Written questions and answers

Written questions allow Members of Parliament to ask government ministers for information on the work, policy and activities of government departments.

Historical written answers can be found in Hansard.

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Unique Identifying Number – Every written question in the House of Commons has a UIN per Parliament. In the House of Lords each written questions has a UIN per parliamentary session.
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(Brighton, Kemptown)
[N]
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Named Day

'Named day' questions only occur in the House of Commons. The MP tabling the question specifies the date on which they should receive an answer. MPs may not table more than five named day questions on a single day.

Asked on: 10 March 2020
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Guyana: Press Freedom
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what steps he has taken to help ensure that freedom of the press is maintained in Guyana.
A
Answered by: Wendy Morton
Answered on: 13 March 2020

The British Government is fully committed to promoting freedom of expression and freedom of the press in Guyana. Indeed, Guyana has a variety of print and online media who express divergent views. We believe that media freedom is vital for healthy societies everywhere and that journalists ought to be able to investigate and report without undue interference. The UK and Guyana have a close dialogue on a number of bilateral and global issues of mutual interest, including on freedom of expression and freedom of the press. On 10 March, the Foreign Secretary released a public statement calling for the preservation of free, fair and credible elections, and offered assistance to ensure that a credible election outcome is produced.

Q
(Brighton, Kemptown)
Asked on: 21 February 2020
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
China: Uighurs
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent assessment his Department has made of the human rights implications of the ongoing imprisonment of Uighur Muslims in China.
A
Answered by: Nigel Adams
Answered on: 03 March 2020

We will continue to ensure that our human rights concerns are directly raised with Chinese authorities. We also regularly raise our serious concerns about the human rights situation in Xinjiang at the UN.

We are aware of credible reports of widespread cultural, religious, and economic discrimination against Uyghurs in Xinjiang. During China's last Universal Periodic Review, we called on China to halt the practice of detaining individuals who have not been lawfully charged, tried, and convicted for a criminal offence in extra-legal detention facilities and immediately release individuals detained under such circumstances. We also raised concerns about arbitrary detention in our 'Item 4' statement at the 42nd session of the UN Human Rights Council in September 2019.

Most recently, the UK Ambassador to China raised our concerns with Vice Foreign Minister Qin Gang on 24 December 2019. Further, On 29 October 2019 at UN Third Committee, UK read out a joint statement signed by 22 others drawing attention to the human rights violations and abuses in Xinjiang and calling on China to uphold its obligations to respect human rights. On 17 September 2019, at the 42nd session of the UN Human Rights Council, we reiterated calls for UN experts to be granted unfettered access to Xinjiang and raised our concerns on arbitrary detention

Q
(Brighton, Kemptown)
Asked on: 21 February 2020
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
China: Uighurs
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what representations he has made to his Chinese counterpart on ensuring that Uighur Muslims are allowed access to the same public facilities as non-Muslim Chinese people.
A
Answered by: Nigel Adams
Answered on: 03 March 2020

We will continue to ensure that our human rights concerns are directly raised with Chinese authorities. We also regularly raise our serious concerns about the human rights situation in Xinjiang at the UN.

We are aware of credible reports of widespread cultural, religious, and economic discrimination against Uyghurs in Xinjiang. During China's last Universal Periodic Review, we called on China to halt the practice of detaining individuals who have not been lawfully charged, tried, and convicted for a criminal offence in extra-legal detention facilities and immediately release individuals detained under such circumstances. We also raised concerns about arbitrary detention in our 'Item 4' statement at the 42nd session of the UN Human Rights Council in September 2019.

Most recently, the UK Ambassador to China raised our concerns with Vice Foreign Minister Qin Gang on 24 December 2019. Further, On 29 October 2019 at UN Third Committee, UK read out a joint statement signed by 22 others drawing attention to the human rights violations and abuses in Xinjiang and calling on China to uphold its obligations to respect human rights. On 17 September 2019, at the 42nd session of the UN Human Rights Council, we reiterated calls for UN experts to be granted unfettered access to Xinjiang and raised our concerns on arbitrary detention.

Q
(Brighton, Kemptown)
Asked on: 21 February 2020
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
China: Uighurs
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what progress he has made in his discussions with his Chinese counterpart on allowing Uighur Muslims aged under-18 the right to attend a mosque.
A
Answered by: Nigel Adams
Answered on: 03 March 2020

We will continue to ensure that our human rights concerns are directly raised with Chinese authorities. We also regularly raise our serious concerns about the human rights situation in Xinjiang at the UN.

