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.

Find the latest written questions and answers for the 2017-19 session below. We welcome your feedback on this service.

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UIN

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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Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
[N]
Close

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: 02 July 2019
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
GKN: Kings Norton
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, when he is planning to hold the meeting with GKN Aerospace and the hon. Member for Birmingham Northfield on the future of GKN Aerospace in Kings Norton.
A
Answered by: Andrew Stephenson
Answered on: 08 July 2019

We are currently working with both parties to find the earliest mutually convenient date and time for the meeting to take place.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
Asked on: 25 June 2019
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Animal Welfare: Sentencing
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will bring forward legislative proposals to increase the maximum sentence available under the Animal welfare (Service Animals) Act 2006.
A
Answered by: David Rutley
Answered on: 03 July 2019

I am pleased to say that the legislation needed to implement the increase in the maximum penalty for animal cruelty offences - the Animal Welfare (Sentencing) Bill – had its First Reading in this House on 26 June. The Bill will increase the custodial penalty for causing unnecessary suffering to an animal, as well as other animal cruelty offences, from 6 months’ imprisonment to 5 years’ imprisonment.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
Asked on: 03 June 2019
Department for Transport
Model Aircraft: Registration
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of (a) the threat to air safety posed by Control Line model aircraft and (b) the potential merits of exempting those model aircraft from mandatory registration under the 2019 Drone Registration Scheme.
A
Answered by: Michael Ellis
Answered on: 11 June 2019

The Department keeps all risks to aviation safety under constant review. With regards to the upcoming Unmanned Aircraft Operator Registration and Education Scheme, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has explored a range of options for model aircraft users. Exemption from the scheme is not a viable option as it would compromise the Government’s overarching objective to increase accountability and safety awareness for all unmanned aircraft users.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
Asked on: 17 May 2019
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Yemen: Military Intervention
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, with reference to the bombings at (a) a Sanaa school on 7 April 2019, (b) a Save the Children-supported hospital on 26 March 2019 and (c) other bombings of civilian infrastructure in Yemen, what discussions he has had with his Saudi counterpart on the timeframe for the conclusion of the Saudi-led Coalition’s investigations into those incidents; and whether the results of those investigations will be made publicly available.
A
Answered by: Dr Andrew Murrison
Answered on: 28 May 2019

We are deeply concerned by reports of an alleged airstrike on a petrol station at a hospital facility on 26 March 2019. Our officials have been in contact with Save the Children, who fund the hospital, about this alleged incident and have raised this matter with the Saudi-led Coalition, who have announced an investigation.

We are also deeply concerned at reports of an explosion at a warehouse near two schools in Sa’wan on 7 April 2019. We have raised the incident with the Coalition who have announced an investigation in line with standard practices. We endorse the statement of the Special Envoy of the UN Secretary General of 9 April and continue to call on all parties to the conflict in Yemen to exercise restraint, comply fully with international humanitarian law and implement the Stockholm Agreement without delay in order to improve the humanitarian situation in Yemen.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
Asked on: 17 May 2019
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Yemen: Military Intervention
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what diplomatic steps he is taking to help ensure that deconflicted (a) hospitals and (b) schools in Yemen are protected from bombing.
A
Answered by: Dr Andrew Murrison
Answered on: 28 May 2019

We have been clear that all parties to the conflict in Yemen must comply with international humanitarian law. We continue to call on all parties to exercise restraint and implement the Stockholm Agreement without delay in order to improve the humanitarian situation in Yemen

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
Asked on: 08 May 2019
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Yemen: Peace Negotiations
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to ensure the implementation of the Stockholm agreement by all parties to the war in Yemen.
A
Answered by: Dr Andrew Murrison
Answered on: 15 May 2019

The UK has played a central role in diplomatic efforts to seek a peaceful solution to the conflict in Yemen. Most recently, the Foreign Secretary hosted the Yemen Quad in London on 26 April, bringing together representatives from the US, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), where members discussed the next steps in the UN-led peace process and how best to support the efforts of UN Special Envoy Martin Griffiths. We will continue discussions with partners on how the UN Security Council can support the UN Special Envoy Martin Griffiths on the political process and improving the humanitarian situation, central to which is the full implementation of agreements reached during the Stockholm talks. We welcome reports that Houthis forces have begun their withdrawal from the ports of Hodeidah, Saleef and Ras Issa and await independent verification of this by the UN.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
Asked on: 08 May 2019
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Yemen: Military Intervention
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, if his Department will take steps to establish an independent investigation into the bombing of a de-conflicted hospital in Kitaf, Yemen on 26 March 2019.
A
Answered by: Dr Andrew Murrison
Answered on: 14 May 2019

We are deeply concerned of reports of an alleged airstrike on a petrol station at a hospital facility on 26 March 2019. UK officials have been in contact with Save the Children, who fund the hospital, about this alleged incident and have raised this matter with the Saudi-led Coalition, who have announced an investigation.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
[N]
Close

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: 08 April 2019
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
GKN: Birmingham
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the effect of the planned closure of the GKN Aerospace at Kings Norton, Birmingham on the local economy; and what discussions he has had with representatives of that company on that proposed closure.
A
Answered by: Andrew Stephenson
Answered on: 16 April 2019
Holding answer received on 11 April 2019

Following GKN’s notification to employees on 4 April about their intention to undertake a phased closure of their Kings Norton site in Birmingham by 2021, the Secretary of State spoke to Hans Buthker (CEO of GKN Aerospace) on 7 April. He explained that this proposal was the result of an internal strategic review by GKN to help the company secure long-term sustainability that will better position it for future growth.

