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
(Islington South and Finsbury)
Asked on: 06 December 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Selahattin Demirtas
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent representations he has made to his Turkish counterpart on the continued detention of Selahattin Demirtas in violation of an order of the European Court of Human Rights for his release.
A
Answered by: Sir Alan Duncan
Answered on: 13 December 2018

We have not made representations about the detention of Selahattin Demirtas since the European Court of Human Rights ruling, though we have followed his case and made a number of attempts to observe his trials. We have repeatedly raised with the Turkish authorities the need for any legal processes, including those against MPs, to be conducted fairly, transparently and with full respect for the rule of law.

Q
(Islington South and Finsbury)
Asked on: 06 December 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Selahattin Demirtas
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, with reference to the order of the European Court of Human Rights of 20 November 2018 for the release of Selahattin Demirtas by the Turkish authorities, what recent assessment he has made of the prospects for his release.
A
Answered by: Sir Alan Duncan
Answered on: 13 December 2018

We are aware that the courts in Turkey have just approved a prison sentence for Mr Demirtas of 4 years and 8 months on unrelated charges, making it unlikely that the recent order for his release will be enacted quickly by the Turkish government. We remain clear in our expectation that Turkey lives up to its international obligations and conducts any judicial process fairly, transparently and with full respect for the rule of law.

Q
(Islington South and Finsbury)
Asked on: 06 December 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Ukraine: Navy
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what representations he has made to his counterpart in Russia on the detention and prosecution of Ukrainian sailors taken into custody off the Crimean peninsula on 25 November 2018.
A
Answered by: Sir Alan Duncan
Answered on: 13 December 2018

The Foreign Office has raised this issue with the Russian Government. On 30 November alongside G7 Foreign Ministers, the Foreign Secretary publicly called on Russia to release the 24 detained Ukrainian servicemen and their vessels. We have also repeatedly made clear to senior Russian officials, bilaterally and through multilateral fora, that the Russian authorities must immediately release the crew, return their vessels and allow unhindered access through the Kerch Straits. The Foreign Secretary reaffirmed the UK's solidarity with Ukraine and discussed the welfare of the detained crew during his 29 November call with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Klimkin.

Q
Asked by Tom Brake
(Carshalton and Wallington)
Asked on: 06 December 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Unmanned Air Vehicles
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, with reference to the conclusion of the US-led joint declaration on the export and subsequent use of armed or strike-enabled UAVs, what steps the Government taking to develop those standards.
A
Answered by: Sir Alan Duncan
Answered on: 13 December 2018

The UK signed a 'Joint Declaration on the Export & Subsequent Use of Armed or Strike-Enabled Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs)' on 5 October 2016, along with 52 other States. The UK already has a robust set of export controls in place in relation to UAVs. Following the Joint Declaration, we are in discussion with a number of countries about developing a set of international best practice standards regarding the export of armed or strike-enabled UAVs. These discussions are continuing; it is not yet clear when they will conclude.

Q
Asked by Tom Brake
(Carshalton and Wallington)
Asked on: 06 December 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Unmanned Air Vehicles
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, with reference to the follow-on process to develop international best practice standards stemming from the US-led joint declaration on the export and subsequent use of armed or strike enabled UAVs, what the Government’s main goals are; and which international partners the Government is working with.
A
Answered by: Sir Alan Duncan
Answered on: 13 December 2018

The US is leading the process to develop possible international best practice standards in this area. We are concerned by the possible misuse of armed and strike-enabled UAVs and welcome the initiative. The UK already has a robust set of export controls in place. We would like to ensure that any future best practice standards are consistent with, and add value to, existing multilateral export control and non-proliferation regimes, and encourage the maximum possible compliance.

Q
Asked by Luke Pollard
(Plymouth, Sutton and Devonport)
Asked on: 07 December 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
South Sandwich Islands: Marine Protected Areas
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, when the Government plans to designate a marine reserve around South Sandwich Islands.
A
Answered by: Sir Alan Duncan
Answered on: 13 December 2018

As outlined in Westminster Hall Debate of 12 December: The Commissioner for South Georgia & the South Sandwich Islands announced, on 12 December, a suite of environmental enhancements to the existing Marine Protected Area, which take into account recommendations of the recent concluded first five-year review of the Territory's MPA.

Grouped Questions: 200160
Q
Asked by Luke Pollard
(Plymouth, Sutton and Devonport)
Asked on: 07 December 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Marine Protected Areas: South Sandwich Islands
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what the timeframe is for the designation of a marine reserve around South Sandwich Islands.
A
Answered by: Sir Alan Duncan
Answered on: 13 December 2018

As outlined in Westminster Hall Debate of 12 December: The Commissioner for South Georgia & the South Sandwich Islands announced, on 12 December, a suite of environmental enhancements to the existing Marine Protected Area, which take into account recommendations of the recent concluded first five-year review of the Territory's MPA.

Grouped Questions: 200159
Q
(Edinburgh West)
[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: 10 December 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Mediterranean Sea: Rescue Services
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what representations he has made to his Italian counterpart on the Italian Government's policy towards search and rescue ships in the Mediterranean.
A
Answered by: Sir Alan Duncan
Answered on: 13 December 2018

​Her Majesty's Government has discussed policy towards search and rescue ships in the Mediterranean with the Government of Italy, both bilaterally and in co-operation with EU partners to find a sustainable solution to the issue.

Q
(Brighton, Kemptown)
[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: 10 December 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Foreign and Commonwealth Office: Integrity Initiative
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 3 December to Question 196177 on Foreign and Commonwealth Office: Integrity Initiative, whether that funding is allocated from the Conflict, Stability and Security Fund; and what estimate he has made of the contribution of official development assistance to the (a) integrity initiative and (b) Institute for Statecraft.
A
Answered by: Sir Alan Duncan
Answered on: 13 December 2018

​The Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s support for the Integrity Initiative is CSSF funded. However, none of this work has been undertaken using Official Development Assistance (ODA) money.

Q
(East Londonderry)
[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: 10 December 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Julian Assange
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with his Ecuadorian counterpart on Mr Julian Assange.
A
Answered by: Sir Alan Duncan
Answered on: 13 December 2018

​I have spoken with the Ecuadorean Foreign Minister Jose Valencia on three occasions since his appointment on 12 June 2018. We have discussed a range of bilateral matters including the Assange issue.

Q
(Coventry South)
[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: 10 December 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Nicaragua: Human Rights
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent assessment he has made of the adequacy of human rights protections in Nicaragua.
A
Answered by: Sir Alan Duncan
Answered on: 13 December 2018

​The UK remains deeply concerned about human rights protections in Nicaragua and continues to support the work of the UN and OAS. The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) statement of 6 December denounced the establishment of a police state in Nicaragua, characterised by daily violations of human rights, suppression of fundamental freedoms, constant climate of fear and intimidation against human rights defenders and lack of due process and access to justice. On 22 November, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) reported 586 political prisoners, and we are alarmed by reports of ill-treatment of these prisoners. The UK supports the call from the OHCHR for the authorities to immediately end repression of those who speak out against the Government and we call on the Nicaraguan Government to safeguard the life, physical integrity and health of the people in their custody.

Q
(North East Fife)
Asked on: 04 December 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Colombia: Human Rights
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what representations he has made to the Colombian Government on the need for (a) individual and (b) collective protection mechanisms for human rights defenders in that country.
A
Answered by: Sir Alan Duncan
Answered on: 12 December 2018

The UK raised concerns about violence against human rights defenders (HRDs) during the Universal Periodic Review of Colombia's human rights on 10 May in Geneva. During the review, Colombia also accepted all UK recommendations including to improve protective measures for HRDs.

I have also discussed the importance of tackling violence against HRDs with visiting Colombian officials, most recently President Duque's adviser for International Affairs and Human Rights during his visit to London on 17 October. The British Ambassador in Bogota has also raised the issue of collective protection mechanisms in a meeting with the Director of Colombia's National Protection Unit on 26 November. Through our Embassy-run human rights programme, the UK is working with the Norwegian Refugee Council to implement a collective protection mechanism for 'at risk' HRDs in rural communities.

I welcome the Colombian Government's decision to host an official visit by the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of Human Rights Defenders, Mr Michel Forst. The UK is ready to help the Colombian Government implement the recommendations in Mr Forst's final report.

Q
(North East Fife)
Asked on: 04 December 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Colombia: Females
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, how many women’s organisations in Colombia receive UK funding.
A
Answered by: Sir Alan Duncan
Answered on: 12 December 2018

All UK ODA programmes are required to take account of gender. The FCO Human Rights Fund has allocated over £1.5m for projects in Colombia related to the prevention of sexual violence since 2011. This programme supports grass roots women’s organisations in ten regional departments through financing their umbrella organisation in Bogota. During 2018, programmes managed by our Embassy in Colombia have worked with over 400 women in rural areas supporting their empowerment and access to justice. The UK has also supported the documentation of over 1200 cases of conflict-related sexual violence, and helped bring these cases before the transitional justice system. One of the International Climate Finance (ICF) programmes in Colombia will open a “call for proposals” in January 2019 for projects working with indigenous organisations led by indigenous women in the Colombian Amazon.

