The Rt. Hon. Sir John Major KG CH

Prime Minister of Great Britain and Northern Ireland 1990-1997

1996Prime Minister (1990-1997)

PMQT Written Answers – 15 January 1996

Below is the text of the written answers relating to Prime Minister’s Question Time from 15th January 1996.



Nuclear Materials (Exports)

Mr. Simpson: To ask the Prime Minister, pursuant to his answer of 11 December, Official Report, column 473, if he will place in the Library a copy of the guidelines of the nuclear suppliers group.

The Prime Minister: A copy will be placed in the Library shortly.



Mr. Cox: To ask the Prime Minister if he will make it his policy to support the application by Cyprus for membership of the European Union if there has not been a settlement on the division of Cyprus before the application is discussed.

The Prime Minister: We welcome the prospect of Cypriot membership of the EU. We want to see the whole island join, on the basis of a bizonal, bicommunal federation. The prospect of accession provides an opportunity which the United Kingdom and its EU partner’s are determined to use to facilitate the search for a settlement.


Sport on Television

Mr. Grocott: To ask the Prime Minister whether the policy on sport on television contained in the letter from the Under-Secretary of State to the hon. Member for The Wrekin dated 19 December 1995 is now being reviewed by the Prime Minister.

The Prime Minister: As my hon. Friend made clear, the Government’s position is that sporting bodies should in general be free to dispose of their broadcasting rights in the interests of their sport. I am aware of public debate on this issue; and we are keeping it under close review.


Mobile Phones

Mr. William Ross: To ask the Prime Minister how many mobile telephones were supplied to the Department of the Lord Privy Seal and Leader of the House of Lords in each of the last eight years; and in each of those years how many different suppliers were involved.

The Prime Minister: A mobile telephone was purchased for the office of my right hon. and noble Friend in 1993, from one supplier, and two were purchased in 1994, from another.


Sport (National Body)

Mr. Spearing: To ask the Prime Minister what consultations he has had, or intends to have with (a) the Sports Council and (b) governing bodies of individual sports, concerning his proposal to establish a national academy or institute of sport; and if he intends promotion of wider participation in all sporting activity to be one of its principal objectives.

The Prime Minister: I made clear my policy on the British academy of sport in the policy statement “Sport: Raising the Game”. The Sports Council is now consulting widely on what the structure and content of the academy might be. A copy of the council’s consultation paper was placed in the Library of the House, and the closing date for responses is 31 January.

The British academy of sport will be the top of a sporting ladder involving schools, clubs and further and higher education institutions, and other sport’s centres, and will enable all those who wish to participate in sport to do so at as high a level as their abilities allow.



Mr. David Porter: To ask the Prime Minister what plans he has to raise fisheries at the intergovernmental conference; what factors led to him formulating these proposals; and if he will make a statement.

The Prime Minister: The common fisheries policy is not on the agenda of the intergovernmental conference. The IGC will be concerned with treaty change rather than the content of particular policies. We will continue to work for the improvement in the operation of the CFP in the appropriate fora.


Dr. al-Masari

Mr. Winnick: To ask the Prime Minister if he will place in the Library all the written representations made by the Saudi authorities over the presence in the United Kingdom of Dr. al-Masari; and what was the response of the Government.

The Prime Minister: It is not my normal practice to do so.

Mr. Winnick: To ask the Prime Minister on how many occasions and on what dates he was asked directly or indirectly, formally or otherwise by the Saudi authorities about the presence in the United Kingdom of Dr. al-Masari; and what response he gave on each occasion.

The Prime Minister: The presence and activities of Dr. al-Masari in the United Kingdom have been raised by the Saudi authorities on a number of occasions. The Saudi’s have been told that Her Majesty’s Government disapprove of Dr. al-Masari’s activities, and that he would be treated strictly in accordance with United Kingdom and international law.


Severe Weather (Glasgow)

Mr. David Marshall: To ask the Prime Minister if he will visit those areas of Glasgow his Department estimates to be worst affected by the recent severe weather conditions.

The Prime Minister: I have no plans to do so. My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Scotland, and his colleagues have already made a series of visits to water authority headquarters, including Glasgow, to meet the staff and hear at first hand about the handling of the problems created by record low temperatures and the thaw over the holiday period. Disruption was kept to a minimum and questions of hardship are being addressed as speedily as possible. My right hon. Friend has established a working party to report on general lessons.



Mr. Tony Banks: To ask the Prime Minister what is his policy on the recommendation for knighthoods of lords mayor of the City of London.

The Prime Minister: Such recommendations are considered in the same way as other recommendations for honours.


10 Downing Street (Functions)

Mr. Speller: To ask the Prime Minister (1) how many functions at 10 Downing Street since November 1990 have been at the expense of the Conservative party;

(2) what guidelines are provided to the organisers of fund-raising events held at 10 Downing Street in aid of political parties.

The Prime Minister: Ministers under this and previous Administrations have been allowed–at their own or party expense–to host non-official or party receptions or functions in Downing Street. All catering, staff and other direct expenses must be met by the organisers of the event. Appropriate arrangements are required for security clearance.

Mr. John Spellar: To ask the Prime Minister (1) how many functions to raise money for political parties have been held in 10 Downing Street since November 1990;

(2) how many functions to raise money for political parties were held in 10 Downing street between January 1980 and November 1990.

The Prime Minister: Under this and previous Administrations, a variety of functions have been held at No. 10 Downing Street where the costs have been met by political parties. The purpose of such functions is not a matter for the Government, but I can confirm that since November 1990, there have been no functions at No. 10 Downing Street at which funds have been raised for political parties, or for which tickets have been sold for the benefit of political parties.