We are aware of credible reports of widespread cultural, religious, and economic discrimination against Uyghurs in Xinjiang. During China's last Universal Periodic Review, we called on China to halt the practice of detaining individuals who have not been lawfully charged, tried, and convicted for a criminal offence in extra-legal detention facilities and immediately release individuals detained under such circumstances. We also raised concerns about arbitrary detention in our 'Item 4' statement at the 42nd session of the UN Human Rights Council in September 2019.

Most recently, the UK Ambassador to China raised our concerns with Vice Foreign Minister Qin Gang on 24 December 2019. Further, On 29 October 2019 at UN Third Committee, UK read out a joint statement signed by 22 others drawing attention to the human rights violations and abuses in Xinjiang and calling on China to uphold its obligations to respect human rights. On 17 September 2019, at the 42nd session of the UN Human Rights Council, we reiterated calls for UN experts to be granted unfettered access to Xinjiang and raised our concerns on arbitrary detention.

Q
(Brighton, Kemptown)
Asked on: 21 February 2020
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
China: Uighurs
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what representations he has made to his Chinese counterpart on the release of Uighur Muslims from training centres after they have been identified as non-threats by authorities.
A
Answered by: Nigel Adams
Answered on: 03 March 2020

We will continue to ensure that our human rights concerns are directly raised with Chinese authorities. We also regularly raise our serious concerns about the human rights situation in Xinjiang at the UN.

We are aware of credible reports of widespread cultural, religious, and economic discrimination against Uyghurs in Xinjiang. During China's last Universal Periodic Review, we called on China to halt the practice of detaining individuals who have not been lawfully charged, tried, and convicted for a criminal offence in extra-legal detention facilities and immediately release individuals detained under such circumstances. We also raised concerns about arbitrary detention in our 'Item 4' statement at the 42nd session of the UN Human Rights Council in September 2019.

Most recently, the UK Ambassador to China raised our concerns with Vice Foreign Minister Qin Gang on 24 December 2019. Further, On 29 October 2019 at UN Third Committee, UK read out a joint statement signed by 22 others drawing attention to the human rights violations and abuses in Xinjiang and calling on China to uphold its obligations to respect human rights. On 17 September 2019, at the 42nd session of the UN Human Rights Council, we reiterated calls for UN experts to be granted unfettered access to Xinjiang and raised our concerns on arbitrary detention.

Q
(Brighton, Kemptown)
Asked on: 21 February 2020
Home Office
Uighurs: Immigration
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps the Government has taken to ensure that Uighur Muslims are allowed to enter the UK if they possess a valid UK visa.
A
Answered by: Kevin Foster
Answered on: 03 March 2020

All UK visa applications are considered on their individual merits and in line with UK immigration rules and guidance with the onus on the applicant to demonstrate they satisfy the immigration rules.

A Uighur Muslim individual with a UK visa follows the same entry procedures as all other visa holders.

After obtaining a visa all individuals need to establish their eligibility for admission at the UK border. Nationals of non-EEA countries must seek Leave to Enter in accordance with Immigration Rules from a Border Force officer. Ordinarily passenger passports or national identity cards are checked electronically at the border, but there are also times when extra checks are conducted at the discretion of Border Forcer entry officers.

Q
(Brighton, Kemptown)
Asked on: 21 February 2020
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Brazil: Indigenous Peoples
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of the effect of the increased issuance of mining licences in Brazil on Brazil's indigenous people.
A
Answered by: Wendy Morton
Answered on: 02 March 2020

We are monitoring the situation. We regularly discuss issues affecting indigenous peoples with Brazilian authorities, and will continue to do so. The UK is committed to promoting and defending the human rights of indigenous communities in Brazil.

Q
(Brighton, Kemptown)
Asked on: 21 February 2020
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Brazil: Prisons
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, whether he has made representations to his Brazilian counterpart on the (a) overcrowding of, (b) understaffing at and (c) lack of resources available to prisoners in prison facilities in that country.
A
Answered by: Wendy Morton
Answered on: 02 March 2020

We are aware of significant concerns about prison conditions in Brazil. We have raised our concerns with the Brazilian authorities and will continue to do so.