Q
(North East Fife)
Asked on: 04 December 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Colombia: Rural Areas
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, how many organisations in rural Colombia receive funding from the UK.
A
Answered by: Sir Alan Duncan
Answered on: 12 December 2018

UK-funded programmes in Colombia work across the country, at national, regional and municipal level. Recovery of post conflict rural communities is a priority focus for the Cross-Government Conflict Security and Stability Fund (CSSF) programme supporting the peace process in Colombia. It directly supports 18 organisations working in rural parts of the country. The Cross-Government Prosperity Fund programme works with 6 local rural partners. International Climate Finance programmes support 5 larger partner organisations working in rural areas, including FEDEGAN and Naidiseros del Pacífico SAS, and have worked directly with over 3800 farms, and 19 indigenous and 13 rural communities.

Through financial support to international partners such as the United Nations Trust Fund, the UN Office for Human Rights, and the International Organisation for Migration (IMO) as well as Colombian Government agencies, the UK's support will reach many other organisations working across all parts of Colombia.

Q
(Glasgow South)
[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: 07 December 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Ukraine: Foreign Relations
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, when he last received a request from the Government of Ukraine for a telephone conversation with the President of that country.
A
Answered by: Sir Alan Duncan
Answered on: 12 December 2018

The FCO received a request on 27 November for a telephone conversation between the Prime Minister and President Poroshenko, to discuss the situation around the Sea of Azov. The Prime Minister is receiving regular updates on this issue, is following events closely and will engage President Poroshenko as events continue to unfold. Our full diplomatic network is engaging on an international response. We are in very close contact in Kyiv. The Foreign Secretary spoke to Ukrainian Foreign Minister Klimkin on 29 November, when he reaffirmed the UK’s solidarity with Ukraine. The Foreign Secretary also participated in a lunch with EU Foreign Ministers and FM Klimkin in the margins of the 10 December EU Foreign Affairs Council in Brussels.

Q
Asked by Deidre Brock
(Edinburgh North and Leith)
Asked on: 30 November 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
EU Countries: British Nationals Abroad
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, how many UK citizens currently resident elsewhere in the EU his Department expects to return to the UK as a result of the UK leaving the EU.
A
Answered by: Sir Alan Duncan
Answered on: 10 December 2018

The Withdrawal Agreement, and the detailed political declaration on the terms of our future relationship, include protection for the rights of citizens, including UK citizens currently living in the EU. There should therefore be no need for UK citizens to return as a result of the UK leaving the EU.

Q
(Glasgow South West)
Asked on: 03 December 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Syria: Military Intervention
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what diplomatic steps he is taking to encourage the Turkish Government to (a) halt further incursions in to Syrian territory and (b) bring to an end the occupation of Afrin.
A
Answered by: Sir Alan Duncan
Answered on: 10 December 2018

The UK Government regularly discusses the Syrian conflict with the Turkish authorities, including recent conversations between the UK Minister for the Middle East and North Africa and his Turkish counterpart. While we recognise Turkey's legitimate interest in the security of its borders, we have raised our concerns that further military operations risk undermining our shared goal of securing the enduring defeat of Daesh. Following military operations in Afrin, we have stressed the need for a sustainable solution for representative local governance, which is acceptable to Turkey and to local communities. We continue to push for a reduction in violence, and for consideration of the humanitarian needs of the population in the affected areas.

Q
(Glasgow South West)
[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: 04 December 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Syria: Turkey
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what discussions he has had with his Turkish counterpart on the Turkish invasion of Afrin; the effect of that military operation on civilians in Afrin; and the adequacy of medical (a) services and (b) equipment to treat those civilians.
A
Answered by: Sir Alan Duncan
Answered on: 10 December 2018

During the Turkish operation in Afrin, the UK Government called for de-escalation of the military conflict and the protection of civilians, while recognising Turkey's legitimate interest in the security of its borders. UK Government Ministers urged their Turkish counterparts to do everything possible to minimise humanitarian suffering including the need to facilitate access for life-saving humanitarian aid in accordance with international humanitarian law.

DFID partners are delivering limited humanitarian assistance in Afrin and to those displaced from the district, where access allows. This includes medical consultations, immunisations and nutrition support for mothers and children.

Q
(Derby North)
[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: 04 December 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Foreign and Commonwealth Office: Integrity Initiative
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 3 December 2018 to Question 196177 on Foreign and Commonwealth Office: Integrity Initiative, if he will publish his Department's (a) documents and (b) correspondence on grant agreements for the Integrity Initiative.
A
Answered by: Sir Alan Duncan
Answered on: 10 December 2018

The FCO's Counter Disinformation and Media Development Programme is designed to protect national security by countering disinformation directed at the UK and its Allies from Russia. Russia persistently uses disinformation to target its perceived enemies. An example was the Russian disinformation campaign that followed the attack in Salisbury, which was intended to distract from Russian culpability. Documents and correspondence about projects within the Programme will not be published, as this information could then be used to actively attempt to disrupt and undermine the Programme's effectiveness.

Q
(Derby North)
[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: 04 December 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Foreign and Commonwealth Office: Integrity Initiative
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 3 December 2018 to Question 196177 on Foreign and Commonwealth Office: Integrity Initiative, whether the funding provided to the Institute of Statecraft was through the FCO-led Russian Language Programme.
A
Answered by: Sir Alan Duncan
Answered on: 10 December 2018

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office's Russian Language Programme was launched in 2014 following Russia's illegal annexation of Crimea. In April 2016 we launched a new four year strategic communications and media development programme authorised by the National Security Council, called the Counter Disinformation and Media Development Programme. The former Russian Language Programme was amalgamated into this. The funding provided to the Institute for Statecraft was funded from the Counter Disinformation and Media Development Programme.

Q
(Derby North)
[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: 04 December 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Foreign and Commonwealth Office: Integrity Initiative
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 3 December 2018 to Question 196177 on Foreign and Commonwealth Office: Integrity Initiative, what estimate his Department has made of the number of people employed to work (a) on the Integrity Initiative and (b) for the Institute of Statecraft that hold (i) posts and (ii) honorary posts in the British military.
A
Answered by: Sir Alan Duncan
Answered on: 10 December 2018

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office do not have an estimate for the number of people employed by the Institute for Statecraft. None of those employed in the Integrity Initiative are serving members of the UKforces. Two are in the reserves, and one holds a purely honorary role.

Q
(Derby North)
[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: 04 December 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Foreign and Commonwealth Office: Russian Language
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what the (a) amount and (b) recipient name was for grants paid through the FCO-led Russian Language Programme in the latest period for which figures are available.
A
Answered by: Sir Alan Duncan
Answered on: 10 December 2018

The FCO's Counter Disinformation and Media Development Programme is designed to protect national security by countering disinformation directed at the UK and its Allies from Russia. Russia persistently uses disinformation to target its perceived enemies. An example was the Russian disinformation campaign that followed the attack in Salisbury, which was intended to distract from Russian culpability. Information about individual projects within the Programme will not be published, as this information could then be used to actively attempt to disrupt and undermine the Programme's effectiveness.

Q
(Coventry South)
[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 December 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
British Overseas Territories: Hurricanes and Tornadoes
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what estimate he has made of the cost to the public purse of rebuilding efforts in the British Overseas Territories as a result of hurricane damage in 2017.
A
Answered by: Sir Alan Duncan
Answered on: 10 December 2018

The UK provided £92 million in response to the damage inflicted by Hurricanes Irma and Maria, and matched public donations to the British Red Cross Appeal up to a total of £3 million.

£72 million of the immediate response and early recovery funding was allocated to the UK Overseas Territories. This was managed through the cross-Whitehall Conflict, Stability and Security Fund (CSSF). The UK provided £35m for immediate humanitarian assistance and for reconstruction on Dominica and Antigua and Barbuda. The UK has also committed £19m towards longer term hurricane and disaster resilience work in the region.

On 27 November 2017 the Prime Minister announced a further £70 million package of support for the affected Overseas Territories to be delivered over the next three years, supplemented by up to £300 million of loan guarantees. The £70 million long term recovery and reconstruction package is also being managed by the CSSF.

Q
Asked by Jo Swinson
(East Dunbartonshire)
[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 December 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Foreign and Commonwealth Office: Overseas Aid
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what proportion of his Department's ODA-funded projects are listed on the Department for International Development's Development Tracker website.
A
Answered by: Sir Alan Duncan
Answered on: 10 December 2018

We list nearly all of our ODA-funded programmes on gov.uk and on the Department for International Development's Development Tracker website. Information on a small number of policy programmes is not in the public domain due to the need to protect national security and the safety and security of beneficiaries, partners or partner governments.

Q
(Glasgow South)
[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: 07 December 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Ukraine: Foreign Relations
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, when he last spoke with President Poroshenko of Ukraine; and what issues were discussed at that time.
A
Answered by: Sir Alan Duncan
Answered on: 12 December 2018

The Prime Minister spoke to President Poroshenko on 24 May, when they discussed the Minsk Agreements and the situation in eastern Ukraine.