Mr Buthker stressed GKN’s continued commitment to the UK, evidenced by the significant new investment the company is making including, as part of this proposal, at Luton and Portsmouth and in a Global Technology R&D Centre at Filton. This comes on top of GKN’s further announcement last week for £300 million in new investment to ramp up its activities in the fast-growing electric vehicle market.

This is a commercial decision for GKN Aerospace and not in contravention of the deed of covenant agreed between BEIS and Melrose. GKN Aerospace have confirmed the site will remain operational in a phased capacity until 2021, and all affected employees will be supported in seeking new employment within and outside of GKN Aerospace. GKN Aerospace announced they will be increasing overall investment in its other UK sites, with Luton and Portsmouth becoming technology centres of excellence. GKN Aerospace invested record levels into R&D in 2018, including a new world-class Global Technology Centre opening in Bristol in 2020, hosting 300 highly skilled engineers.

We appreciate this will be an unsettling time for the 172 employees at Kings Norton and will work closely with the company, and local partners, to make sure that they are supported throughout.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
[N]
Close

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: 09 April 2019
Ministry of Defence
GKN: Birmingham
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, with reference to the 2018 deed of covenant undertakings provided by Melrose Industries, whether he has plans to issue a note of concern in relation to the announcement by GKN Aerospace that it intends to close its Kings Norton plant.
A
Answered by: Stuart Andrew
Answered on: 15 April 2019

As required by the undertakings provided last year, Melrose Industries have notified the Ministry of Defence (MOD) of their intention to relocate Defence work from GKN's Kings Norton site to other GKN sites. The MOD has discussed these proposals with Melrose and is confident that the important work that GKN does for Defence will continue. The MOD understands that there will be no overall reduction in GKN's defence capacity, as the defence work is being moved, not stopped. On that basis there are no plans to issue a note of concern.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
Asked on: 20 March 2019
Department for International Development
Gaza: Reconstruction
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what discussions she has had with the (a) UN, (b) Palestinian Authority and (c) Israeli Government on the (i) 2018 review of the Gaza Reconstruction Mechanism and (ii) implementation of the recommendations of that review.
A
Answered by: Harriett Baldwin
Answered on: 27 March 2019

The UK values the role of the United Nations (UN) in supporting Gaza’s reconstruction following widespread destruction in the 2014 conflict through the Gaza Reconstruction Mechanism (GRM), which helps ensure that essential reconstruction materials reach civilians. Following the joint review of the GRM in 2018 the UN, Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) began implementing the report’s recommendations in January this year. UK officials most recently discussed the review of the GRM and the implementation of its recommendations with the UN in January 2019.

The UK regularly raises movement and access restrictions in Gaza with both the Government of Israel and with the PA. DFID officials most recently raised the review of the GRM and the implementation of the review’s recommendations with the Israeli Government in February 2019. More broadly, restrictions in Gaza were most recently raised with the PA in January 2019. The UK will continue to call on the Israeli government to ease access restrictions further and for Israel and the Palestinian Authority to work together to ensure a durable solution for Gaza.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
Asked on: 20 March 2019
Department for International Development
Palestinians: Textbooks
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, which international partners will take part in the review of books included in the Palestinian Authority's curriculum.
A
Answered by: Harriett Baldwin
Answered on: 26 March 2019

We cannot yet provide further public information on which international partners have joined the independent review. Our international partners are currently concluding their contracting with the service provider, and do not wish to publicise their involvement at this time. Work commissioned by the UK on the inception report has already begun; our timeline for the textbook review remains unchanged and we will publish findings by September 2019. We will inform interested parliamentarians of further details as soon as possible.

