The Rt. Hon. Sir John Major KG CH

Prime Minister of Great Britain and Northern Ireland 1990-1997

1991Prime Minister (1990-1997)

PMQT Written Answers – 21 February 1991

Below is the text of the written answers relating to Prime Minister’s Question Time from 21st February 1991.




Mr. Harry Greenway : To ask the Prime Minister if he will list his official engagements for 21 February.

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.


The Gulf

Mr. Wilson : To ask the Prime Minister (1) if he will place in the Library a copy of the translated text on which he based his initial response to the statement issued by the Iraqi Government on 15 February; (2) when he received an expert translation from the original of the statement put forward by the Iraqi Government on 15 February ; and if he will arrange for it to be placed in the Library.

The Prime Minister : We received a copy of the full BBC translation of the Iraqi statement during the early afternoon of 15 February. This proved to be the same in all major respects as the English translation issued later by the Iraqi Government. Arrangements have been made for a copy of both texts to be placed in the Library of the House.


Norwegian Prime Minister

Mr. Flynn : To ask the Prime Minister what proposals were made by his Norwegian counterpart during their recent meeting ; and what response he made.

The Prime Minister : I had discussions with Mrs. Brundtland on 13 February 1991 which covered a range of issues including developments in the Baltics, Europe and the Gulf.



Mr. Allen : To ask the Prime Minister if he will make a statement on Her Majesty’s Government’s progress in the last 10 years on achieving a co-ordinated policy for reducing hypothermia.

The Prime Minister : There has been a significant overall decline in the levels of excess winter mortality (the difference between the number of deaths in the quarter from January to March and the quarter from July to September) between 1979 (47,311 deaths) and 1989 (23,853 deaths). In only a very small number of these was hypothermia identified as the underlying cause: 166 in 1989, plus an additional 209 cases where it was a contributory factor.

While there is clearly a correlation between excess mortality and winter weather, the exact causes of increased deaths in winter are extremely complex. Factors include diet, alcohol intake, smoking, clothing (especially dressing appropriately when going out of doors in cold weather) and exercise, as well as adequate warmth in the home. The need for further research in this area is being investigated by the Medical Research Council.

The improved figures in recent years are no doubt due in part to the progress we have been able to achieve through the collaborative efforts of Government, the statutory services and the voluntary sector, in the provision of community health and personal social services, as well as to the more general improvements in housing, social security benefits and overall standards of living.


Arms Register

Mr. Madden : To ask the Prime Minister what is the policy of Her Majesty’s Government towards the establishment by the United Nations of a register of arms ; and if he will make a statement.

The Prime Minister : We are playing a full part in the United Nations study group set up to look at ways and means of promoting transparency in international transfers of conventional weapons, including the possibility of establishing a universal and non-discriminatory United Nations register. It is hoped that a report will be made to the United Nations Secretary-General later this year.