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1994 - PMQT Written Answers 3rd November 1994

Below is the text of the written answers relating to Prime Minister's Question Time from 3rd November 1994.


PRIME MINISTER:

Media and Broadcasting

Mr. Allen: To ask the Prime Minister which individual or institution will receive from the President of the EU Parliament the resolution of the EU Parliament on media ownership.

The Prime Minister: The President of the European Parliament will submit the resolution on the Commission Green Paper " Pluralism and Media Concentration on the Internal Market " to the Commission and the Council.


Book Purchase

Mr. Llew Smith: To ask the Prime Minister (1) if he will obtain for the 10 Downing street library, a copy of a recently published book details of which have been supplied to him; and if he will seek clarification from the United States Government regarding the references to it therein;

(2) if he will instigate an investigation into matters in the letter from the hon. Member for Blaenau Gwent on 26 October.

The Prime Minister: I have not seen the book referred to. If I have anything to add at a later stage, I will write to the hon. Member.


The Guardian Newspaper

Mr. Tony Banks: To ask the Prime Minister when the Cabinet Secretary first knew of the alleged use of House of Commons notepaper by The Guardian newspaper to obtain information about the hotel bill of the right hon. Member for Thanet, South (Mr. Aitken); when the Prime Minister was informed; and what steps he took to bring the matter to the attention of the House authorities.

The Prime Minister: The matter first came to the attention of my right hon. Friend, the Member for Thanet, South following the publication of an article in The Guardian on 10 May 1994; he reported it to me and the Cabinet Secretary on 11 May 1994.

My right hon. Friend considered raising a complaint immediately but decided not to pursue the matter at that time. What has since been revealed is that the forgery was part of a concerted attempt to cover up collusion.


Engagements

Mr. Harry Greenway: To ask the Prime Minister if he will list his official engagements for Thursday 3 November.

Sir Peter Tapsell: To ask the Prime Minister if he will list his official engagements for Thursday 3 November.

The Prime Minister: I will be presiding at a meeting of the Cabinet and having meetings with ministerial colleagues and others.


Departmental Property

Mr. Byers: To ask the Prime Minister what properties are owned or leased by his Office for the use of Ministers; what was the total running cost for each property for the latest year available broken down into (a) furniture and fittings, (b) maintenance, (c) staffing, including the number of butlers, cooks and housekeepers, (d) food and hospitality and (e) other costs; what is the estimated value of each property; and how many times in the latest year the property was stayed in overnight by a Minister.

The Prime Minister: None.


Spencer Stuart Consultants

Mr. Byers: To ask the Prime Minister how many contracts his Department or Government agencies responsible to his Department have entered into with Spencer Stuart consultants in the last two years.

The Prime Minister: So far as I am aware, none.


Police Finances

Mr. Michael: To ask the Prime Minister which Department of State is responsible for (a) setting and (b) publishing standard spending assessments regarding police force areas in (i) England and (ii) Wales.

The Prime Minister: The Department of the Environment for England, and the Welsh Office for Wales, are responsible for setting and publishing the standard spending assessments for all local authorities.

In England, there is a distinct component of the SSA for police; this is prepared in discussion with the Home Office. In Wales, there is no such distinct component, but the SSAs for county councils include provision for the police service.


Nolan Committee

Mr. Llew Smith: To ask the Prime Minister if allegations of illegal donations to the election funds of political parties are to be brought to the attention of Lord Nolan's committee on the standards of conduct in public life.

The Prime Minister: I refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave to the hon. Member for Meirionnyddd Nant Conwy (Mr. Llwyd) on 31 October 1994, Official Report, column 911.

Mr. Llew Smith: To ask the Prime Minister what remuneration will be received by each member of the Nolan committee in regard to their time commitments; what expenses are to be made available to members of the Committee; for what duration each committee member is appointed; and from what budget administrative and support resources for the Nolan committee will be drawn.

The Prime Minister: I will write to the hon. Member.


Lobbying Organisations

Mr. Meacher: To ask the Prime Minister (1) on what occasions in the past two years he has acceded to requests from former Ministers to meet or otherwise contact lobbying companies; and what guidance he gives to former Ministers as to what services they may offer to such companies;

(2) what lobbying organisations he has met over the last year; and on what dates he met representatives of each organisation.

The Prime Minister: I will write to the hon. Member.


Ministers (Remunerated Employment)

Mrs. Roche: To ask the Prime Minister which Ministers pursue remunerated employment outside their ministerial duties; and if he will list in each case the employment, how much time is spent on it, and what financial gain the Minister receives from it.

The Prime Minister: I will write to the hon. Member.


Member for Norfolk, South

Mr. Wilson: To ask the Prime Minister (1) what advice the right hon. Member for Norfolk, South (Mr. MacGregor), while acting as Secretary of State for Transport gave to the British Railways Board in connection with the employment of Hill Samuel to provide advice on its disposal programme; and on what date;

(2) pursuant to his answer of 31 October, Official Report, column 914, if he will now state the date on which the right hon. Member for Norfolk, South (Mr. MacGregor) indicated his intention to leave the Government;

(3) if Messrs Hill Samuel paid pension contributions on behalf of the right hon. Member for Norfolk, South (Mr. MacGregor) during his period of ministerial office or any part thereof; and if he will make a statement.

The Prime Minister: I will write to the hon. Member.


Council of Europe

Mr. Duncan: To ask the Prime Minister what changes he has made to the composition of the United Kingdom delegation to the 1994 session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.

The Prime Minister: My hon. Friend, the Member for Poole (Mr. Ward), has resigned as a full member of the delegation, following his appointment as my parliamentary private secretary, and has been replaced by my hon. Friend, the Member for Reading, West (Sir A. Durant), who is currently a substitute member. My hon. Friend, the Member for Sheffield, Hallam (Sir I. Patnick), will be appointed as a substitute member of the delegation in place of my hon. Friend, the Member for Reading, West. These changes take effect from today.


Al Yamamah Agreement

Mr. Llew Smith: To ask the Prime Minister (1) if he will ensure that Mr. Christopher Prentice, a Foreign Office diplomat working at the British embassy in Washington in the mid-1980s, is interviewed about the Yamamah deal.

(2) pursuant to his answer to the hon. Member for Workington (Mr. Campbell-Savours) of 25 October, Official Report, column 520, regarding the Al Yamamah agreement, if he will set out the nature of the errors to which he refers.

The Prime Minister: I will write to the hon. Member.