The Rt. Hon. Sir John Major KG CH

Prime Minister of Great Britain and Northern Ireland 1990-1997

1994Prime Minister (1990-1997)

PMQT Written Answers – 21 January 1994

Below is the text of the written answers relating to Prime Minister’s Question Time from 21st January 1994.



Mr. Gerry Adams

Dame Angela Rumbold : To ask the Prime Minister if a response has yet been made to the letter he received from Mr. Gerry Adams dated 7 January; and if he will make a statement.

The Prime Minister : I received an unsigned letter on Mr. Adams’s headed notepaper, dated 7 January 1994, last week. I have placed in the Library a copy of that letter and of a reply from my private secretary which was sent on 20 January. Mr. Adams seeks to open issues for renegotiation by pointing back to a position which he asserts the Irish Government put forward in June last year. The joint declaration of 15 December was the result of many months of discussion between the United Kingdom and Irish Governments. It is a fair and balanced statement of constitutional principles and political realities, which safeguard the interests and aspirations of both sides of the community. As the Taoiseach and I have made clear, there can be no question of renegotiation of the joint declaration.


Back to Basics

Mr. Simon Hughes : To ask the Prime Minister what are the implications of the Government”s “Back to Basics” policy for his office during 1994.

Mr. Llew Smith : To ask the Prime Minister if he will make a statement on the scope and effectiveness of his “Back to Basics” social policy.

Mr. Rendel : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what working definition of “back to basics” he uses; and what he has done in the past three months to implement the policy.

The Prime Minister : “Back to basics” is intended to ensure that Government policies are based firmly on the common sense values of the British people and, in particular, that they encourage individual responsibility. The “back to basics” policy is especially important in such areas as education, law and order, and the provision of public services, but it applies across a range of other Government policies as well.



Mr. Llew Smith : To ask the Prime Minister if he will set out the Departments to which the Paymaster-General has been attached since 1979.

The Prime Minister : The Departments to which the Paymaster-General has been attached are listed.

Date and Department to which responsible

April 1976 to May 1979 – Department of Education and Science

May 1979 to January 1981 – None

January 1981 to September 1981 – None

September 1981 to June 1983 – None

June 1983 to September 1984 – Not applicable : post vacant

September 1984 to September 1985 – None

September 1985 to June 1987 – Department of Employment

June 1987 to July 1989 – Her Majesty’s Treasury

July 1989 to July 1990 – Her Majesty’s Treasury

July 1990 to November 1990 – Her Majesty’s Treasury

November 1990 to April 1992 – Northern Ireland Office

April 1992 to date – Her Majesty’s Treasury

Note : Except where noted, responsibility for Customs and Excise held by other Treasury Ministers.

Included responsibility for Customs and Excise.

Responsibility for Customs and Excise passed to the Economic Secretary in 1988.

General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade

Dr. Lynne Jones : To ask the Prime Minister what are the procedures which apply in (a) the United Kingdom Parliament and (b) the European Parliament on the ratification of the Uruguay round of the GATT.

The Prime Minister : The Government intend to present a White Paper to Parliament on the results of the Uruguay round later this year. The agreements will also be laid before Parliament, as with other international agreements. The European Community decision approving the results of the round will also be subject to United Kingdom parliamentary scrutiny in the usual way. The European Parliament is likely to be consulted, but the procedure used will depend on the treaty provisions which apply.



Mr. Morley : To ask the Prime Minister whether he intends that all Secretaries of State should have a duty to comply with the requirements of the European Union directive 92/43 EEC on the conservation of natural habitats of wild fauna and flora; and if he will make a statement.

The Prime Minister : The Secretaries of State will have duties, both general and specific, as appropriate and commensurate with the requirements of the directive.


International Year of the Family

Mr. Austin Mitchell : To ask the Prime Minister what steps the Government are taking to encourage and promote the International Year of the Family.

The Prime Minister : I refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave to the hon. Member for Eccles (Miss Lestor) on 6 December 1993, Official Report, columns 29-30.