Q
(Brighton, Kemptown)
Asked on: 21 February 2020
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Brazil: Freedom of Expression
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what representations he is making to his Brazilian counterpart on (a) freedom of expression and (b) freedom of the press in that country.
A
Answered by: Wendy Morton
Answered on: 02 March 2020

The British Government is fully committed to promoting freedom of expression and freedom of the press. We believe that media freedom is vital for healthy societies everywhere and that journalists ought to be able to investigate and report without undue interference. The UK and Brazil have a close dialogue on a number of bilateral and global issues of mutual interest, including on freedom of expression and freedom of the press.

Q
(Brighton, Kemptown)
Asked on: 21 February 2020
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Saudi Arabia: Arms Trade
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, whether he has made representations to his Brazilian counterpart on the exports of cluster munitions to Saudi Arabia by that country.
A
Answered by: Wendy Morton
Answered on: 02 March 2020

The UK signed the Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM) in 2008 and acts in full accordance with its obligations. As part of this, the UK regularly uses its interventions at the Convention's meetings to call on all States not party to the Convention to accede without delay. The UK and Brazil have a close dialogue on a range of global issues of mutual interest. The UK has raised the importance of Brazil's accession to the CCM with Brazilian authorities and funded projects in Brazil to strengthen the public debate around this issue.

Q
(Brighton, Kemptown)
Asked on: 21 February 2020
Department for Transport
Railways: Surveys
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking in response to the finding by the Office for Statistics Regulation published on 8 January 2020 that the National Rail Passenger Survey does not reflect passengers' experience of rail travel in the UK.
A
Answered by: Chris Heaton-Harris
Answered on: 02 March 2020

The Department welcomes the Office for Statistics Regulation report and will work with Transport Focus to help it meet the recommendations set out in the report.

Transport Focus has published its plan to address the OSR recommendations, available here: https://www.transportfocus.org.uk/research-publications/publications/action-plan-for-nrps/

Grouped Questions: 19039 | 19042
Q
(Brighton, Kemptown)
Asked on: 21 February 2020
Department for Transport
Railways: Surveys
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, with reference to the finding by the Office for Statistics Regulation published on 8 January 2020 that there is a substantial risk of misinterpretation and misuse of the results of the National Rail Passenger Survey (NRPS) by using a journey-based approach, what steps his Department plans to take to review how the results of the NRPS are used in the (a) award and (b) review processes for rail franchising.
A
Answered by: Chris Heaton-Harris
Answered on: 02 March 2020

The Department welcomes the Office for Statistics Regulation report and will work with Transport Focus to help it meet the recommendations set out in the report.

Transport Focus has published its plan to address the OSR recommendations, available here: https://www.transportfocus.org.uk/research-publications/publications/action-plan-for-nrps/

Grouped Questions: 19038 | 19042
Q
(Brighton, Kemptown)
Asked on: 21 February 2020
Department for Transport
Railways: Surveys
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, for what reasons some train operating companies are provided with the results of the National Rail Passenger Survey three weeks in advance.
A
Answered by: Chris Heaton-Harris
Answered on: 02 March 2020

As set out in the Code of Practice for Statistics, a small number of individuals can be given access to official statistics before their public release; these are limited to those involved in the production of the statistics and the preparation of the release, and for quality assurance purposes.

Q
(Brighton, Kemptown)
Asked on: 21 February 2020
Department for Transport
Railways: Surveys
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, for what reasons his Department has not implemented the proposal by Transport Focus for continuous rail passenger interviewing.
A
Answered by: Chris Heaton-Harris
Answered on: 02 March 2020

Whilst Transport Focus provided the Department with a proposal for a move to continuous National Rail Passenger Survey (NRPS) fieldwork in 2017, the costs of the options provided were prohibitive at that time.

The rail industry does not rely solely on the NRPS and since 2017, the Department has been working with industry to develop a wider range of evidence to understand and improve rail performance, including more continuous measurement of passenger views and experience.

Q
(Brighton, Kemptown)
Asked on: 21 February 2020
Department for Transport
Railways: Surveys
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of the Office for Statistics Regulation’s conclusion that Transport Focus should extend engagement on National Passenger Rail Passenger Survey (NRPS) to a broader range of users to ensure that different user perspectives are fed into the future development of the NRPS statistics.
A
Answered by: Chris Heaton-Harris
Answered on: 02 March 2020

The Department welcomes the Office for Statistics Regulation report and will work with Transport Focus to help it meet the recommendations set out in the report.

