Below is the text of the written answers relating to Prime Minister’s Question Time from 16th April 1991.
Q9. Mr. Shersby : To ask the Prime Minister if he will make it his policy to continue the deployment of HMS Endurance in the south Atlantic including South Georgia and Antarctica; and if he will make a statement on the replacement of the present vessel by the mid-1990s
The Prime Minister : Endurance will return from her current deployment in the south Atlantic in May, which is the end of the Antarctic summer. Studies into the best way of fulfilling the role currently undertaken by Endurance are continuing.
Mr. Dalyell : To ask the Prime Minister what requests Her Majesty’s Government have had for air cover from anti-Saddam forces in (a) northern Iraq and (b) southern Iraq.
The Prime Minister : We have received a number of representations requesting the coalition forces in the Gulf to prevent the Iraqi air force from flying missions. Security Council resolution 688 demands that the Iraqi Government should end their repression of their own people. We are working urgently to create safe havens for Iraqi refugees. The United States has warned Iraqi aircraft not to fly north of the 36th parallel.
Mr. Dalyell : To ask the Prime Minister what discussions he has had with the United States Government about a permanent (a) United States, (b) United States/British and (c) coalition presence in Iraq.
The Prime Minister : We have no intention of establishing a permanent coalition presence in Iraq. Our recent contacts with the Americans have focused on the need for urgent humanitarian aid to Iraqi refugees both in the north and south of the country. We shall continue to maintain close contacts with the United States on the way ahead.
Mr. Dalyell : To ask the Prime Minister, pursuant to his oral answer to the hon. Member for Devon, North (Mr. Speller) of 14 March, Official Report, column 1095, what discussions he has had with the allies on the subject of the use of chemical weapons in Iraq.
The Prime Minister [holding answer 15 April 1991] : The use of chemical weapons by Iraq is a matter of great concern and has been discussed on many occasions with our allies. We have no firm evidence that such weapons were used during or after the Gulf conflict. At our instigation United Nations Security Council resolution 687, which has been accepted by the Iraqi Government, sets out the United Nations terms for the destruction of Iraq’s chemical weapons capability and affirms that grave consequences would follow any use by Iraq of such weapons.