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 – 16 December 1994

Below is the text of the written answers relating to Prime Minister’s Question Time from 16th December 1994.



Oleg Gordievsky

Mr. David Shaw: To ask the Prime Minister if he will publish extracts from the notes of the Security Service debriefing of the Soviet defector Oleg Gordievsky to the extent that such extracts (a) do not threaten current national security, (b) add to public knowledge of the ways in which the Soviet state sought to obtain information from British people about the United Kingdom with a view to breaking its security and (c) reveal the main United Kingdom providers of such information.

The Prime Minister: No.


Ministerial Train Journeys

Mr. MacShane: To ask the Prime Minister how many train journeys for one hour’s duration or more he has made in Britain in 1994 in the course of his official duties.

The Prime Minister: I have made one such journey in the past 12 months.


NHS Expenditure

Mr. Campbell-Savours: To ask the Prime Minister what assessment he has made of whether the answers given to the hon. member for Workington on the cost per head of NHS spending in respect of Scotland, 7 December, Official Report, columns 278 79, Northern Ireland, 5 December, Official Report, column 47, and England and Wales, 1 December, Official Report, column 830, are comparable calculations based on comparable data.

The Prime Minister: The answers given to the hon. Member reflect the different structure of the national health service in each of the countries concerned, and the latest year for which figures on expenditure are available.


Ministerial Travel

Mr. Byers: To ask the Prime Minister what criteria he uses in deciding whether it is appropriate for a spouse to accompany a Minister on Government duties abroad.

The Prime Minister: Public interest, as stated in paragraph 74 of “Questions of Procedure for Ministers”, a copy of which is available in the Library of the House.


Council of Europe

Mr. John Marshall: To ask the Prime Minister if he will announce the composition of the United kingdom delegation for the 1995 ordinary session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.

The Prime Minister: The 1995 ordinary session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe will be opened in Strasbourg on 30 January 1995. The delegation from the United Kingdom for the session will consist of 19 members of the Conservative party, 15 members of the Labour party and two members from the minority parties. The appointments of representatives and substitutes have been made on the basis of nominations by the parties concerned, in accordance with the resolution of this House on 22 May 1992, Official Report, column 682, and of the House of Lords on 18 June 1992, Official Report columns 290 92.

The same delegation will be representing the United Kingdom Parliament at the Assembly of the Western European Union, which next meets in Paris in June 1995.

Representatives from the Government Benches will be:

My Noble Friend, the Lord Finsberg – who will continue to act as leader of both delegations.

My hon. Friends the Members for:

Warwick and Leamington (Sir D. Smith)

Calder Valley (Sir D. Thompson)

Ashford (Sir K. Speed)

Medway (Dame P. Fenner)

Lewes (Mr. T. Rathbone)

Bournemouth, East (Mr. Atkinson)

Ravensbourne (Sir J. Hunt)

Reading, West (Sir A. Durant)

My noble Friend Lord Newall

Representatives from the Labour Party will be:

The hon. Members for:

Wentworth (Mr. Hardy)

Tooting (Mr. Cox)

Wansbeck (Mr. Thompson)

Newham, North-West (Mr. Banks)

Don Valley (Mr. Redmond)

Manchester, Central (Mr. Litherland)

The Noble Lord Kirkhill

The representative from the minority parties will be:

The hon. Member for Inverness, Nairn and Lochaber (Sir R. Johnston)

The following substitutes have been appointed to act as necessary on behalf of the delegates.

From the Government benches:

My hon. Friends, the hon. Members for:

Sheffield, Hallam (Sir I. Patnick)

Norfolk, North (Sir R. Howell)

Brighton, Kemptown (Sir A. Bowden)

Wellingborough (Sir P. Fry)

Southampton, Test (Mr. Hill)

Bridlington (Mr. Townsend)

Newark (Mr. Alexander)

and my noble Friends the Baroness Hooper and the Earl of Dundee

From the Labour Party

The hon. Members for:

Glasgow, Pollok (Mr. Dunnachie)

Glasgow, Provan (Mr. Wray)

Newport, East (Mr. Hughes)

Easington (Mr. Cummings)

Leigh (Mr. Cunliffe)

Leicester, South (Mr. Marshall)

Birmingham, Hodge Hill (Mr. T. Davis)

The noble Baroness Gould of Potternewton

From the minority parties:

The Noble Lord Mackie of Benshie.


Civil Service

Dr. Goodson-Wickes: To ask the Prime Minister if he will make a statement on the management of the home civil service.

The Prime Minister: The Government plan, in the light of the review of the Treasury’s activities, that those central civil service management functions that remain after delegation to Departments should be transferred to the Minister with responsibility for the civil service with effect from 1 April 1995. The functions which it proposes to transfer include responsibility for senior civil service pay; policy on civil service recruitment, retirement and redundancy and the central management of the principal civil service pension scheme; and residual central responsibilities for civil service personnel management, industrial relations, conditions of service and allowances, and the collection of civil service manpower statistics. It is envisaged that the Treasury will undertake a last round of national pay negotiations in 1995 and carry through the remaining delegations to Departments up to 1 April 1996. The Treasury’s pension benefit calculation work at Basingstoke will be taken over by the Paymaster agency.

These changes, and the delegation of most civil service management functions to Departments, will not affect the Treasury’s role in relation to public expenditure, including that on public sector pay. The Government propose to lay before Parliament the necessary transfer of functions order under the Ministers of the Crown Act 1975.