Below is the text of the written answers relating to Prime Minister’s Question Time from 18th November 1991.
United Nations Environment Conference
Dr. Thomas : To ask the Prime Minister what report has been prepared on progress made at the seminar held on 9 and 10 October, sponsored by the United Kingdom and the United Nations Environment Programme, on the role of United Kingdom non-governmental organisations in the United Nations conference on environment and development to be held in June 1992.
The Prime Minister : The Department of the Environment is currently providing financial assistance through the United Nations Environment Programme-United Kingdom for a series of non-governmental meetings and seminars in preparation for the 1992 United Nations conference on environment and development.
The report on this seminar will be an important contribution to the preparatory process for the conference. The United Nations Environment Programme-United Kingdom committee is currently preparing the report and it should be published by the end of January 1992.
Dr. Thomas : To ask the Prime Minister what plans Her Majesty’s Government intend to put forward at the fourth preparatory committee meeting for the United Nations conference on environment and development to be held early next year.
The Prime Minister : The Government are currently considering their plans for next year’s fourth preparatory committee meeting for the United Nations conference on environment and development.
National Heritage Memorial Fund
Mr. Faulds : To ask the Prime Minister whether he will make it his policy to appoint a woman to succeed Lord Charteris of Amisfield as chairman of the National Heritage Memorial Fund; whether he has received any representations to this effect; and whether he will make a statement.
The Prime Minister : I expect shortly to announce a successor to Lord Charteris of Amisfield, whose term as chairman of the National Heritage Memorial Fund ends on 31 March 1992. I have received confidential advice from a number of quarters, and the final choice will depend on the aptitude and relevant experience of available candidates of either sex.
Museum and Gallery Trustees
Mr. Faulds : To ask the Prime Minister whether he will take powers to remove from office trustees of national museums and galleries who have been convicted of serious offences; and whether he will make a statement.
The Prime Minister : I have no plans at present to take such powers.
Mr. Grylls : To ask the Prime Minister if he will make it his policy to veto any extension of EC competence into economic policy and economic advice.
The Prime Minister : The Government support the co-ordination of member states’ economic policies. A process of multilateral surveillance of national economic policies has been established under the 1990 convergence decision, under which the Council of Ministers can publish non-binding recommendations directed at particular member states. The Government have argued in the intergovernmental conference on economic and monetary union that treaty provisions must be consistent with the principle that member states should retain primary responsibility on economic policy.
Mr. Grylls : To ask the Prime Minister if he will make it his policy to veto any extension of EC competence into the field of social security.
The Prime Minister : Some limited EC competence in the field of social security already exists in article 51 of the current treaty of Rome. The Government see no case for any further extension.
Women Cabinet Members
Mr. Simon Hughes : To ask the Prime Minister if he will make it his policy to have women in his Cabinet.
The Prime Minister [holding answer 15 November 1991] : I look forward to appointing a woman to my Cabinet from amongst the strong group of women Ministers in the Government. There are excellent candidates among the six Ministers of State.