the Western European Union.

The Prime Minister: Following the recent death of Martin Redmond, who served as a member of the United Kingdom delegation in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe and the Assembly of Western European Union from 1987, the hon. Member for Leigh (Mr. Cunliffe) has been appointed as a representative in place of Mr. Redmond and the hon. Member for Kingston upon Hull, North (Mr. McNamara) has been appointed as a substitute.