Q
Asked by Derek Thomas
(St Ives)
Asked on: 28 November 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Julian Assange
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what the Government's policy is on providing Julian Assange with safe passage to Ecuador.
A
Answered by: Sir Alan Duncan
Answered on: 06 December 2018

We have been clear that when Mr Assange leaves the Ecuadorean Embassy, all UK legal processes would need to be completed before he could leave the country. Mr Assange understands that the only way to resolve this issue is to leave the Embassy to face UK justice. No-one is above the law.

Q
Asked by Nigel Dodds
(Belfast North)
Asked on: 29 November 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Italy: Floods
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what assistance his Department has provided to UK nationals as a result of the recent flooding in the coastal regions of Italy.
A
Answered by: Sir Alan Duncan
Answered on: 06 December 2018

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office was not approached to offer assistance to British Nationals who may have been caught up in the coastal floods. We are aware of two British Nationals who were rescued in Sardinia following the flooding there but they did not approach us for any assistance. FCO travel advice was updated on 29 October with information about the severe weather conditions and a link to local guidance being issued by the local authorities.

Q
Asked by Giles Watling
(Clacton)
Asked on: 29 November 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
International Law
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what steps he is taking to strengthen the rules-based international order.
A
Answered by: Sir Alan Duncan
Answered on: 06 December 2018

The rules-based international system has made the world collectively more prosperous and safe than ever before. Today, upholding and strengthening this system is a priority for the government. We are reinvigorating and expanding the UK's diplomatic network in order to reinforce our friendships and alliances, to defend the values of democracy and human rights, to reform the multilateral architecture where needed, and to reach agreement on new rules in evolving policy areas. This will allow the UK to play a leading role in shaping a rules-based international system fit for the future.

Q
(Glasgow South West)
[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: 03 December 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Syria: Military Intervention
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what discussions he has had with his Turkish counterpart on the actions of Turkish and allied militia during the occupation of Afrin, and if he will make a statement.
A
Answered by: Sir Alan Duncan
Answered on: 06 December 2018

Her Majesty's Government discussed Turkish military action in Afrin with the Turkish authorities at the highest levels. We called for de-escalation and the protection of civilians, while recognising Turkey's legitimate interest in the security of its borders. All actors in the Syrian conflict must comply with and fully uphold international conventions and norms. We are clear that any allegations of human rights violations, where there is credible evidence of their occurrence, must be investigated and have previously raised incidents with the Turkish authorities where there were grounds to do so.

The Government has already discussed the situation in Afrin extensively, including in a statement to this House by the Minister of State for the Middle East on 12 March 2018.

Q
(Brighton, Pavilion)
Asked on: 27 November 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
USA: State Visits
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, with reference to his Department's data Costs relating to State and Guest of Government visits, if he will update that data to include the July 2018 visit to the UK of US President Donald Trump for the costs relating to state and guests of Government visits.
A
Answered by: Sir Alan Duncan
Answered on: 05 December 2018

Information on the cost to the FCO for President Trump's Guest of Government visit will be published on the gov.uk website (link below) shortly.

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/costs-relating-to-state-and-guest-of-government-visits

Q
Asked by Nigel Dodds
(Belfast North)
Asked on: 27 November 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Turkey: Islam
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what representations he has made to his Turkish counterpart on the effect on non-Muslims of the rapid incorporation of Islam into that country's education system.
A
Answered by: Sir Alan Duncan
Answered on: 05 December 2018

Religious education is compulsory in Turkey's education curriculum and generally amounts to around two hours a week. Christian and Jewish children can apply for exemption from these classes. We have discussed freedom of religion issues with the Turkish authorities and are in dialogue with minority religious communities in Turkey.

Q
(Leeds North East)
Asked on: 27 November 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Mediterranean Sea: Rescue Services
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, whether he plans to tackle the criminalisation of humanitarian assistance to migrants as evidenced by the recent seizure of the migrant rescue vessel Aquarius; and if he will make a statement.
A
Answered by: Sir Alan Duncan
Answered on: 05 December 2018

The UK Government is aware of the seizure of the Marine Vessel Aquarius by the Italian authorities on grounds of waste pollution. The vessel operated as a Search and Rescue vessel in the central Mediterranean by Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) 'SOS Méditerranée' and 'Médicins Sans Frontières' until September 2018. This matter is now subject to Italian legal processes and it is not appropriate for the UK Government to comment. We recognise the importance of Search and Rescue in the Mediterranean and value the contribution of NGOs in saving lives at sea. We are concerned about the increasing fatality rate that has coincided with the effective cessation of the Search and Rescue operations in the central Mediterranean due to the lack of assurances over safe disembarkation arrangements. We will continue to be involved with efforts to find a solution.

Q
(Leeds North East)
Asked on: 28 November 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Mediterranean Sea: Rescue Services
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what support the Government provides to search and rescue operations in the central Mediterranean provided by NGOs.
A
Answered by: Sir Alan Duncan
Answered on: 05 December 2018

The UK Government does not support search and rescue operations in the central Mediterranean led by Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), however, we do support a range of other NGO-provided services to migrants. We value the contribution of NGOs to Search and Rescue in the central Mediterranean and are concerned about the increasing fatality rate that has coincided with the effective cessation of Search and Rescue operations, due to lack of assurances over safe disembarkation. UK Government officials have an ongoing dialogue with the NGOs and the UK continues to work with our international partners to seek solutions to the ongoing impasse over search and rescue in the Central Mediterranean.

Q
(Leeds North East)
Asked on: 28 November 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Mediterranean Sea: Rescue Services
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what discussions he has had with his international counterparts on the provision of support for NGO search and rescue ships in the Mediterranean.
A
Answered by: Sir Alan Duncan
Answered on: 05 December 2018

The UK Government has not held such specific discussions. We continue to engage with EU partners in pursuit of predictable mechanisms for the disembarkation of rescued migrants at a nearby port of safety. In addition, we have continuing dialogue with the relevant Non-Government Organisations.

Q
Asked by Ian Paisley
(North Antrim)
Asked on: 26 November 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Diplomatic Service: Visas
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent discussions his Department has had with the Home Office on the operation of the online visa system for diplomats.
A
Answered by: Sir Alan Duncan
Answered on: 04 December 2018

The FCO leads on policy on the immigration status of foreign diplomats accredited or appointed to the Court of St. James’s. The FCO has had no need recently to discuss the online system for diplomatic accreditation with the Home Office.

Q
Asked by Helen Goodman
(Bishop Auckland)
[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 November 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Colombia: Prosperity Fund
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, with reference to the UK Prosperity Fund for Columbia, published on 10 August 2018 on gov.uk, what programmes his Department provides financial support to in Columbia in addition to the funding outlined in that document.
A
Answered by: Sir Alan Duncan
Answered on: 04 December 2018

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office jointly manages a number of cross Government programmes in Colombia.

The Cross Government Prosperity Fund supports a multi-year programme (2017-2022) in Colombia with a total allocation of £25.5m. Commencing implementation in April 2018, it will help to rebuild Colombia and improve the lives of more than 3 million people affected by conflict and create export opportunities to the UK.

The Cross Government Conflict Stability and Security Fund (CSSF) has allocated almost £40m to two programmes in Colombia since 2015. The two programmes are i) Colombia Security and Access to Peace; and ii) Peru/Colombia Serious Organised Crime.

The International Climate Fund (ICF) managed by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has allocated over £130m to multi-year (2013 to 2021) programmes in Colombia. In Colombia the ICF supports six programmes which aim to reduce deforestation, increase carbon capture, increase the use of green technology and create secondary benefits for UK companies. Colombia also benefits from a share of £177m in regional ICF programmes which also includes Brazil, Mexico & Peru.

The Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) provides £7.8m to two programmes in Colombia managed by the UK Space Agency which use satellite based technologies such as Earth Observation to monitor deforestation and climate change. Colombia also benefits from regional programmes supported by up to £18m from the GCRF.

The Newton Fund managed by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has provided £11.2m (2014-2018) of a planned £30m by 2021 for joint scientific research in Colombia, with 100% matched resource from the Colombian Government. This collaboration is known as the Newton-Caldas Fund (named after prominent scientists in both countries) and has supported biodiversity research involving experts from Kew Gardens and has discovered more than 30 new species and 5 that were thought to be extinct.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office Human Rights Fund has spent over £2.5m on projects in Colombia since 2011. Colombia is one of 30 countries designated by the FCO as a Human Rights Priority Country. The programmes managed by the British Embassy in Bogota priorities work to support human rights defenders, the Preventing Sexual Violence In Conflict Initiative and tackling Modern Slavery.