The UK government is deeply concerned about allegations of incitement in the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) new curriculum and it has been a priority for the Secretary of State for the Department for International Development to commission an independent, impartial and rigorous review of the PA’s textbooks. We are pleased that after calls by the UK government for international action, a group of international partners - including the UK - will lead a review into the books included in the PA’s pilot curriculum. The PA Minister for Education Sabri Saidam has confirmed that he will engage constructively with the findings of the review, and listen to recommendations.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
[N]
Close

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: 21 March 2019
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Gaza: Death
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what progress he has made in ensuring Israel's investigations into deaths at the Gaza border in 2018 are (a) independent, (b) transparent, (c) balanced, (d) inclusive of international members and (e) published in a timely manner.
A
Answered by: Mark Field
Answered on: 26 March 2019

​The UK fully supports the need for an independent and transparent investigation which establishes the facts about the violence last year in Gaza. We have repeatedly called for such an investigation at the highest levels, as well as in multiple forums including in Parliament in an urgent question on 22 March, and at the UN Security Council. The Prime Minister and former Foreign Secretary raised the issue directly with Prime Minister Netanyahu, stressing the need for an independent investigation, and encouraging urgent action to improve the situation in Gaza. Earlier this week British Embassy officials raised Gaza with the Israeli authorities, highlighting the importance of proportionality, and raising concerns about the volume of live fire against unarmed women, children and medics. We welcome that the Israeli Military Advocate General has recently ordered five criminal investigations which relate to 11 separate instances of Palestinian fatalities during the Gaza border protests. These investigations are ongoing. We will continue to make clear to the Israeli authorities that it is vital their investigations are independent and transparent and that their findings are made public, and importantly, if wrongdoing is found, those that are responsible are held to account.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
[N]
Close

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: 20 March 2019
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Occupied Territories: Demonstrations
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what discussions he has had and on what dates with (a) the United Nations Human Rights Council Commission of Inquiry, (b) the Israeli Government, (c) the Palestinian Authority, and (d) partner countries on the Human Rights Council on the Commission of Inquiry (i) investigation and (ii) report into protests in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.
A
Answered by: Alistair Burt
Answered on: 25 March 2019

We regularly raise our concerns about the situation in Gaza with the Israeli Government and the Palestinian Authority, pressing them on the need for a long-term strategy to improve humanitarian and economic conditions, and reduce movement and access restrictions. I raised Gaza with the Israeli Ambassador to the UK on 30 January, and with the Palestinian Foreign Minister on 4 February. On 18 March, the EU gave an intervention on the UN Human Rights Council Commission of Inquiry, in which we expressed our concern about the high number of Palestinians killed and injured and the use of excessive force including live fire, and condemned violence and provocations against Israel by Hamas and other militant groups.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
[N]
Close

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: 20 March 2019
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Gaza: Demonstrations
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, (a) what discussions he has had and (b) on what dates with the Israeli Government on Israeli investigations into deaths during protests on the Gaza border in 2018.
A
Answered by: Alistair Burt
Answered on: 25 March 2019

We regularly raise our concerns about the situation in Gaza with the Israeli Government and the Palestinian Authority, pressing them on the need for a long-term strategy to improve humanitarian and economic conditions, and reduce movement and access restrictions. I raised Gaza with the Israeli Ambassador to the UK on 30 January, and with the Palestinian Foreign Minister on 4 February. On 18 March, the EU gave an intervention on the UN Human Rights Council Commission of Inquiry, in which we expressed our concern about the high number of Palestinians killed and injured and the use of excessive force including live fire, and condemned violence and provocations against Israel by Hamas and other militant groups.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
[N]
Close

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: 14 March 2019
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Occupied Palestinian Territories: Demonstrations
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what the Government's policy is on the vote at the United Nations Human Rights Council on the report and recommendations of the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the 2018 Protests in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.
A
Answered by: Alistair Burt
Answered on: 19 March 2019

We do not disclose our voting intentions in advance. In May the UK abstained on the UN Human Rights Council resolution calling for a Commission of Inquiry on the basis that the substance of a resolution must be impartial and balanced. Whilst the UK fully supports the need for an independent and transparent investigation into events, it is regrettable the Commission of Inquiry Report does not look comprehensively at the actions of non-state actors such as Hamas. Nevertheless the UK has serious concerns about the manner in which the Israel Defense Forces police non-violent protests and the border areas, including the use of live ammunition.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
[N]
Close

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: 14 February 2019
Department of Health and Social Care
NHS: Drugs
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of trends in the level of the (a) availability of (i) Lossartin, (ii) Furosemide and (iii) Nicarindil and (b) prices beyond the NHS tariff that community pharmacies have been charged by the suppliers of those products since September 2018.
A
Answered by: Steve Brine
Answered on: 19 February 2019

The Department is not aware of issues affecting the availability of losartan, furosemide or nicorandil tablets and can confirm that supplies of these three medicines are currently available. We are aware that there was a short-term supply issue affecting furosemide 20mg and 40mg towards the end of 2018 due to manufacturing delays, but this issue has now been resolved and supplies remain available.

When community pharmacies cannot purchase a medicine at or below the reimbursement price listed in the Drug Tariff, the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (the representative body of pharmacies), drawing on reports they receive from pharmacy contractors, can request the Department to consider setting a concessionary price.

When considering whether to grant a concessionary price, the Department uses market data from suppliers, i.e. manufacturers and wholesalers on prices and stock levels intended for retail pharmacy businesses in England. If granted, a concessionary price applies only to prescriptions dispensed for the month for which it was granted.

