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1994 - PMQT Written Answers 14th July 1994

Below is the text of the written answers relating to Prime Minister's Question Time from 14th July 1994.


PRIME MINISTER:

Engagements

Mr. Harry Greenway : To ask the Prime Minister if he will list his official engagements for Thursday 14 July.

Sir Peter Tapsell : To ask the Prime Minister if he will list his official engagements for Thursday 14 July.

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 the House, I shall be having further meetings later today.


Intelligence Service

Sir John Hunt : To ask the Prime Minister if he will indicate the extent to which following the passing of the Intelligence Services Act, the Government are prepared to make available to the House information on the activities of the security and intelligence agencies.

The Prime Minister : This Government have taken a series of significant steps in its policy of greater accountability and openness, wherever possible, in security and intelligence matters. All three security and intelligence agencies are avowed and have now been put on a statutory basis. The figure for the aggregate expenditure of the agencies is published annually. In addition, the expenditure, administration and policy of all three agencies will be subject to scrutiny by a committee of Parliamentarians--the Intelligence and Security Committee.

It is important to draw a line between proper accountability for the agencies and the continued need for secrecy regarding operational matters. Successive Governments have refused to provide information on the operations of the security and intelligence agencies, including matters which will fall within the scrutiny of the Intelligence and Security Committee. Comment on these matters, either by what is or is not said, could have a bearing on the effectiveness of the agencies, and the safety of their staff and those who co-operate with them. I made clear to the House on 6 May 1992-- Official Report, column 65, that the Government will maintain this policy.


Ex-service People (Welfare)

Mr. Alfred Morris : To ask the Prime Minister if he will be meeting representatives of the Royal British Legion to discuss the approval by the House on 1 July of the resolution on the welfare of ex-service people; and what representations he has had from the Legion in regard to a meeting.

The Prime Minister [holding answer 13 July 1994] : We welcome continuing close contact with the Royal British Legion and other service organisations. A request for a meeting has been received form the Royal British Legion and is being considered at present.