Q
Asked by Jo Stevens
(Cardiff Central)
[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 November 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Middle East and North Africa: Radicalism
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of whether there are any financial links between extreme Islamist groups in the Middle East and North Africa and extreme Islamist groups in the United Kingdom.
A
Answered by: Sir Alan Duncan
Answered on: 04 December 2018

The Foreign & Commonwealth Office has not made any assessment of whether there are financial links between extremist Islamist groups in the Middle East and North Africa and extremist Islamist groups in the UK. In July 2017 the Government concluded its internal review into the funding for Islamist extremist activity in the UK, and issued a Written Ministerial Statement. The review has improved the Government’s understanding of the nature, scale and sources of funding for Islamist extremism in the UK. The Statement is a comprehensive reflection of the review’s findings: www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-statement/Commons/2017-07-12/HCWS39

Q
Asked by Jo Stevens
(Cardiff Central)
[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 November 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Middle East and North Africa: Refugees
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what estimate his Department has made of the number of people who drowned while attempting to reach Europe from the Middle East and North Africa in 2017.
A
Answered by: Sir Alan Duncan
Answered on: 04 December 2018

According to the International Organisation for Migration there was an estimated total of 3,116 fatalities across all routes in 2017 (Central Mediterranean route: 2,832; Eastern Mediterranean route: 61; Western Mediterranean route: 223). The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees estimates a similar total of 3,139 fatalities (Central Mediterranean route: 2873; Eastern Mediterranean route: 54; Western Mediterranean route: 212).

Q
Asked by Jo Stevens
(Cardiff Central)
[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: 27 November 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
USA: Prisoners
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, how many UK citizens are imprisoned in the United States.
A
Answered by: Sir Alan Duncan
Answered on: 03 December 2018

As of May 2018, we are aware of 439 British nationals in detention in the United States. This can include British nationals in immigration detention, in police custody, on remand awaiting trial, and sentenced prisoners. We collate detainee statistics twice a year from our case management system records to provide a snapshot of the number of British national arrest/detention cases reported to us.

Q
(Islington South and Finsbury)
[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: 27 November 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Foreign and Commonwealth Office: Private Education
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what funds his Department allocated to pay the private school fees of the children of staff in his Department at (a) schools in the UK and (b) schools overseas in the last year for which figures are available.
A
Answered by: Sir Alan Duncan
Answered on: 03 December 2018

In Financial Year 2016/2017, the FCO allocated the following funds to pay the private school fees of the children of FCO staff:

(a) Schools in the UK: £12,703,109.00

(b) Schools overseas: £14,339,087.00

Q
(Islington South and Finsbury)
[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: 27 November 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Foreign and Commonwealth Office: Private Education
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, how many staff in his Department who had the private school fees of their children paid by his Department were (a) based in posts in the United Kingdom and (b) based in posts overseas in the most recent year for which figures are available.
A
Answered by: Sir Alan Duncan
Answered on: 03 December 2018

In Financial Year 2016/2017, the FCO funded UK private school fees of children for the following number of staff:

(a) Staff based in the UK: 172

(b) Staff based overseas: 174

Q
(Islington South and Finsbury)
[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: 27 November 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Foreign and Commonwealth Office: Private Education
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, how many children had their private school fees paid by his Department at (a) schools in the UK and (b) schools overseas in the most recent year for which figures are available.
A
Answered by: Sir Alan Duncan
Answered on: 03 December 2018

In Financial Year 2016/2017, the FCO funded the private school fees for the following number of children:

(a) At schools in the UK: 393

(b) At schools overseas: 1074

Q
(Islington South and Finsbury)
[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: 27 November 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Foreign and Commonwealth Office: Private Education
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, how much expenditure his Department allocated to pay the private school fees of the children of Departmental staff at each of (a) Cheltenham Ladies College, (b) Roedean School, (c) Wycombe Abbey, (d) Benenden School, (e) Malvern St James, (f) Wellington College, (g) St Francis College, (h) Sevenoaks School, (i) Malvern College and (j) Hurtwood House in the last year for which figures are available.
A
Answered by: Sir Alan Duncan
Answered on: 03 December 2018

In Financial Year 2016/2017 funding was allocated as below to pay the private school fees of the children of FCO staff at the following schools:

2016/17

School

Total

Cheltenham Ladies College

£61,693.23

Roedean School

£184,744.25

Wycombe Abbey

£91,476

Benenden School

£30,492

Malvern St. James

£30,492

Wellington College

£121,968

St. Francis College

£0

Seven Oaks School

£451,980

Malvern College

£0

Hurtwood House

£0

Members of the diplomatic service are expected to be widely deployable throughout their career. It is long-standing practice that the FCO provides clearly defined and limited financial support to staff to help maintain the continuity of their children's education. Many parents prefer to take their children with them abroad, but in some of the 168 countries and territories where the FCO has UK-based staff, we do not permit staff to take their children either for health or security reasons. In others, local schools of an acceptable standard are not available.

As frequent moves by staff and families between the UK and overseas, and between posts overseas, can be disruptive to the education of the children, the FCO provides Continuity of Education Allowance (CEA). This enables staff who meet certain eligibility criteria to choose to provide an uninterrupted education for their children at a British boarding school in the UK while they continue to take up postings overseas at regular intervals during their career. CEA is a long-standing policy run under successive governments.

The FCO refunds standard term fees up to a ceiling which is reviewed annually. Where staff opt to send their children to more expensive schools, the difference in cost is met privately. The maximum amount the FCO will pay is determined by an independent survey conducted by Employment Conditions Abroad (ECA) International, which is used by public and private sector employers whose staff work across the world. Various factors, including availability of places (sometimes at short notice) and proximity of other family members, influence which schools staff choose for their children.

This provision may continue for up to 5 years following an officer's return to the UK, provided the officer will serve overseas again at the end of their home tour (and before the child completes their education), to allow children to complete key stages of their education without multiple disruptions.

UK-staff based overseas with dependent children living at Post are required to ensure that their children receive a full-time education from the start of the school term beginning after the child's 5th birthday, continuing until they reach school leaving age. At overseas posts where no suitable free English language based schooling is available (currently all countries except Australia, New Zealand and the United States), the FCO will meet the costs of schooling, where available, at an appropriate English language school from a list of pre-identified schools in the city of posting.

Q
(Islington South and Finsbury)
[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: 27 November 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Foreign and Commonwealth Office: Private Education
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what funds his Department allocated to pay the private school fees of the children of staff in his Department at (a) Tonbridge school, (b) Harrow school, (c) Winchester college, (d) Charterhouse school, (e) Eton college, (f) Westminster school, (g) Rugby school, (h) St Lawrence college, (i) Brentwood school and (j) Millfield school in the most recent year for which figures are available.
A
Answered by: Sir Alan Duncan
Answered on: 03 December 2018

In Financial Year 2016/2017 funding was allocated as below to pay the private school fees of the children of FCO staff at the following schools:

2016/17

School

Total

Tonbridge School

£30,492

Harrow School

£0

Winchester College

£276,656.90

Charterhouse School

£92,142.25

Eton College

£122,478.00

Westminster School

£52,441.90

Rugby School

£183,186.34

St. Lawrence College

£0

Brentwood School

£0

Millfield School

£91,309.50

Members of the diplomatic service are expected to be widely deployable throughout their career. It is long-standing practice that the FCO provides clearly defined and limited financial support to staff to help maintain the continuity of their children's education. Many parents prefer to take their children with them abroad, but in some of the 168 countries and territories where the FCO has UK-based staff, we do not permit staff to take their children either for health or security reasons. In others, local schools of an acceptable standard are not available.

As frequent moves by staff and families between the UK and overseas, and between posts overseas, can be disruptive to the education of the children, the FCO provides Continuity of Education Allowance (CEA). This enables staff who meet certain eligibility criteria to choose to provide an uninterrupted education for their children at a British boarding school in the UK while they continue to take up postings overseas at regular intervals during their career. CEA is a long-standing policy run under successive governments.

The FCO refunds standard term fees up to a ceiling which is reviewed annually. Where staff opt to send their children to more expensive schools, the difference in cost is met privately. The maximum amount the FCO will pay is determined by an independent survey conducted by Employment Conditions Abroad (ECA) International, which is used by public and private sector employers whose staff work across the world. Various factors, including availability of places (sometimes at short notice) and proximity of other family members, influence which schools staff choose for their children.

This provision may continue for up to 5 years following an officer's return to the UK, provided the officer will serve overseas again at the end of their home tour (and before the child completes their education), to allow children to complete key stages of their education without multiple disruptions.

UK-staff based overseas with dependent children living at Post are required to ensure that their children receive a full-time education from the start of the school term beginning after the child's 5th birthday, continuing until they reach school leaving age. At overseas posts where no suitable free English language based schooling is available (currently all countries except Australia, New Zealand and the United States), the FCO will meet the costs of schooling, where available, at an appropriate English language school from a list of pre-identified schools in the city of posting.

Q
(Derby North)
[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: 27 November 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Foreign and Commonwealth Office: Integrity Initiative
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, whether his Department has (a) funded, (b) provided contracts to and (c) procured the services of the Integrity Initiative in each financial year since 2015/16.
A
Answered by: Sir Alan Duncan
Answered on: 03 December 2018

The Institute for Statecraft is an independent, Scottish, charitable body whose work seeks to improve governance and enhance national security. They launched the Integrity Initiative in 2015 to defend democracy against disinformation.