From September 2018 onwards, the trends for these generic medicines that have been granted concessionary prices can be seen in the attached tables.

It should be noted that as concessionary prices for February are still in process, no prices have been published yet. More information on the list of concessionary prices granted for each month can be found at the following link:

https://www.nhsbsa.nhs.uk/pharmacies-gp-practices-and-appliance-contractors/drug-tariff/drug-tariff-updates

PQ221587 attached tables (Word Document, 14.56 KB)
Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
[N]
Close

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: 11 February 2019
Department for International Trade
Trade Agreements: Israel
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, pursuant to the Answer of 8 February 2019 to Question 216933, Trade Agreements: Israel, on which borders are the (a) pre-existing agreements and (b) Continuity Agreement agreed in principle between the UK and Israel based.
A
Answered by: George Hollingbery
Answered on: 15 February 2019

The EU-Israel Trade Agreements apply to the State of Israel. The same position is being incorporated into the UK-Israel Agreement. The UK does not recognise the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPTs), including the settlements, as part of the State of Israel. The OPTs are not covered by the current EU-Israel Trade Agreements, nor by the UK-Israel Agreement.

The EU-Palestinian Authority Interim Agreement applies to the territory of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. The same position is being incorporated into the UK-Palestinian Authority Interim Agreement, which is due to be signed in the coming weeks.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
Asked on: 06 February 2019
Department of Health and Social Care
Strokes: Health Services
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how much funding his Department has allocated to the development of a national stroke plan.
A
Answered by: Steve Brine
Answered on: 14 February 2019

Improving care for people who suffer stroke, and preventing strokes, are priorities for the National Health Service as set out in the recently published NHS Long Term Plan. Building on the learning and success of the previous National Stroke strategy, NHS England will work with partners across the system to lead a programme which will drive the next step change in the care stroke patients receive. As well as significant investment in early cardiovascular disease detection and prevention, this will include funding major increases in the number of patients benefitting from potentially life-changing treatment to dissolve or remove blood clots. Further investment in higher intensity models for stroke rehabilitation will ensure patients have the best chance of returning to employment or independence, experiencing reduced disability and improved support for cognitive and psychological need.

Further information on funding will be set out in the implementation framework for the Long Term Plan, due to be published in the spring.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
Asked on: 07 February 2019
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Omar Shakir
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 30 January to Question 212311, whether he has made an assessment of the potential effect of the deportation by Israel of Human Rights Watch country director Omar Shakir on the effectiveness of work to defend human rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territories; and if he will again make representations on the case of Mr Shakir to the Israeli authorities.
A
Answered by: Alistair Burt
Answered on: 14 February 2019

The UK remains concerned about the human rights situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPTs). We have a regular dialogue with the Government of Israel on the implementation of its obligations under international law. We regularly and robustly raise any concerns about Israeli actions and call upon Israeli Government to fully respect the fundamental rights and freedoms of human rights defenders and organisations and to allow them to freely operate in Israel and OPTs.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
Asked on: 07 February 2019
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Jerusalem: Palestinians
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, if he will make representations to the Israeli authorities on the forced eviction of 45 members of the Sabbagh family from their homes in the Sheikh Jarrah district of East Jerusalem.
A
Answered by: Alistair Burt
Answered on: 14 February 2019

We continue to be gravely concerned by the impact of demolitions and evictions on ordinary Palestinians and the viability of a future Palestinian state. Our Ambassador to Israel raised our concerns about evictions in Sheikh Jarrah in East Jerusalem with the Israeli authorities on 29 January. On 21 January, our Consul General in Jerusalem and other EU Heads of Mission visited the home of the Sabbagh family. In a follow-up statement, the EU repeated its strong opposition to Israel’s settlement policy and related actions, including evictions and demolitions, and made clear how such measures were illegal under international law and continued to undermine the viability of a two-state solution. In her intervention at the United Nations Security Council’s open debate on the Middle East on 22 January, the UK Permanent Representative to the UN encouraged Israel not to enforce the eviction notice.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
[N]
Close

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: 11 February 2019
Department for Transport
Seaborne Freight
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what the cost to the public purse has been of (a) due diligence checks and (b) other work carried out by or on behalf of his Department in relation to the Seaborne Freight contract.
A
Answered by: Ms Nusrat Ghani
Answered on: 14 February 2019

For all three freight contracts, the combined costs of external legal, financial and project assurance advice up to the end of December 2018 were approximately £800,000. Subsequent costs up to termination cannot yet be derived as contracts are still live and invoices pending.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
Asked on: 05 February 2019
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Jerusalem: Palestinians
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what representations he has made to his Israeli counterpart on the eviction order issued to the Sabbagh family in East Jerusalem.
A
Answered by: Alistair Burt
Answered on: 13 February 2019

