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 – 15 June 1995

Below is the text of the written answers relating to Prime Minister’s Question Time from 15th June 1995.



Scott Inquiry

Mr. Winnick: To ask the Prime Minister what communications he has received from Lord Justice Scott over the evidence he gave to the inquiry into arms for Iraq; on what dates the communications were sent to him; and what were the dates of his replies.

The Prime Minister: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to the hon. Members for Wallsend (Mr. Byers) and for Thurrock (Mr. Mackinlay) on 12 June 1995, Official Report, column 373.

Mr. Byers: To ask the Prime Minister how many civil servants in his Department are currently working on matters related to the Scott inquiry; if a dedicated unit has been established; and what is the estimated cost to date of civil servants dealing with matters relating to the Scott inquiry.

The Prime Minister: Within the Cabinet Office, the number of civil servants working exclusively on matters relating to Sir Richard Scott’s inquiry is five, all of whom are members of a dedicated unit. The cost of the unit since December 1992 has been approximately £400,000.


Former Prime Ministers (Payments)

Mr. McMaster: To ask the Prime Minister what payments are available to former Prime Ministers; which of these cease immediately upon their death; which are phased out or continued for a fixed or indefinite period to allow their bereaved spouses to deal with duties following their death; and if he will make a statement.

The Prime Minister: Under the provisions of the Ministerial and other Pensions and Salaries Act 1991, former Prime Ministers are entitled to receive payment from the Consolidated Fund of half of the salary payable in respect of the office of the Prime Minister at the time of leaving office. This Act also increased the pensions of then former Prime Ministers to an amount equal to the new pension entitlement of the office of that time.

Payments cease on death, subject to arrangements for spouses and children based largely on the parliamentary pension scheme. On 1 April 1991, an allowance was introduced to assist former Prime Ministers with the continuing heavy burden of office and secretarial costs arising from their special position in public life. The allowance is similar in purpose and amount to the parliamentary office costs allowance but is paid in respect of public and not parliamentary duties. It ceases immediately on death, but a sum equal to one third of the annual amount is made available to the executors of the will to assist with the costs of winding up any office organisation.


Terrorist Prisoners

Dr. Spink: To ask the Prime Minister if he will make it his policy that no terrorist prisoners will be given special treatment in respect of early release; and if he will make a statement.

The Prime Minister: The Government have already stated that prisoners convicted of terrorist offences are not political prisoners and must expect to serve their sentences in accordance with the law.


Royal Family (Official Engagements)

Mr. Mackinlay: To ask the Prime Minister if he will place in the Library the official engagements programmes of members of the royal family who receive funds from the civil list.

The Prime Minister: No.


Parliamentary Questions

Mr. McMaster: To ask the Prime Minister what advice is issued to Ministers by him and/or the Cabinet Office in respect of answering written questions tabled by right hon. and hon. Members which directly relate, appear to relate or which could be construed to relate, to their declared financial interests; and if he will make a statement.

The Prime Minister: I have no reason to believe that guidance is necessary on this matter.

Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Prime Minister, pursuant to his answer of 8 June, Official Report, column 271, regarding parliamentary questions, if he will list the dates on which his answers were subsequently clarified by means of written questions.

The Prime Minister: This is a matter of public record.