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1993 - PMQT Written Answers 2nd February 1993

Below is the text of the written answers relating to Prime Minister's Question Time from 2nd February 1993.


PRIME MINISTER:

India

Ms. Walley : To ask the Prime Minister what discussions he had during his visit to India concerning human rights abuses in Kashmir; and if he will make a statement.

The Prime Minister : I raised British concerns about human rights in Kashmir with the Indian Prime Minister. He assured me of his Government's commitment to respect human rights and determination to take firm action against wrongdoers.


Democracy

Mr. Allen : To ask the Prime Minister if he will bring forward proposals for an elected second chamber.

The Prime Minister : No.

Mr. Allen : To ask the Prime Minister if he will make a statement on the Government's progress towards improving democracy in the United Kingdom since 1979.

The Prime Minister : We have implemented policies approved by the electorate in four general elections.


Lord Chancellor's Powers

Mr. Allen : To ask the Prime Minister if he will bring forward a transfer of functions statutory instrument under the Ministers of the Crown Act 1975 to transfer the legal powers of the Lord Chancellor to a Secretary of State for Justice in a Department of Justice; and if he will make a statement.

The Prime Minister : No.


Transfer of Functions Orders

Mr. Allen : To ask the Prime Minister on how many occasions since 1975 Her Majesty's Government have used transfer of functions orders to abolish, create or amalgamate Government Departments.

The Prime Minister : Twelve. They are :

1976/1775 Established the Department of Transport

1979/907 Created the Office of Arts and Libraries

1979/1451 Dissolved the Ministry of Overseas Development

1981/207 Office of Arts and Libraries merged with Department of Education and Science

1981/1670 Civil Service Department changed into Management and Personnel Office

1983/879 Office of Arts and Libraries became a separate Office

1983/1127 Departments of Trade and Industry amalgamated into Department of Trade and Industry

1987/2039 Management and Personnel Office changed into Office of the Minister for the Civil Service

1988/1843 Department of Health and Social Security split into Department of Health and Department of Social Security

1992/1311 Department of National Heritage established

1992/1314 Department of Energy dissolved


Family Policy

Ms. Walley : To ask the Prime Minister what action he proposes to co-ordinate family policy across those Government Departments actively concerned with family policy.

The Prime Minister : We already have proper and adequate co-ordination of family policy across Government Departments. There is frequent consultation between Departments about a range of issues which touch upon the family. In addition an interdepartmental working party--the family law and administration working party--oversees a rolling programme of work directed at improving family law and business.


Moscow (Communications)

Mr. Llew Smith : To ask the Prime Minister if he will make a statement on the discussions between his security officials and Russian officials over the installation of a secure communications line to Moscow during his recent visit to India.

The Prime Minister : Given the close proximity of the two visits and the fact that we were both staying in the President's residence, it was necessary to discuss Mr. Yeltsin's communications requirements with both the Indians and the Russians. Arrangements acceptable to all concerned were agreed.


Intergovernmental Conference

Mr. Allen : To ask the Prime Minister what proposals he has for submission to the 1996 intergovernmental conference.

The Prime Minister : It is too early to say. The first priority is to ratify the Maastricht treaty and put it into practice. Then we will be able to build on the gains won at Maastricht--subsidiarity, inter- governmental co-operation, codification of competences--in the years between now and the next treaty revision.


Engagements

Sir Peter Tapsell : To ask the Prime Minister if he will list his official engagements for Tuesday 2 February.

Mr. Harry Greenway : To ask the Prime Minister if he will list his official engagements for Tuesday 2 February.

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