Our Ambassador to Israel raised our concerns about evictions in Sheikh Jarrah in East Jerusalem with the Israeli authorities on 29 January. On 21 January, our Consul General in Jerusalem and other EU Heads of Mission visited the home of the Sabbagh family. In a follow-up statement, the EU repeated its strong opposition to Israel's settlement policy and related actions, including evictions and demolitions, and made clear how such measures were illegal under international law and continued to undermine the viability of a two-state solution. In her intervention at the UN Security Council's open debate on the Middle East on 22 January, the UK Permanent Representative to the UN encouraged Israel not to enforce the eviction notice.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
Asked on: 05 February 2019
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Jerusalem and West Bank: Palestinians
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent assessment he has made of trends in the number and frequency of eviction orders issued to and the forced displacement of Palestinians in (a) East Jerusalem and (b) the West Bank.
A
Answered by: Alistair Burt
Answered on: 13 February 2019

Whilst we have not made any recent assessment of this issue, the Government supports Bedouin communities and Palestinians in Area C of the West Bank and Palestinian communities in East Jerusalem facing demolition or eviction through our legal aid programme. This helps residents challenge decisions in the Israeli legal system. We have repeatedly made clear to the Israeli authorities our serious concern at the increase in demolitions of Palestinian properties in Area C of the West Bank and in East Jerusalem.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
Asked on: 05 February 2019
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Israeli Settlements
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent estimate he has made of the number of Israeli settlers in (a) East Jerusalem and (b) the West Bank.
A
Answered by: Alistair Burt
Answered on: 13 February 2019

There are an estimated 622,670 settlers in the West Bank. This figure is derived from two sources: According to data provided by Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics, at the end of 2017, 413,400 people were living in the settlements of the West Bank, excluding East Jerusalem. According to data provided by the Jerusalem Institute for Israel Studies, the population of the Israeli neighbourhoods in East Jerusalem numbered 209,270 people at the end of 2016.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
Asked on: 06 February 2019
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Middle East: Human Rights
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what assessment he has made of the challenges facing human rights defenders and rights-focused organisations operating in (a) Israel and (b) the occupied Palestinian territories.
A
Answered by: Alistair Burt
Answered on: 13 February 2019

The UK remains concerned about the challenges facing human rights defenders and human rights organisations operating in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories. We continue to urge the Israeli Government to fully respect the fundamental rights and freedoms of human rights defenders and organisations. We have also raised concerns with the Palestinian Authority about the narrowing of space for civil society to operate in the West Bank.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
Asked on: 06 February 2019
Department for International Development
Burma: Internally Displaced People
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what recent estimate she has made of the number of internally-displaced persons in Myanmar in the most recent period for which figures are available; and what assessment she has made of trends in the number of internally-displaced people in Myanmar in the last three years.
A
Answered by: Alistair Burt
Answered on: 13 February 2019

The number of internally displaced people (IDPs) in Burma has increased in the last three years. The UN reports that there are 106,290 displaced people in Kachin and northern Shan states and 127,987 internally displaced persons in Rakhine State. Figures for northern Rakhine are difficult to gather as the Burmese government has restricted access for the UN and other agencies.

The UK provides humanitarian assistance in all these areas, but this is highly limited by government restrictions. The UK Government continues to push for access at every opportunity.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
Asked on: 06 February 2019
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Sri Lanka: Human Rights
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent assessment he has made of progress on Sri Lankan adherence to measures outlined in (a) Resolution 30/1 of the 30th Session of the UNHRC in 2015 and (b) Resolution 34/1 of the 34th Session of the UNHRC in 2017; and if he will make a statement.
A
Answered by: Mark Field
Answered on: 12 February 2019

The UK continues to encourage and support Sri Lanka to deliver the commitments it made to the UN Human Rights Council through Resolutions 30/1 and 34/1. We firmly believe that this is the best framework for establishing truth and to achieve justice and lasting reconciliation.

The UK welcomed the Annual Report of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights on 21 March 2018, which assessed progress made by the Sri Lankan government in the implementation of UN Human Rights Council Resolutions 30/1 and 34/1. This found that the Government of Sri Lanka had taken some steps to address human rights concerns and to introduce more democratic and accountable government. These steps included the return of some military-held civilian land, the establishment of an Office of Missing Persons and the ratification of the Convention on Enforced Disappearances.

However, as I made clear to Foreign Minister Marapana on my visit to Colombo in October 2018, more needs to be done. During my visit, I encouraged greater progress, in particular on national accountability and truth-seeking mechanisms, and the development of new counter-terrorism legislation in line with international human rights standards. I was pleased to see that, following my visit, the Sri Lankan Parliament had passed a bill to establish an Office of Reparations. I look forward to seeing this implemented in the near future.

I continued to press for progress with Sri Lankan Speaker Karu Jayasuriya in January, as the Minister for the Commonwealth and the UN, Lord Ahmad, did with Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera,

Grouped Questions: 217452
Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
Asked on: 06 February 2019
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Sri Lanka: Tamils
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with his Sri Lankan counterpart on the human rights of the Tamil community in that country.
A
Answered by: Mark Field
Answered on: 12 February 2019

The UK continues to encourage and support Sri Lanka to deliver the commitments it made to the UN Human Rights Council through Resolutions 30/1 and 34/1. We firmly believe that this is the best framework for establishing truth and to achieve justice and lasting reconciliation.

