The Rt. Hon. Sir John Major KG CH

Prime Minister of Great Britain and Northern Ireland 1990-1997

1995Prime Minister (1990-1997)

PMQT Written Answers – 20 March 1995

Below is the text of the written answers relating to Prime Minister’s Question Time from 20th March 1995.




Mr. Tam Dalyell: To ask the Prime Minister what representations he has received from Sir Charles Powell about the western response to the destruction of Pan Am 103 over Lockerbie.

The Prime Minister: None.


Terrorist Organisations (Disarming)

Rev. Martin Smyth: To ask the Prime Minister when a Minister first intimated publicly that the Government’s position on disarming terrorist organisations had changed to allow Ministers to discuss the possibility and modality of disarming.

The Prime Minister: The Government’s line regarding dialogue with Sinn Fein and the decommissioning issue has been consistent throughout. It is important not to confuse the issues of ministerial participation in exploratory dialogue and Sinn Fein participation in inclusive talks.

We have always made it clear that, in judging the right time for ministerial involvement, we have to be clear that Sinn Fein is willing to address all necessary issues and that progress has been made in having serious and substantive exploration of them. Ministers need to be clear that, if and when they take part, constructive discussion, particularly in achieving substantial progress on the decommissioning of arms, would be facilitated and accelerated by their joining the dialogue.

But, as a matter of principle and political reality, Sinn Fein cannot be admitted into an inclusive political talks process until substantial progress has been made on the decommissioning of weapons. This is exactly the point my right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland made in Belfast on 14 December last year.


Public Holidays

Sir David Steel: To ask the Prime Minister what is his policy in respect of the entitlement of employees of the NHS to time off on the national holiday planned for 8 May; and if he will make it his policy that the status of the employers within the health service will have no bearing upon employee entitlement to public holidays.

The Prime Minister: It is the Government’s policy that the national holiday on 8 May will be observed by all national health service employers in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, instead of the customary bank holiday on May 1. In recognition of the different traditions regarding bank holidays in Scotland, it will be for NHS employers in Scotland to decide whether or not to give staff a holiday on 8 May.

Entitlement to bank and public holidays for NHS staff employed on national terms and conditions is governed by an agreement of the General Whitley Council.


Royal Family (Publicity Services)

Mr. Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Prime Minister what was the expenditure for each year since 1984 in support of the royal family in respect of publicity services; and if he will provide a breakdown between different members of the royal family.

The Prime Minister [holding answer 27 March 1995]: Expenditure by COI on publicity services for the royal household for each year since 1984-85 is as follows:

1984-85 £182,000

1985-86 £172,000

1986-87 £181,000

1987-88 £205,000

1988-89 £183,000

1989-90 £375,000

1990-91 £292,000

1991-92 £318,000

1992-93 £237,000

1993-94 £290,000

Further information is not available in the form requested.