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 – 22 July 1991

Below is the text of the written answers relating to Prime Minister’s Question Time from 22nd July 1991.



Greenhouse Gases

Mr. Frank Cook : To ask the Prime Minister what steps have been taken by Her Majesty’s Government to stabilise the concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere to combat global warming.

The Prime Minister : The Environment White Paper (Cm. 1200) sets out the first set of measures to limit the United Kingdom’s carbon dioxide emissions and we will publish a report in the autumn showing how our efforts are being put into practice.


Nuclear Weapons

Mr. Cryer : To ask the Prime Minister if he will make it his policy to raise nuclear non-proliferation with his Chinese counterpart.

The Prime Minister : As a depository state of the nuclear non- proliferation treaty, it is our policy to take every opportunity both to raise the importance of nuclear non-proliferation with all non-parties to the NPT and to lobby them to accede to the NPT as soon as possible.

Mr. Cryer : To ask the Prime Minister what is Her Majesty’s Government’s current assessment of the capability of (a) Israel and (b) Pakistan to make a nuclear weapon.

The Prime Minister : We have no firm evidence either to confirm or to deny rumours that Israel may have a nuclear weapons programme. As regards Pakistan, I refer the hon. Member to the reply my hon. Friend the Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs gave him on 27 February at column 497.

Mr. Flynn : To ask the Prime Minister what recent ministerial meetings have taken place with other depository powers of the non-proliferation treaty; what matters relating to the treaty were discussed; and what future meetings he proposes to hold in 1991.

The Prime Minister : The Government attach great importance to nuclear non-proliferation and the subject is frequently raised during bilateral ministerial meetings with the United States and the Soviet Union. However, no recent ministerial meetings specifically to discuss the NPT have taken place nor are any currently planned. Regular trilateral and bilateral meetings of the depository powers of the NPT take place at official level, most recently in June.


Ministerial Visits

Mr. Graham : To ask the Prime Minister how many Government Ministers have visited Renfrew, West and Inverclyde on official business since 1987; and if he will list the events and the Ministers concerned.

The Prime Minister : The information can be obtained only at disproportionate cost.


Mr. Colin Wallace

Mr. Dalyell : To ask the Prime Minister if he will institute a full review, under the direction of the head of the civil service, of the case of Mr. Colin Wallace with a view to (a) bringing to book those responsible for conspiring to pervert the due process of the Civil Service Appeal Board, (b) ensuring that those responsible for misleading Ministers so as to mislead Parliament are disciplined and (c) that safeguards are put in place to prevent a repetition of these events.

The Prime Minister : No. I do not accept the hon. Member’s description of what occurred. Safeguards are already in place to prevent a repetition of what went wrong.


Army Boards of Inquiry

Mr. John Browne : To ask the Prime Minister if he will bring forward legislation to require Army boards of inquiry in cases which may lead to claims for compensation (a) to provide full discovery of documents to those seeking to prove negligence, (b) to take evidence in person from all relevant witnesses and (c) to recommend ex gratia payments in special circumstances.

The Prime Minister : There are no plans to introduce such legislation.


Migrant Workers

Dr. Godman : To ask the Prime Minister, pursuant to his answer to the hon. Member for Greenock and Port Glasgow on 1 July, Official Report, column 35, when the hon. Gentleman can expect to receive a letter on migrant workers; and if he will place a copy of his letter in the Library.

The Prime Minister : I have replied to the hon. Member today.


Government Expenditure

Mr. Flynn : To ask the Prime Minister what are the sizes of the total committed and target expenditure by Her Majesty’s Government for the next financial year on (a) the environment, (b) overseas aid and (c) defence.

The Prime Minister : Table 4.4 of the statistical supplement (Cm. 1520) sets out the latest plans for central Government expenditure on environmental services, overseas aid and defence in 1992-93. Data on local authority plans for expenditure on environmental services in 1992-93 are not available.


EC Intervention Grain

Mr. Michael : To ask the Prime Minister whether he will make it his policy to press for the grain stored by the EC to be used to combat the plight of people who currently face starvation in Africa.

The Prime Minister : The European Commission is already using substantial quantities of grain drawn from intervention stocks to meet the needs of the special programme of food aid for Africa which was agreed in May. We strongly support this, when appropriate cereals are available and their use is cost-effective. Many surplus commodities held in stock, including cereals such as barley are, however, not generally suitable for use as emergency food aid.


Bank of Credit and Commerce International

Mr. Vaz : To ask the Prime Minister, pursuant to his answer of 17 July, what was the actual date on which he was told of the fraud.

The Prime Minister : I was informed on 28 June.

Mr. Vaz : To ask the Prime Minister, pursuant to his answer of 17 July, what action he took, with regard to BCCI, following the information given to him that there was fraud.

The Prime Minister : The action, following the uncovering of the widespread fraud, was for the Bank of England, using its statutory powers. The Government entirely supported the action they proposed to take.