The UK welcomed the Annual Report of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights on 21 March 2018, which assessed progress made by the Sri Lankan government in the implementation of UN Human Rights Council Resolutions 30/1 and 34/1. This found that the Government of Sri Lanka had taken some steps to address human rights concerns and to introduce more democratic and accountable government. These steps included the return of some military-held civilian land, the establishment of an Office of Missing Persons and the ratification of the Convention on Enforced Disappearances.

However, as I made clear to Foreign Minister Marapana on my visit to Colombo in October 2018, more needs to be done. During my visit, I encouraged greater progress, in particular on national accountability and truth-seeking mechanisms, and the development of new counter-terrorism legislation in line with international human rights standards. I was pleased to see that, following my visit, the Sri Lankan Parliament had passed a bill to establish an Office of Reparations. I look forward to seeing this implemented in the near future.

I continued to press for progress with Sri Lankan Speaker Karu Jayasuriya in January, as the Minister for the Commonwealth and the UN, Lord Ahmad, did with Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera,

Grouped Questions: 217451
Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
Asked on: 06 February 2019
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
North Korea: Human Rights
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent assessment he has made of the human rights situation in North Korea; and what representations he has made and to whom on that subject.
A
Answered by: Mark Field
Answered on: 12 February 2019

The UK continues to have grave concerns over the human rights situation in North Korea. The Foreign Secretary made clear his strong concerns about freedoms in North Korea at the launch of the review into the Persecution of Christians across the Globe, on 30 January. The British Government raises its concerns over the human rights situation directly with the North Korean authorities and in multilateral fora including the UN Security Council, General Assembly and Human Rights Council. We urge North Korea to use its upcoming Universal Periodic Review in May as a moment to engage in meaningful dialogue on its human rights record.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
[N]
Close

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: 05 February 2019
Department for International Trade
Trade Agreements: Israel
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, if he will place in the Library a copy of the draft UK-Israel agreement that has been agreed in principle for trading arrangements after the UK leaves the EU.
A
Answered by: George Hollingbery
Answered on: 08 February 2019

The UK and Israel have a strong and important trading relationship. However, we do not recognise the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPTs), including the settlements, as part of Israel. The OPTs are not covered by the current EU-Israel Association Agreement, nor by the Continuity Agreement agreed in principle between the UK and Israel.

We are also working to finalise the transition of the current EU Interim Association Agreement with the Palestinian Authority.

We have committed to informing Parliament as soon as agreements are signed with partner countries. The agreement will be laid in Parliament and we will be publishing a full report on trade agreements, once they are signed.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
[N]
Close

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: 05 February 2019
Department for International Trade
Trade Agreements: Israel
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, whether the trade deal agreed in principle between the UK and Israel for trade after the UK leaves the EU announced on 23 January 2019 will continue to distinguish in relevant dealings between the territory of the State of Israel and the territories occupied since 1967.
A
Answered by: George Hollingbery
Answered on: 08 February 2019

The UK and Israel have a strong and important trading relationship. However, we do not recognise the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPTs), including the settlements, as part of Israel. The OPTs are not covered by the current EU-Israel Association Agreement, nor by the Continuity Agreement agreed in principle between the UK and Israel.

We are also working to finalise the transition of the current EU Interim Association Agreement with the Palestinian Authority.

We have committed to informing Parliament as soon as agreements are signed with partner countries. The agreement will be laid in Parliament and we will be publishing a full report on trade agreements, once they are signed.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
[N]
Close

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: 05 February 2019
Department for International Trade
Trade Agreements: Israel
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, whether the new UK-Israel agreement-in-principle contains a territorial clause limiting its application to within Israel’s pre-June 1967 borders.
A
Answered by: George Hollingbery
Answered on: 08 February 2019

The UK and Israel have a strong and important trading relationship. However, we do not recognise the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPTs), including the settlements, as part of Israel. The OPTs are not covered by the current EU-Israel Association Agreement, nor by the Continuity Agreement agreed in principle between the UK and Israel.

We are also working to finalise the transition of the current EU Interim Association Agreement with the Palestinian Authority.

We have committed to informing Parliament as soon as agreements are signed with partner countries. The agreement will be laid in Parliament and we will be publishing a full report on trade agreements, once they are signed.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
[N]
Close

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: 05 February 2019
Department for International Trade
Trade Agreements: Israel
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, how his Department defines the territorial scope of pre-existing agreements between the UK and Israel.
A
Answered by: George Hollingbery
Answered on: 08 February 2019

The UK and Israel have a strong and important trading relationship. However, we do not recognise the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPTs), including the settlements, as part of Israel. The OPTs are not covered by the current EU-Israel Association Agreement, nor by the Continuity Agreement agreed in principle between the UK and Israel.

