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1996 - PMQT Written Answers 13th February 1996

Below is the text of the written answers relating to Prime Minister's Question Time from 13th February 1996.


PRIME MINISTER:

Departmental Publications

Dr. Wright: To ask the Prime Minister which of his Department's administrative manuals and internal guidance are now made public; and which remain private.

The Prime Minister: For these purposes my office is part of the Cabinet Office. I refer the hon. Member to the reply given by my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Secretary, Office of Public Service, on 12 February 1996.


Scott Inquiry

Mr. Llew Smith: To ask the Prime Minister what was the final date on which (a) a Minister and (b) a civil servant delivered information to Lord Justice Scott for his inquiry.

The Prime Minister: The Government have been in correspondence with Sir Richard Scott's team throughout the period of the inquiry. The Cabinet Office was last asked to provide documents and information to the inquiry on 22 January.

Mr. Smith: To ask the Prime Minister what arrangements have been made for civil servants whose actions are discussed by Lord justice Scott to receive copies of his report before its official publications on 15 February.

The Prime Minister: The Government are in discussion with the inquiry about this.

Mr. Smith: To ask the Prime Minister how many pages of evidence were provided by his office to the Scott inquiry.

The Prime Minister: My office and the Cabinet Office have provided 6,197 pages of evidence to the Scott inquiry. This figure does not include correspondence between my office or the Cabinet Office and the inquiry or evidence supplied to the inquiry by individual witnesses.

Mr. Robin Cook: To ask the Prime Minister if he (a) has discussed and (b) has authorised his Ministers to discuss media presentation of the Scott inquiry report with (i) newspaper proprietors, (ii) newspaper editors and (iii) governors of the BBC.

The Prime Minister [holding answer 6 February 1996]: The arrangements agreed by the Government with Sir Richard Scott do not permit anyone outside Government to have access to the report before publication, nor to have the contents of the report disclosed to them. I have made it clear that those arrangements must be adhered to. The only exception at present agreed is that the spokesmen of the leading Opposition parties should have access to the report some hours before publication in accordance with the precedents for weighty reports of this nature. The preparation of the Government's response to the report has been and will be conducted in accordance with those arrangements. Any changes would be made only after consultation with Sir Richard Scott.


Higher Education Institutions

Mr. Bryan Davies: To ask the Prime Minister if he will list each occasion on which he has visited (a) a British university, and (b) another institution of higher education in each of the last five years; and what was the purpose of the visit in each case.

The Prime Minister: I have visited a range of education establishments and discussed a variety of issues over the past five years.


Engagements

Mr. Harry Greenway: To ask the Prime Minister if he will list his official engagements for Tuesday 13 February.

Sir Peter Tapsell: To ask the Prime Minister if he will list his official engagements for Tuesday 13 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.


Munitions Dumping

Mr. Donohoe: To ask the Prime Minister which Government Department has responsibility for responding to accidents caused by the dumping of munitions in the Beaufort's dyke area.

The Prime Minister: The response to any particular incident would, in the first instance, be a matter for the relevant emergency services. Any associated departmental responsibility would be determined by the circumstances of the particular incident.