In financial year 2017/18, the FCO funded the Institute for Statecraft's Integrity Initiative £296,500. This financial year, the FCO is funding a further £1,961,000. Both have been funded through grant agreements.

At the Eastern Partnership Summit in November 2017, the Prime Minister announced that the UK Government has committed £100m over five years to tackling this threat internationally.

Such funding furthers our commitment to producing important work to counter disinformation and other malign influence.

Q
Asked by Tom Brake
(Carshalton and Wallington)
[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: 28 November 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Torture
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, with reference to the appointment of Gina Haspel as director of the CIA, what steps the Government is taking to ensure the UK does not become complicit in facilitating or aiding the use of torture by any third party state cooperating in joint operations.
A
Answered by: Sir Alan Duncan
Answered on: 03 December 2018

The UK Government stands firmly against torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment. We do not participate in, solicit, encourage or condone the use of torture for any purpose. The Consolidated Guidance sets out the principles, consistent with UK and international law, which govern the interviewing of detainees overseas and the passing and receipt of intelligence relating to detainees.

The UK-US relationship is grounded in our history and shared traditions. In both countries, intelligence work takes place within a strong legal framework.

Q
(Coventry South)
[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: 28 November 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Ukraine: Sovereignty
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what steps he is taking to support the independence and sovereignty of Ukraine.
A
Answered by: Sir Alan Duncan
Answered on: 03 December 2018

The UK continues to fully support Ukraine's independence and territorial integrity. Crimea and the Donbas are part of Ukraine – what Russia has done and continues to do there breaches its obligations under international law.

Together with partners, we continue to call on Russia to abide by its international commitments and withdraw its forces from all of Ukraine, including the Donbas and Crimea. We strongly condemn recent Russian aggression against Ukrainian vessels near the Kerch Strait. This is yet further evidence of Russia's continued violation of Ukrainian sovereignty following the illegal annexation of Crimea and construction of the Kerch Bridge.

The Foreign Secretary issued a statement on 26 November, and spoke with the Ukrainian Foreign Minister on 29 November to reiterate that the UK stands with Ukraine against Russian aggression. The UK also spoke in support of the independence and sovereignty of Ukraine at emergency sessions in the UN Security Council, NATO, EU and OSCE.

The UK is also providing over £35 million to support Ukraine in a range of areas including governance reform, anti-corruption and humanitarian aid to help Ukraine continue its transition to become a stable, transparent and prosperous state.

Q
(Mid Sussex)
[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: 28 November 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Royal Visits
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what the criteria are by which the Royal Visits Committee recommends a royal visit.
A
Answered by: Sir Alan Duncan
Answered on: 03 December 2018

There are a range of criteria which the Royal Visits Committee takes into account. These include:

Government priorities and objectives; timing of previous Royal visits; purpose, costs and benefits for each proposal; security; and the availability of members of the Royal Family.

Q
(Hyndburn)
[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: 28 November 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Venezuela: Politics and Government
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent discussions has he had with representatives of Lima Group countries on the political and economic situation in Venezuela.
A
Answered by: Sir Alan Duncan
Answered on: 03 December 2018

The political and economic crisis in Venezuela continues to raise concern. On 18 October, I met representatives of the Lima group - the Ambassadors of Peru, Chile, Colombia, Argentina and Paraguay, and the Canadian High Commissioner - to discuss the situation before my speech on Venezuela at Chatham House on 25 October.

I also discussed the situation in Venezuela with the Cuban Foreign Minister, Bruno Rodriguez, on 12 November.

Q
(Mid Sussex)
[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: 28 November 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Royal Visits Committee
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, on how many occasions the Royal Visits Committee met in the last 12 months.
A
Answered by: Sir Alan Duncan
Answered on: 03 December 2018

The Royal Visits Committee has met twice in the last 12 months, in June and November 2018.

Q
Asked by Helen Goodman
(Bishop Auckland)
[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: 26 November 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Central America: Immigrants
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with his counterparts in the (a) US Administration and (b) Mexican Government on the human rights of Central American migrants.
A
Answered by: Sir Alan Duncan
Answered on: 29 November 2018

We continue to monitor developments on migrants from Central America transiting Mexico and are in contact with the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) which is providing support and funding. Officials in our Embassy in Mexico have also met with the local Mexican State Human Rights Commission on the border with Guatemala and discussed the protection of human rights for migrants.

Q
Asked by Helen Goodman
(Bishop Auckland)
[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: 26 November 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Central America: Immigrants
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with his counterpart in the US Administration on reports that tear gas has been used by US border officers to repel migrants at the US-Mexico border.
A
Answered by: Sir Alan Duncan
Answered on: 29 November 2018

There have been no specific FCO Ministerial discussions on the use of tear gas at the US border.

Q
Asked by Helen Goodman
(Bishop Auckland)
[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: 26 November 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Central America: Human Rights
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with his counterparts in Central America on human rights.
A
Answered by: Sir Alan Duncan
Answered on: 29 November 2018

Human rights is regularly on the agenda of bilateral meetings with Central American counterparts. Our Embassies across Central America monitor human rights situations closely and raise our concerns with respective Central American Governments, working closely with EU and like-minded partners. Our particular focus in recent months has been Nicaragua. I met the Nicaraguan Minister for National Policies on 3 July, urging the government to take responsibility for putting an end to the violence in the country, and issued a statement on 24 July; and on 19 October the Head of Latin America Department and the British Ambassador met the Foreign Minister & Vice-Foreign Minister in Managua to express our concerns about human rights abuses in the country.

Q
(Brighton, Pavilion)
Asked on: 20 November 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, with reference to Articles 81 and 82 of the Draft Agreement on the withdrawal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland from the European Union and the European Atomic Energy Community, dated 14 November 2018, what bodies external to the UK will verify compliance with UK obligations under the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.
A
Answered by: Sir Alan Duncan
Answered on: 28 November 2018

The NPT does not require the UK, as a nuclear weapons State, to agree safeguards agreements with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Since 1978, the UK has voluntarily accepted the application of safeguards in the United Kingdom in connection with the NPT through tri-lateral nuclear safeguards arrangements between the UK, the IAEA and Euratom – a Voluntary Offer Agreement (VOA) and, later, an Additional Protocol (AP). On 7 June 2018 the UK and the IAEA signed a new VOA and new AP to replace the existing trilateral agreements that include Euratom. The new VOA and AP were presented to Parliament for ratification on 12 November. The new VOA and AP ensure that the IAEA retains its right to inspect all civil nuclear facilities, and continues to receive all current safeguards reporting, thus ensuring that international verification of our safeguards activity continues to be robust.

Q
Asked by Jo Stevens
(Cardiff Central)
Asked on: 20 November 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
USA: Radicalism
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of whether there are financial links between the far-right in the UK and similar groups in the US.
A
Answered by: Sir Alan Duncan
Answered on: 28 November 2018

The Government is committed to tackling all forms of extremism – including Far Right extremism. The Foreign & Commonwealth Office has not however done any assessment of whether there are financial links between the Far Right in the UK and similar groups in the US. We work closely with other Government Departments to respond to evidence of international extremist influences where these are identified. As part of our regular bilateral engagement with international partners, including the United States of America, we will continue to raise our concerns, and explore opportunities to work together to address the wide spectrum of risks arising from all forms of extremism.

Q
(Bridgend)
Asked on: 22 November 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, if he will recognise the contribution of UK citizens to the OSCE mission by awarding them the CSDP medal; and if he will make a statement.
A
Answered by: Sir Alan Duncan
Answered on: 28 November 2018

The Common Security and Defence Policy Service (CSDP) Medal is an international military decoration awarded to individuals who have served with CSDP missions. The Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine is a separate mission outside the scope of the CSDP. UK citizens who serve in OSCE missions are not therefore eligible for CSDP medals. We fully support our secondees to OSCE with a package of benefits and remuneration for their work, and we continue to consider other ways to recognise our secondees’ service to this important Mission.

Q
(Coventry South)
[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 November 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Interpol
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what discussions he had with his US counterpart prior to the election of a new President for Interpol.
A
Answered by: Sir Alan Duncan
Answered on: 26 November 2018

In the run up to the election, there were many contacts between Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Home Office and National Crime Agency officials with their American counterparts as well as allies in many other countries. The government congratulates Kim Jong-yang on his successful election.

Q
Asked by Tom Brake
(Carshalton and Wallington)
[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 November 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Thailand: Detainees
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, if the Government will publish an assessment of past UK intelligence cooperation relating to the US detention facility in Thailand which was formerly overseen by Gina Haspal, Director of the US Central Intelligence Agency.
A
Answered by: Sir Alan Duncan
Answered on: 26 November 2018

​It is the longstanding policy of successive British Governments not to comment on intelligence matters.

