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1992 - PMQT Written Answers 21st May 1992

Below is the text of the written answers relating to Prime Minister's Question Time from 21st May 1992.


Our Country, the Planet

Mr. Dalyell : To ask the Prime Minister when he received the copy of "Our Country, the Planet" by Sonny Ramphal which has been sent to him; and if he will make a statement.

The Prime Minister : I have received a copy of "Our Country, the Planet" by Sonny Ramphal. We are committed to ensuring the success of the Earth Summit in Rio. I was the first world leader to announce my intention of attending and I am continuing to press my colleagues to confirm their attendance. I particularly welcome the recent statement by President Bush that he will be joining us in Rio. The Government have very clearly set out their objectives for the summit. I expect to be able to agree a number of important conventions, agreements and declarations which will represent a worthwhile first step in the world's quest for sustainable development.

Earth Summit

Mr. Steen : To ask the Prime Minister how many officials and Ministers are attending the Earth Summit in June; which Departments they represent; what is the estimated cost of their travel and subsistence; and if he will make it his policy for all those representing the United Kingdom to use, wherever possible, British airlines.

The Prime Minister : The information is not yet available. I will write to my hon. Friend when it is.

Lockerbie Bombing

Mr. Dalyell : To ask the Prime Minister what representations he has had from the Government of Malta about the Libyan nationals accused of the Lockerbie bombing.

The Prime Minister : We have maintained regular contacts with the Government of Malta on all aspects of the Lockerbie bombing.

EC Committee of the Regions

Mr. Donald Anderson : To ask the Prime Minister, pursuant to his answer to the hon. Member for Gateshead, East (Ms. Quin) on 11 May, Official Report, column 21, if he will make it his policy that the representatives of Wales on the proposed European Community committee on the regions (a) include no one who has not been elected in Wales and (b) reflect the political balance within Wales.

The Prime Minister : As I indicated in my reply to the hon. Member for Gateshead, East (Ms. Quin) on 11 May, Ministers are considering United Kingdom membership on the Committee, including the question of how best to ensure an adequate balance of interests.

EC Rebates

Q7. Sir Teddy Taylor : To ask the Prime Minister if he will raise at the next meeting of the European Council the question of whether the Council of Ministers or any other EC institution has the power to withdraw the rebates negotiated at Fontainebleau without the agreement of the United Kingdom; and if he will make a statement.

The Prime Minister : I have no plans to do so. The abatement for the United Kingdom agreed at Fontainebleau is enshrined in Community law. It cannot be amended except by unanimity, and with the approval of national Parliaments.


Mr. Harry Greenway : To ask the Prime Minister if he will list his official engagements for Thursday 21 May.

The Prime Minister : This morning I presided at a meeting of the Cabinet and had meetings with ministerial colleagues and others. In addition to my duties in this House I shall be having further meetings later today.

Maastricht Treaty

Mr. Allen : To ask the Prime Minister if he will list the sections of the Maastricht treaty which are subject to declarations or protocols concerning particular member states, and the other provisions of the treaty which do not apply to all member states, giving the names of the member states concerned in each case.

The Prime Minister : On entry into force, all the provisions of the Maastricht treaty on European union will apply to all member states, subject to relevant protocols concerning individual member states detailed below. The protocols agreed at Maastricht will become an integral part of the treaty of Rome under article 239 and will have equal legal force. Those referring to particular member states are as follows. The protocol on "the acquisition of property in Denmark" and the protocol "annexed to the Treaty of European Union and to the Treaties establishing the European Communities" relate to Denmark and Ireland respectively : the first applies to all provisions of the EC Treaties, the second to these and the provisions of the Treaty on European Union. The protocols on "Denmark", "certain provisions relating to the United Kingdom", and "certain provisions relating to Denmark" all make clear the treaty articles to which they refer. The protocols on "Portugal" and "France" are designed to preserve the interest-free credit facility afforded to the Azores and Maderia by the Banco de Portugal and France's privilege of monetary emission in its overseas territories and sole entitlement to determine the parity of the CFP franc.

Acts adopted under the protocol and social policy expressly shall not apply to the United Kingdom.

The declarations agreed by the member states and adopted at the time of signature of the treaty are not part of the treaty and do not have that legal status. Two refer to the positions of named member states, that on "monetary relations with the Republics of San Marino, the Vatican City and the Principality of Monaco" (France and Italy) and that on "the Directive of 24 November 1988 (Emissions)" (Spain and Portugal).

Environmental Guide

Mr. Llew Smith : To ask the Prime Minister which will be the lead Department to ensure effective implementation of the Department of the Environment's publication, "Green Rights and Responsibilities : A Citizen's Guide to the Environment", issued in February.

The Prime Minister : The green rights and responsibilities guide was part of the citizens charter initiative. Similar guides were published in Wales and Scotland. The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland is considering the issue of a separate version. The Department of the Environment is responsible for developing the citizens charter in relation to environmental services in consultation with interested Departments.

Privy Council

Mr. Allen : To ask the Prime Minister if he will take steps towards the abolition of the Privy Council.

The Prime Minister : No.

Nuclear Weapons

Mr. Flynn : To ask the Prime Minister if he will make it his policy to discuss methods to enhance the control of the proliferation of nuclear weapons during his meeting with the United States Secretary of State on 22 May.

The Prime Minister : We frequently discuss prevention of nuclear proliferation with American colleagues at all levels. I shall be discussing a number of foreign and security policy issues with Mr. Baker on 22 May.

Gulf War

Mr. Tony Banks : To ask the Prime Minister, pursuant to his oral answer of 12 May, Official Report, column 494, if he will state what representations at the highest level, and to whom, were made regarding the deaths of British soldiers in the Gulf ; and which British officials made the representations.

The Prime Minister : As I indicated in my answer to the hon. Member on 12 May at column 494, my right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State for Defence, during his visit to Washington last week, drew the attention of Mr. Cheney to a letter from the families. Throughout the last 15 months the British Government have maintained close contact with the United States Administration at all levels about this tragic incident.

Mr. Tony Banks : To ask the Prime Minister what plans he has to deliver a protest to the United States Administration at the decision not to require United States pilots to give evidence or be examined in respect of the deaths of British soldiers killed by friendly fire in the gulf war.

The Prime Minister : I refer the hon. Member to the answer that I gave to the right hon. Member for Islwyn (Mr. Kinnock) on 19 May at columns 142-43.