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1995 - PMQT Written Answers 26th January 1995

Below is the text of the written answers relating to Prime Minister's Question Time from 26th January 1995.


PRIME MINISTER:

British Association of Sheep Exporters

Mr. Morley: To ask the Prime Minister what meetings with the British Association of Sheep Exporters he has had since 1994.

The Prime Minister: None.


Lockerbie

Mr. Dalyell: To ask the Prime Minister if he will make a statement on documents made available in the United States of America following the ending of the Pan Am insurers' appeal to the Supreme Court in relation to the loss of the airliner over Lockerbie; and if he will make a statement.

The Prime Minister: The document in question quotes a source relying on

"second and third party information"

and stating that the former Iranian interior minister paid $10 million to have the Lockerbie bombing carried out. Allegations to this effect were first made early in the investigation; they were examined at the time by the competent authorities, together with a great deal of other often contradictory material, but no evidence has been found to substantiate them. My noble and learned Friend the Lord Advocate remains satisfied that the evidence supports the charges against the two accused and that there is no evidence to establish that other persons or nations were involved.


Engagements

Mr. Harry Greenway: To ask the Prime Minister if he will list his official engagements for Thursday 26 January.

Sir Peter Tapsell: To ask the Prime Minister if he will list his official engagements for Thursday 26 January.

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.


Next Steps Agencies

Mr. Straw: To ask the Prime Minister, pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for South Hams (Mr. Steen) of 16 January, Official Report, column 275, if he will place in the Library a list of the offices of Government Departments and next steps agencies in the west country and Bristol.

The Prime Minister: A list of Government Departments and next steps agencies which have offices in the west country and Bristol has been placed in the Library of the House.


Regional Offices

Mr. Straw: To ask the Prime Minister how many Government Departments and agencies have regional offices in each of the standard regions of England; and how many people are so employed in each region.

The Prime Minister: Twenty-seven Government Departments and 50 next steps agencies have offices in the economic planning regions of England.

Information on the number of civil service employed in each region, including their agencies, is contained in "Civil Service Statistics" 1994 edition, table 3, a copy of which is in the Library.


Countryside Council for Wales

Mr. Morgan: To ask the Prime Minister what representations he has received concerning the impact of reduced activity by the Countryside Council for Wales on the commitment arising form the biodiversity convention under the Rio treaty; and if he will make a statement.

The Prime Minister: I have received two such representations. The Government remain committed to the convention on biological diversity signed in Rio de Janeiro in June 1992.


Channel Islands

Mr. Winnick: To ask the Prime Minister (1) what discussions have taken place with the authorities on the Channel Islands regarding the 50th anniversary of the defeat of Nazi Germany;

(2) if he will make arrangements as part of the 50th anniversary of the defeat of Nazi Germany for memorials to be put up in the Channel Islands in memory of those who were deported and died as a result of the German occupation;

(3) if it is intended for him and the heads of Government invited for the 50th anniversary of the defeat of Nazi Germany to pay homage in Alderney to the memory of those who were used as slave labour and died in the camps.

The Prime Minister: As internally self-governing dependencies of the Crown, the Channel Islands are themselves taking the lead in organising celebrations to mark the 50th anniversary of their liberation from war-time occupation, on 9 and 10 May. I am pleased to say that, following discussions between the relevant authorities here and in the islands, HRH the Prince of Wales will represent Her Majesty the Queen at the celebrations, and units of our armed services will take part in them.

It is for the authorities and people of each island to decide on the setting up of memorials. In both Jersey and Guernsey there are already plaques commemorating those who died during the second world war, including deportees, and in Alderney there is a long-standing memorial dedicated to the memory of those prisoners who died in labour camps on the island, at which an inter-denominational service is held annually. The states of Jersey and Guernsey have each commissioned public memorials of the 50th anniversary of the liberation.

It would not be feasible for me and the heads of state or Government invited to the commemorations of the 50th anniversary of VE Day in London on 6 and 7 May to visit Alderney.


Nursery Education

Mr. Spearing: To ask the Prime Minister what assessment he has made of the effect on his policy for the expansion of nursery education of the Government policy on the enactment of the Nursery Education (Assessment of Need) Bill of Session 1993 4; and to which provisions of the Bill Her Majesty's Government remains opposed.

The Prime Minister: There is no need for the provisions of the Nursery Education (Assessment of Need) Bill. We are already committed to providing, over time, a pre-school place for all four year-olds whose parents wish to take it up. We want to promote choice and diversity by building on the existing wide range of providers, including the private and voluntary sectors.