Q
(Coventry South)
[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 November 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Gibraltar: Sovereignty
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what discussions the Government has had with the Government of Spain on the future of Gibraltar during the negotiations on leaving the EU.
A
Answered by: Sir Alan Duncan
Answered on: 23 November 2018

Since June 2016, the British Government has engaged constructively with our European partners to address the practical implications for Gibraltar arising from EU exit, including for the more than 8,000 Spanish frontier workers crossing into Gibraltar daily. As the Prime Minister reiterated in the House of Commons on 21 November, the UK has fully involved the Government of Gibraltar throughout. Our commitment to Gibraltar’s sovereignty, its people and its economy remains absolute, including in any discussions regarding the future.

Q
(East Londonderry)
[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: 19 November 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Kyrgyzstan: Religious Freedom
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, if he will make representations to the Kyrgyzstan authorities on ensuring the promotion of freedom of religion by that country's State Commission for Religious Affairs.
A
Answered by: Sir Alan Duncan
Answered on: 22 November 2018

We engage with the Kyrgyzstan authorities across the full spectrum of human rights issues, including freedom of religion. Our Embassy in Bishkek regularly meets with representatives from local civil society and international organisations and the government, including the State Commission for Religious Affairs, to better understand the challenges to the promotion of freedom of religion. We have also supported efforts to further the dialogue between the State Commission for Religious Affairs and religious groups in country.

We are involved in a number of initiatives which indirectly support religious freedom and education within Kyrgyzstan. Only this month, British Imam Qari Muhammad Asim attended an international conference on Islam, organised by the State Commission for Religious Affairs in Bishkek, which recognised the importance of freedom of religion and interfaith dialogue.

We will continue to raise our concerns about human rights directly with the Kyrgyz Government, and in the appropriate international fora, at every suitable opportunity.

Q
(Coventry South)
[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: 16 November 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Foreign Relations
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what discussions he has had with the governments of non-EU countries on (a) the draft withdrawal agreement for the UK leaving the EU and (b) the effect of that agreement on the UK's future relationships with such countries since that draft agreement was agreed by Cabinet.
A
Answered by: Sir Alan Duncan
Answered on: 21 November 2018

​The British Government has an active programme of engagement with our international partners outside the EU on a range of issues, including EU exit, where we keep countries updated on a regular basis at key moments in the negotiations. As the Prime Minister has said, the UK is leaving the European Union not Europe. The draft Withdrawal Agreement and outline Political Declaration provide the basis for what will be the closest relationship between the EU and any third country and signals the ambition of both sides to embark on a new, deep and special partnership after the UK leaves the EU, as well as strengthened relationships with other countries further afield.

Q
(Islington South and Finsbury)
Asked on: 12 November 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Turkey: Elections
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what steps he is taking to ensure that local elections in Turkey planned to take place in March 2019 are conducted in a free and fair manner.
A
Answered by: Sir Alan Duncan
Answered on: 20 November 2018

We have consistently encouraged Turkey to ensure that the elections are held to internationally accepted standards. We have urged Turkey to invite election monitors from the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe and the Council of Europe to observe the elections, and to act upon the recommendations made by those bodies following the Presidential elections in June 2018. If election observation missions take place we will consider offering HMG support, as we did in June. It is important for Turkish democracy that the local elections accurately reflect the wishes of the Turkish people.

Q
(Islington South and Finsbury)
Asked on: 12 November 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Kosovo: Armed Forces
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what (a) representations he has received and (b) assessment he has made of the implications for the constitution of Kosovo of proposals to change the Kosovo Security Force into a national army.
A
Answered by: Sir Alan Duncan
Answered on: 20 November 2018

FCO officials are in frequent contact with the Governments of Kosovo, Serbia and NATO Allies, including on the Government of Kosovo's proposed transition of the Kosovo Security Force to an armed force. We assess that there will not be implications for the constitution of the Republic of Kosovo because the constitution is silent on the mandate, size and composition of the Kosovo Security Force.

Q
Asked by Jo Stevens
(Cardiff Central)
[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: 15 November 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
UK Permanent Representation to the EU: Staff
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, how many staff were contracted to work at the UK Representation to the EU in Brussels in each of the last three years.
A
Answered by: Sir Alan Duncan
Answered on: 20 November 2018

The UK Permanent Representation to the EU (UKRep) in Brussels currently employs over 150 people, comprising both permanent civil servants from multiple Government Departments and locally recruited staff. As reported in the Annual Reports published by the Department for Exiting the EU, in 2017-2018 UKRep had over 150 staff; and in 2016-2017 UKRep had over 120 staff. We keep the size and shape of UKRep under constant review to ensure it is appropriate to deliver the UK’s objectives.

Q
Asked by John Spellar
(Warley)
Asked on: 09 November 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Venezuela: Sanctions
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, if he will take steps with his international counterparts to impose sanctions on the leading figures in the Venezuelan Maduro regime.
A
Answered by: Sir Alan Duncan
Answered on: 19 November 2018

The UK does not have its own domestic sanctions regime but does act with the international community to implement UN and EU sanctions.

We agreed a tough EU sanctions regime on Venezuela in November 2017. Travel bans and assets freezes were imposed on seven government officials in February 2018 and a further 11 officials in July 2018.

Q
Asked by Jon Trickett
(Hemsworth)
Asked on: 09 November 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Foreign and Commonwealth Office: Billing
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what proportion of contracts issued by his Department and contractors include provisions to impose, as between parties to the subcontract, that any payment due from the contractor to a subcontractor under the contract is to be made no later than the end of a period of 30 days from the date on which the relevant invoice is regarded as valid and undisputed, as required by the Public Contract Regulations 2015.
A
Answered by: Sir Alan Duncan
Answered on: 19 November 2018

Through the Public Contract Regulations 2015, all public sector buyers must include 30-day payment terms in new public sector contracts; and require that this payment term be passed down the supply chain. Public sector buyers must also publish annually details of their payment performance.

The Government strongly encourages businesses to report poor payment practice and instances of late payment, including late payment through the supply chain, in public sector contracts to its Mystery Shopper service. Mystery Shopper will then investigate.

Q
(Islington South and Finsbury)
Asked on: 09 November 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
UNMIK
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what the Government's policy is on the proposal by the US ambassador to the United Nations for the development of an exit strategy for the UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo.
A
Answered by: Sir Alan Duncan
Answered on: 19 November 2018

The United Nations Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) served an important post-conflict role. Like all international organisations, it should constantly review its priorities and resources to ensure that it remains fit for the current situation. Two decades after the establishment of UNMIK, the UN Security Council should now refocus UNMIK's efforts so that the means deployed by the UN are tailored fully to the situation on the ground.

Q
(Islington South and Finsbury)
Asked on: 09 November 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
UNMIK
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with his counterparts in (a) Kosovo and (b) Serbia on the (i) future of the UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo and (ii) vote of the Assembly of the Republic of Kosovo on 18 October 2018 to establish a national army for that country.
A
Answered by: Sir Alan Duncan
Answered on: 19 November 2018

The Foreign Secretary has not raised the issue of the future of UNMIK nor the vote in the Assembly of the Republic of Kosovo on establishing an army with counterparts in either Serbia or Kosovo.

FCO officials are in regular discussion with the Government of Kosovo, including on the Kosovo Security Forces (KSF). The UK also conducts regular consultation with NATO Allies on the subject, given NATO's support to the KSF.

Q
(Islington South and Finsbury)
Asked on: 09 November 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Kosovo: Armed Forces
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what assessment he has made of the effect of the vote of the Assembly of the Republic of Kosovo on 18 October 2018 to establish a national army on efforts to normalise relations between Kosovo and Serbia.
A
Answered by: Sir Alan Duncan
Answered on: 19 November 2018

We support Kosovo's sovereign right to have security forces or, if they so choose, armed forces, and we have encouraged the Government of Kosovo to make any changes to the existing Kosovo Security Forces in close consultation with NATO.

We support the EU-facilitated Dialogue aimed at normalising relations between Kosovo and Serbia, which is in both sides' interest. We look to both parties to act in ways that support normalisation.

Q
(Bridgend)
Asked on: 09 November 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Ukraine: Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, whether his Department is taking steps to recognise the contribution of UK citizens to the OSCE mission in Ukraine; and if he will make a statement.
A
Answered by: Sir Alan Duncan
Answered on: 19 November 2018

The UK is a long standing supporter of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) and its Special Monitoring Mission. We fully support our secondees to the Mission and provide them with a package of benefits and remuneration for their work. This is in addition to the allowances they receive directly from the OSCE. This demonstrates both our commitment to the Mission and our recognition of the work of our secondees. We continue to consider other ways to recognise our secondees’ service to this important Mission.

Q
(Bridgend)
Asked on: 09 November 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Ukraine: Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what the average time spent in Ukraine was of UK representatives to the OSCE’s mission to that country.
A
Answered by: Sir Alan Duncan
Answered on: 19 November 2018

Secondees are placed on contracts for one year which can be renewed on agreement, as the mandate for the mission is renewed by the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE). While in Ukraine they work full time and are subject to OSCE staffing regulations. As the OSCE is an independent multilateral organisation, any UK secondees are working for the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission and are not formally representatives of the UK.