We are also working to finalise the transition of the current EU Interim Association Agreement with the Palestinian Authority.

We have committed to informing Parliament as soon as agreements are signed with partner countries. The agreement will be laid in Parliament and we will be publishing a full report on trade agreements, once they are signed.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
Asked on: 29 January 2019
Department of Health and Social Care
NHS: Drugs
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure that GP surgeries are supplied with adequate guidance for patients on their medication in the event that the UK leaves the EU without a deal.
A
Answered by: Stephen Hammond
Answered on: 06 February 2019

Guidance issued to all National Health Service trusts, pharmacies and general practices by the Department and NHS England has informed them of our plans for ensuring continuity of supply of medicines and advised them that they can expect to be able to continue accessing medicines through their existing supply routes in the event of a ‘no deal’ European Union exit. General practitioners (GPs) and providers should continue to prescribe medicines and other medical products as normal.

On 23 August 2018, my Rt. hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care sent a letter to NHS England outlining preparations for the EU Exit, including in relation to General Practice. On 21 December 2018, the EU Exit Operational Guidance for the Health and Social Care system, including GPs, was issued. On 18 January 2019, a joint letter from the Department and NHS England from chief pharmacist, Keith Ridge, was sent to GPs, pharmacists and senior leaders within the NHS.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
Asked on: 29 January 2019
Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
Gambling: Sports
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment his Department has made of (a) trends in the level of betting on football, (b) the effect of in-play betting on gambling levels and (c) the adequacy of existing regulations on gambling advertising in relation to sport.
A
Answered by: Mims Davies
Answered on: 06 February 2019

The Gambling Commission publishes Industry Statistics twice a year. These demonstrate an upward trend for remote betting on football, where gross gambling yield (GGY, the amount retained by operators after the payment of winnings but before the deduction of the costs of the operation) increased from £578 million to a little over £1 billion between 2015 and 2018. In the same period, offline betting on football fell by roughly one fifth, from £331 million to £265 million. This data can be found here: https://www.gamblingcommission.gov.uk/news-action-and-statistics/Statistics-and-research/Statistics/Industry-statistics.aspx

The Commission also tracks gambling participation rates and data for 2017 showed that football and horse racing were the most popular activities to place a bet on, with 5% of respondents having bet on football in the past four weeks, and 4% having done so for horse racing. This report also includes data on in-play betting, and found that 26% of online gamblers had made a bet in-play during the past four weeks, a figure relatively consistent with the previous years. The most recent report can be found here: https://www.gamblingcommission.gov.uk/pdf/survey-data/gambling-participation-in-2017-behaviour-awareness-and-attitudes.pdf.

Strict controls apply to the content of all gambling advertisements, including broadcast adverts and online, and adverts for gambling must not be broadcast in or around children’s TV programmes.

The Review of Gaming Machines and Social Responsibility Measures set out a package of measures to strengthen protections around advertising further. These include significantly strengthened guidance from the Committees of Advertising Practice (CAP) on protecting vulnerable people which restricted urgent calls-to-action, such as ‘bet now’ adverts, tougher sanctions for operators who breach advertising codes and a multi-million pound safer gambling advertising campaign, which will include responsible gambling messages around sports. More recently, the gambling industry has announced that it will introduce a whistle to whistle ban on adverts during sporting events. We will continue to monitor issues around advertising and consider any new evidence carefully.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
[N]
Close

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: 29 January 2019
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Hebron: Israel
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what assessment he has made of the effect on regional security of the Israeli Government's decision not to renew the mandate of the international observatory task force in Hebron; and if he will make a statement.
A
Answered by: Alistair Burt
Answered on: 04 February 2019

​While we have not made any assessment of this decision, our Ambassador to Israel raised our concerns over this issue with the Israeli authorities on 29 January.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
Asked on: 22 January 2019
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
UN Human Rights Council
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, if he will list his Department's priorities for the United Nations Human Rights Council session in March 2019.
A
Answered by: Mark Field
Answered on: 30 January 2019

​The Government's priority for all sessions of the UN Human Rights Council is to ensure that it holds those responsible for human rights violations and abuses to account, effectively addresses global threats to human rights, and strengthens protections for the future. At the 40th session, we envisage specific priorities will include the human rights situation in Syria, Sri Lanka, Burma, Iran, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Libya and South Sudan, and thematic priorities of media freedom, human rights defenders, and freedom of religion or belief.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
Asked on: 24 January 2019
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Omar Shakir
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, further to the Answer of 5 June 2018 to Question HL8092, if he will make further representations to the Israeli authorities the concerns of the UK government regarding the threatened deportation of Omar Shakir, Israel and Palestine Director, Human Rights Watch.
A
Answered by: Alistair Burt
Answered on: 30 January 2019

It is ultimately up to Israel to determine its immigration policy. The UK's immigration policy is similarly protected. We last made representations to the Israeli authorities on this issue in May 2018.​