Transport Focus has published its plan to address the OSR recommendations, available here: https://www.transportfocus.org.uk/research-publications/publications/action-plan-for-nrps/

Grouped Questions: 19038 | 19039
Q
(Brighton, Kemptown)
Asked on: 21 February 2020
Department for Transport
Railways: Surveys
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will take steps to ensure that the National Rail Passenger Survey collects data on passenger support for the presence of on-train and station staff.
A
Answered by: Chris Heaton-Harris
Answered on: 02 March 2020

The National Rail Passenger Survey (NRPS) collects information on passenger satisfaction with rail services, including satisfaction with various aspects of the service currently delivered by staff. The NRPS would not be the appropriate survey to ask about support for the presence of staff given it is focussed on specific journeys, rather than general attitudes to rail. However, this is an important area, and Transport Focus has itself carried out other research on this topic, for example, https://www.transportfocus.org.uk/research-publications/publications/passenger-attitudes-towards-rail-staff/.

The NRPS collects data on the experiences of disabled rail passengers via a special module of questions every Autumn wave. This data is available to view and download from the Transport Focus data hub on the Transport Focus website. My Rt Hon Friend the Secretary of State has been clear that he wants the railways to lead the way on accessible travel.

The NRPS doesn’t collect data on any rail non-users (people who do not currently travel by rail). The Department, however, is exploring the option of collecting experience and satisfaction data on rail non-users, including disabled rail non-users, as part of its wider programme of research on passenger experience.

Grouped Questions: 19044
Q
(Brighton, Kemptown)
Asked on: 21 February 2020
Department for Transport
Railways: Surveys
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will take steps to ensure that the National Rail Passenger Survey includes questions on the accessibility of railways for disabled people that (a) travel by rail and (b) do not currently travel by rail.
A
Answered by: Chris Heaton-Harris
Answered on: 02 March 2020

The National Rail Passenger Survey (NRPS) collects information on passenger satisfaction with rail services, including satisfaction with various aspects of the service currently delivered by staff. The NRPS would not be the appropriate survey to ask about support for the presence of staff given it is focussed on specific journeys, rather than general attitudes to rail. However, this is an important area, and Transport Focus has itself carried out other research on this topic, for example, https://www.transportfocus.org.uk/research-publications/publications/passenger-attitudes-towards-rail-staff/.

The NRPS collects data on the experiences of disabled rail passengers via a special module of questions every Autumn wave. This data is available to view and download from the Transport Focus data hub on the Transport Focus website. My Rt Hon Friend the Secretary of State has been clear that he wants the railways to lead the way on accessible travel.

The NRPS doesn’t collect data on any rail non-users (people who do not currently travel by rail). The Department, however, is exploring the option of collecting experience and satisfaction data on rail non-users, including disabled rail non-users, as part of its wider programme of research on passenger experience.

Grouped Questions: 19043
Q
(Brighton, Kemptown)
Asked on: 21 February 2020
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Brazil: Rainforests
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what representations he has made to his Brazilian counterpart on the deforestation of the Amazon rainforest.
A
Answered by: Wendy Morton
Answered on: 28 February 2020

The UK has been dedicated to addressing the issue of deforestation in Brazil for a long time. Since 2012, the UK has invested nearly £154 million in a number of International Climate Finance programmes in Brazil aimed at tackling deforestation, preventing forest fires, and implementing the Forest Code. The Prime Minister also raised the environment with President Bolsonaro during a phone call on 15 January. The UK will continue to monitor the situation in the Amazon closely and raise these critical issues in our ongoing dialogue with Brazil.

Q
(Brighton, Kemptown)
Asked on: 24 February 2020
Ministry of Defence
Army: Recruitment
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what the career destinations were of recruits enlisted at the Army Foundation College but not completing phase two training in each year since 2015.
A
Answered by: James Heappey
Answered on: 27 February 2020

Information is not held about the future career paths of those, including those enlisted at the Army Foundation College, who do not complete phase two training and so leave the Army.

Q
(Brighton, Kemptown)
Asked on: 21 February 2020
Department for International Development
Brazil: Health Services
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what steps the Government is taking to support improved (a) healthcare and (b) delivery of healthcare services to indigenous women in Brazil.
A
Answered by: Wendy Morton
Answered on: 26 February 2020

The UK Prosperity Fund’s Global Better Health Programme aims to strengthen the health system in Brazil through technical collaboration. In particular, the programme focuses on addressing the growing burden of non-communicable diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer; and driving improvements in quality of care to reduce infection, injury or premature death. This will directly benefit women and poorer groups who are often particularly affected as a result of these health challenges. The programme in Brazil is currently in the inception stage, as part of which we will consider with our country partners the likely impact of the programme on different demographic groups such as indigenous women.

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