Q
(Bridgend)
Asked on: 09 November 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Ukraine: Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, how many UK citizens working for the OSCE’s mission to Ukraine are employed by (a) the Government, (b) a UK contractor and (c) the OSCE; and if he will make a statement.
A
Answered by: Sir Alan Duncan
Answered on: 19 November 2018

The UK currently provides 66 monitors to the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Special Monitoring Mission (SMM), the second largest cohort of any participating state. This includes the recent appointment of a UK secondee to the senior position of Deputy Chief Monitor. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office funds these secondee postings through the Conflict, Stability and Security Fund (CSSF). Since the OSCE is an independent multilateral organisation, we are unable to provide details of other UK citizens who may be contracted or employed by the organisation in Ukraine.

Q
(Shrewsbury and Atcham)
Asked on: 09 November 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Poland: Sovereignty
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, for what reason the Government was not represented by a Minister at the celebration of 100 years of independence for Poland on 11 November 2018.
A
Answered by: Sir Alan Duncan
Answered on: 19 November 2018

UK Ministers were not invited to the event in Warsaw on 11 November to celebrate 100 years of Poland regaining independence. Our Ambassador to Poland was invited and represented the UK Government. The then Foreign Secretary and Defence Secretary marked the centenary at a wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Warsaw in June.

Q
(Oxford East)
[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 November 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Companies: Ownership
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what steps his Department has taken since the passing of the Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Act 2018 to ensure that British Overseas Territories introduce public registers of beneficial ownership.
A
Answered by: Sir Alan Duncan
Answered on: 19 November 2018

The Government has assured the Overseas Territories of our commitment to working collaboratively with them on the introduction of public registers. Minister of State Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon has already proposed the establishment of a UK- Overseas Territories technical working group to meet in early 2019 and will discuss more formally the implementation timetable and any initial requests for support at the Overseas Territories Joint Ministerial Council next month.

Q
Asked by Clive Efford
(Eltham)
[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 November 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Colombia: Politics and Government
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what discussions he has had with the Government of Colombia on protection for leaders of the FARC party since the attempted murder of Fancy Urrego (Erika Montero), a member of that party's leadership; and if he will make a statement.
A
Answered by: Sir Alan Duncan
Answered on: 19 November 2018

I discussed the killings of former members of the FARC, human rights defenders and social activists in Colombia with President Duque's advisor for international affairs and human rights on 17 October. I also condemn the attempted murder of FARC leader Erika Montero in Medellin on 4 November which seeks to undermine confidence in the peace process.

The Colombian Government has taken welcome steps to train protection teams for FARC leaders, with recruits including former FARC combatants. The UK has raised the importance of providing security guarantees set out in the peace deal during discussions at the UN Security Council where the UK holds the pen for the peace process, and through CSSF funding we have strengthened the Colombian Government's capacity to do this. The UK has also called for improved protection measures for human rights defenders, including through recommendations that Colombia accepted during its Universal Periodic Review of Human Rights at the UN (Geneva) in May.

The UK fully supports implementation of the 2016 historic peace agreement and continues to work closely with the new Colombian Government and international partners to ensure a safer more prosperous future for all Colombians.

Grouped Questions: 191258
Q
Asked by Clive Efford
(Eltham)
[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 November 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Colombia: Politics and Government
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, whether he has received reports alleging that police in Colombia have passed information to the FARC party warning of plans they have uncovered to kill members of their party leadership; if he will make representations to the Government in Colombia on the protection of those people; and if he will make a statement.
A
Answered by: Sir Alan Duncan
Answered on: 19 November 2018

I discussed the killings of former members of the FARC, human rights defenders and social activists in Colombia with President Duque's advisor for international affairs and human rights on 17 October. I also condemn the attempted murder of FARC leader Erika Montero in Medellin on 4 November which seeks to undermine confidence in the peace process.

The Colombian Government has taken welcome steps to train protection teams for FARC leaders, with recruits including former FARC combatants. The UK has raised the importance of providing security guarantees set out in the peace deal during discussions at the UN Security Council where the UK holds the pen for the peace process, and through CSSF funding we have strengthened the Colombian Government's capacity to do this. The UK has also called for improved protection measures for human rights defenders, including through recommendations that Colombia accepted during its Universal Periodic Review of Human Rights at the UN (Geneva) in May.

The UK fully supports implementation of the 2016 historic peace agreement and continues to work closely with the new Colombian Government and international partners to ensure a safer more prosperous future for all Colombians.

Grouped Questions: 191257
Q
(Islington South and Finsbury)
Asked on: 06 November 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Ukraine: Elections
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what assessment he has made of whether the plans of separatists in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions of eastern Ukraine to hold elections on 11 November 2018 represents a breach of the Minsk Accords; and what steps the Government plans to take in response to such elections in the event that they take place as planned.
A
Answered by: Sir Alan Duncan
Answered on: 16 November 2018

The illegitimate "elections", that took place on 11 November in the non-Government controlled territories of the so-called "Luhansk People's Republic" and "Donetsk People's Republic" in the Donbas contravene the commitments made under the Minsk Agreements and violate Ukrainian law.

The EU condemned these illegitimate "elections" on 10 November. In a statement on 12 November, the UK condemned these elections as part of Russia's continued violation of Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity. We are carefully considering an appropriate response with international partners.

Q
(Coventry South)
Asked on: 05 November 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Brazil: Foreign Relations
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what discussions he has had with the President-elect of Brazil.
A
Answered by: Sir Alan Duncan
Answered on: 15 November 2018

​The Foreign Secretary has had no discussions to date with the President-elect of Brazil. The Prime Minister wrote to President-elect Jair Bolsonaro following his election. Our Ambassador to Brazil met him during the campaign, as he did the other candidates, and since the election has met members of his transition team.

Q
(Islington South and Finsbury)
Asked on: 06 November 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Arms Control
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what assessment he has made of the outcomes of the NATO Conference on WMD Arms Control, Disarmament and Non-Proliferation held in Reykjavik on 29 and 30 October 2018; and if he will make a statement.
A
Answered by: Sir Alan Duncan
Answered on: 15 November 2018

The UK was represented at senior level at the NATO Conference on WMD Arms Control, Disarmament and Non-Proliferation held in Reykjavik on 29 and 30 October 2018. This was a useful opportunity to exchange views on the latest developments in the field of arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation issues, including developments in the use of chemical weapons and missile technology. We are grateful to the Government of Iceland for hosting the event.

Q
(Islington South and Finsbury)
Asked on: 06 November 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Chemical Weapons Convention
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what the Government’s priorities are for (a) the Conference of States Parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention and (b) the Chemical Weapons Convention Review Conference due to be held on 19 and 20 November 2018 and 21 to 30 November 2018 respectively.
A
Answered by: Sir Alan Duncan
Answered on: 15 November 2018

The United Kingdom’s priorities for both the Conference of States Parties and Review Conference are to continue working with states around the world to support progress towards universal and full national implementation of the Convention and to uphold the ban on chemical weapons development, production, stockpiling and use. The UK will focus on strengthening implementation of the Convention including through effective implementation of the Decision taken at the June 2018 special Conference of States Parties on which the former Foreign Secretary updated the House on 9 July (Official Report, House of Commons, volume 644, column 29WS), and securing a budget for 2019 to allow the critical work of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons to continue unimpeded.

The fact that I plan to represent the UK at the Review Conference, and my noble friend the Deputy Leader of the House of Lords and Minister of State for Defence also plans to attend the Conference of States Parties, indicates the importance the United Kingdom attaches to the Convention and the significant role it plays in the rules-based international system.

Q
(Islington South and Finsbury)
Asked on: 06 November 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Russia: Ukraine
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what assessment he has made of the potential implications of the recent termination by the Ukrainian government of the 1997 Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Partnership between that country and Russia for the prospects of reaching a negotiated settlement to the ongoing disputes between those countries in line with the Minsk Accords.
A
Answered by: Sir Alan Duncan
Answered on: 15 November 2018

Russia’s actions in Ukraine have deliberately violated a number of international agreements and commitments including the 1997 Russia-Ukraine Treaty of Friendship. We continue to work with international partners to support Ukraine as it deals with the ongoing impact of Russia’s aggression against it.

We need to be very clear about where the fundamental problem lies. It is Russia which created this conflict, Russia which supplies weaponry and personnel to the separatists, and Russia which refrains from using its considerable influence on the separatists to get them to comply with their Minsk commitments.

We fully support diplomatic efforts through the Minsk Process. It is imperative that Russia abides by its commitments under the Minsk Agreement and withdraws its forces from all of Ukraine, including Crimea.

Q
(Islington South and Finsbury)
Asked on: 06 November 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Russia: Ukraine
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what assessment he has made of the potential effect of the recent decision by the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople granting autocephaly to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church on diplomatic relations between Ukraine and Russia.
A
Answered by: Sir Alan Duncan
Answered on: 15 November 2018

The granting of autocephaly by the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church is a matter for the Orthodox Church. We are closely monitoring developments and support constructive dialogue between Ukraine and Russia. In addition, we continue to work with church contacts to encourage a measured response and to remind all parties of their obligation to uphold the human right to freedom of religion or belief within their jurisdiction.