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
[N]
Close

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: 18 January 2019
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
India: Rohingya
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent representations he has made to the government of India on non-refoulement of Rohingya refugees.
A
Answered by: Mark Field
Answered on: 23 January 2019

​The former Foreign Secretary raised the plight of Rohingya refugees with his Indian counterpart, the Minister for External Affairs in February 2018. Senior officials at the British High Commission in New Delhi continue to raise the Rohingya with the Indian Ministry for External Affairs, most recently in November 2018. We will continue to raise the issue of the Rohingya and call on India to support safe, voluntary and dignified returns, which respect the rights of Rohingya refugees.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
Asked on: 04 January 2019
Department for Transport
Seaborne Freight
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, on what date a decision was made to include Seaborne Freight in the list of companies to be invited to tender for the provision of cross-channel ferry services.
A
Answered by: Ms Nusrat Ghani
Answered on: 14 January 2019

Decisions to invite companies to tender were made in November. Companies were identified based on their potential to operate Ro-Ro services between the UK and the Continent.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
Asked on: 04 January 2019
Department for Transport
Seaborne Freight
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, between which dates his Department carried out due diligence checks on Seaborne Freight prior to issuing a contract to that company.
A
Answered by: Ms Nusrat Ghani
Answered on: 14 January 2019

Formal checks were undertaken on all bidders during December.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
Asked on: 04 January 2019
Department for Transport
Seaborne Freight
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether he has confirmed as part of due diligence checks whether Seaborne Freight became VAT registered.
A
Answered by: Ms Nusrat Ghani
Answered on: 14 January 2019

All companies operating out of the UK are required to comply with relevant VAT legislation.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
Asked on: 04 January 2019
Department for Transport
Seaborne Freight
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether he has sought any written assurances from representatives of Seabourne Freight's (a) bank, (b) legal representatives and (c) accountants on that company’s ability to comply with its contract with the Government.
A
Answered by: Ms Nusrat Ghani
Answered on: 14 January 2019

Yes. Written assurances were sought from a number of representatives as part of the contractual arrangements.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
Asked on: 04 January 2019
Department for Transport
Seaborne Freight
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether his Department has commissioned a formal credit check on Seaborne Freight from an established credit-check company.
A
Answered by: Ms Nusrat Ghani
Answered on: 14 January 2019

Yes. This was conducted as part of due diligence undertaken on Seaborne Freight.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
Asked on: 04 January 2019
Department for Transport
Seaborne Freight
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether his Department has sought advice from Baltic Exchange or any other shipping brokers in relation to the capacity of Seaborne Freight to run a cross-channel ferry service.
A
Answered by: Ms Nusrat Ghani
Answered on: 14 January 2019

The Department was supported by advice from a number of external advisers.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
Asked on: 04 January 2019
Department for Transport
Seaborne Freight
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether his Department’s contract with Seaborne Freight includes provisions that require that company to (a) lease or (b) purchase ships.
A
Answered by: Ms Nusrat Ghani
Answered on: 14 January 2019

Yes.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
Asked on: 04 January 2019
Department for Transport
Seaborne Freight
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether it is his working assumption that Seaborne Freight will use ships for its proposed cross-channel ferry operation operating under the UK flag.
A
Answered by: Ms Nusrat Ghani
Answered on: 14 January 2019

This is a commercial decision for any vessel operator, including Seaborne Freight.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
Asked on: 04 January 2019
Department for Transport
Seaborne Freight
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether he plans to approve an operating manual covering the safety standards of ships to be used by Seaborne Freight for cross-channel ferries; and if he will make a statement.
A
Answered by: Ms Nusrat Ghani
Answered on: 14 January 2019

Seaborne Freight will be required to comply with the same stringent International Maritime Organization safety standards that are applied to all vessels. In the UK these are enforced by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
Asked on: 04 January 2019
Department for Transport
Ramsgate Port: Channel Ferries
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what (a) infrastructure and (b) dredging work is required at the Port of Ramsgate to enable the operation of ferry services contracted by his Department; and what (a) private and (b) public institutions will fund those works.
A
Answered by: Ms Nusrat Ghani
Answered on: 14 January 2019

Maintenance dredging is currently in progress. Additionally, limited works are needed to restore the readiness of the port for regular ro-ro services, including appropriate Border Force facilities. Seaborne and my Department are working closely with Thanet Council to ensure that the Port will be ready to accept new services.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
Asked on: 04 January 2019
Department for Transport
Seaborne Freight
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what payments from the public purse are due to Seaborne Freight under the contract issued by his Department for provision of ferry services between Ramsgate and Ostend (a) in advance of ferry services being provided and (b) in the event of the company being unable to fulfil the contract.
A
Answered by: Ms Nusrat Ghani
Answered on: 14 January 2019

No payments are due either in advance of ferry services being provided or in the event of the Company being unable to fulfil the contract.

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