Q
(Islington South and Finsbury)
Asked on: 06 November 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Ukraine: Peacekeeping Operations
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent assessment he has made of the progress of discussions between the Governments of (a) Ukraine, (b) Russia, (c) France and (d) Germany toward reaching an agreement on the size and mandate of a potential UN peacekeeping mission for eastern Ukraine; and what information his Department holds on when such discussions were last held.
A
Answered by: Sir Alan Duncan
Answered on: 15 November 2018

The UK is ready to discuss proposals for a UN peacekeeping mission drawn up in such a way as to offer meaningful progress towards peace in the Donbas. Any international mission must aim to achieve full implementation of the Minsk Agreements and full restoration of Ukraine's sovereignty over its territory. A number of proposals have been made and discussed at international level. We are clear that the international community should only accept a resolution for a peacekeeping mission in eastern Ukraine which has the genuine aim of bringing about a lasting resolution to the conflict.

Q
(Islington South and Finsbury)
Asked on: 06 November 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Russia: Ukraine
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent representations he has made to his counterpart in Russia on urging the Government of that country to de-escalate its military build-up in the Sea of Azov.
A
Answered by: Sir Alan Duncan
Answered on: 15 November 2018

The Foreign Secretary has not made direct representations to Foreign Minister Lavrov about the Sea of Azov. However, at a UN Security Council Open Briefing on the situation in Ukraine on 30 October, at which Russia was present, the UK made a statement to UN members.

The UK made clear that the opening of the Kerch bridge was a flagrant violation of Ukraine's sovereignty. The UK's Permanent Representative to the UN noted that Russia's systematic disruption and detention of both Ukrainian and third country flagged vessels in the Sea of Azov since April 2018 was yet another attempt to destabilise Ukraine.

Q
(Islington South and Finsbury)
Asked on: 06 November 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Russia: Ukraine
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what assessment he has made of the progress of the arbitration of legal claims made by the Government of Ukraine under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea relating to Russia’s military presence in the Sea of Azov.
A
Answered by: Sir Alan Duncan
Answered on: 15 November 2018

The UK is aware of Ukraine’s legal action in relation to the Sea of Azov at the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) in the Hague. We understand that the arbitration is ongoing and, as such, it would not be appropriate to comment at this stage.

Q
(Bristol East)
[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 November 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Seabed: Mining
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, if he will provide the names of the four independent experts the Government has appointed to advise on deep sea mining.
A
Answered by: Sir Alan Duncan
Answered on: 14 November 2018

We are not aware of the supposed four experts to which the Hon Member refers.

Q
(Hendon)
Asked on: 02 November 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Jeremy Corbyn
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of the potential implications for democracy in the UK of the US imposing sanctions on the official leader of the UK opposition.
A
Answered by: Sir Alan Duncan
Answered on: 12 November 2018

As far as we are aware no US sanctions are being considered against the Leader of the Opposition.

Q
Asked by Lyn Brown
(West Ham)
Asked on: 02 November 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Jair Bolsonaro
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what assessment he has made of the safety implications for (a) women, (b) LGBTQ and (c) black and minority ethnic people visiting Brazil of the election of Jair Bolsonaro.
A
Answered by: Sir Alan Duncan
Answered on: 12 November 2018

In our assessment, the election of Jair Bolsonaro has not changed the safety of women, LGBTQ, and black and minority ethnic people visiting Brazil. We advise all people planning to visit Brazil to consult FCO travel advice. We keep our travel advice under constant review and make regular updates to ensure it provides an up-to-date assessment of risks and other issues which may affect British Nationals.

Q
Asked by Lyn Brown
(West Ham)
Asked on: 02 November 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Jair Bolsonaro
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what assessment he has made of potential risks to (a) democratic institutions, (b) the rule of law, (c) freedom of the press and (d) human rights in Brazil as a result of the election of Jair Bolsonaro as that country’s President.
A
Answered by: Sir Alan Duncan
Answered on: 12 November 2018

Brazil is Latin America's largest democracy. It has strong institutions to guarantee the rule of law, freedom of the press and human rights with the clear separation of powers protected by the constitution. This has not been changed by the election of Jair Bolsonaro. We will continue to monitor the situation closely.

Q
(Hendon)
Asked on: 02 November 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Antarctic: Marine Protected Areas
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what progress has been made in securing support for a Marine Protected Area in the Weddell Sea.
A
Answered by: Sir Alan Duncan
Answered on: 12 November 2018

The UK remains fully committed to conserving the marine environment around Antarctica, in line with the objectives of the Antarctic Treaty and the Convention for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR). We have been working hard with our international partners to establish a network of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs), and gain agreement for MPAs in East Antarctica, the Weddell Sea and around the Antarctic Peninsula. It is not in our gift to implement the MPA unilaterally. It is subject to an international treaty. At the recent CCAMLR annual meeting, which concluded on 2 November 2018, these proposals were rejected by Russia and China. We remain committed to working with all CCAMLR Members to seek consensus at next year's meeting.

Q
(Hendon)
Asked on: 02 November 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Marine Protected Areas
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, (a) how much and (b) what proportion of the UK's maritime estate including the Overseas Territories is planned to be covered by a blue belt of marine protected areas by 2022.
A
Answered by: Sir Alan Duncan
Answered on: 12 November 2018

The UK Government is committed to creating a Blue Belt around the UK and its Overseas Territories, subject to local support and environmental need.

Over 3 million square kilometres of British waters have already been protected. The Blue Belt Programme, which runs from 2016 to 2020, will ensure that that over 4 million square kilometres are designated by 2020. This means that 60% of British waters will be protected and managed by 2020.

Q
(Coventry South)
[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 November 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Cuba: USA
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent discussions he has held with his counterparts in the US Administration on the US trade embargo of Cuba.
A
Answered by: Sir Alan Duncan
Answered on: 12 November 2018

The UK position on this matter is long-standing and well-known to the US Administration. We believe it diminishes the prospect for positive change in Cuba and we consider it to be counter-productive and damaging, including to UK interests. It is right that the UK has again voted in support of the Cuban resolution at this year's UN General Assembly on 1 November.

Q
(Islington South and Finsbury)
Asked on: 05 November 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
USA: Demonstrations
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what representations he has made to his US counterpart on President Trump’s proposed authorisation of the use of live fire against people throwing rocks at military personnel at the US border with Mexico.
A
Answered by: Sir Alan Duncan
Answered on: 12 November 2018

We have not made representations on this issue. It is the stated position of this Government that all countries have a responsibility to address migration issues in a humane, fair and effective way.

Q
(Glasgow South West)
[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 November 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Syria: Turkey
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what representations he has made to his Turkish counterpart on reports of recent heavy weaponry attacks by that country on northern and eastern Syria; and if he will make a statement.
A
Answered by: Sir Alan Duncan
Answered on: 12 November 2018

​We have made clear our concern to Turkey regarding incidents of cross-border firing into areas of Syria under the control of the Syrian Democratic Forces. We continue to engage closely with Turkey and other allies, including the US and EU partners, to achieve an outcome in northern Syria which respects Turkish security concerns while allowing for the successful completion of the counter-Daesh campaign.

Q
Asked by Ian Murray
(Edinburgh South)
[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 November 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Arms Trade
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what assessment he has made of the merits of strengthening the consolidated criteria for the sale of arms products by introducing an end use criteria post sale.
A
Answered by: Sir Alan Duncan
Answered on: 12 November 2018

The UK operates one of the most robust export licensing systems in the world. It considers whether the goods might be used in a way which is inconsistent with the Consolidated EU & National Arms Export Licensing Criteria. We also retain powers to revoke licences, once issued, if circumstances or information available to us change. End user certificates are considered as part of the process already.

We believe that our existing system is robust and delivers a high level of assurance. The Government is always looking to see how it can improve its export controls and we are in contact with countries who carry out some limited end use checks to see if there is anything we can learn from their experience.

Q
(Islington South and Finsbury)
[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: 06 November 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what the Government’s priorities have been for the 51st session of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organisation, held in Vienna on 5 to 7 November 2018.
A
Answered by: Sir Alan Duncan
Answered on: 12 November 2018

The UK has always strongly supported the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty and the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organisation (CTBTO). Our goal is to see this Treaty enter into force and bring an end to nuclear weapon test explosions or any other nuclear explosion. We used the Preparatory Committee to continue conversations on how to continue to best support the CTBTO. We continue to press for ratification by those countries who will bring the Treaty into force (Annex II countries). We continue to support the CTBTO's verification system, which is a unique and immensely important international asset. We have supported the 2019 Budget Update but have also called on all States Signatories in arrears of their assessed contributions to make payments to reduce their arrears as a matter of urgency. We continue to participate in and support both of the CTBTO's working groups.

Q
Asked by John Spellar
(Warley)
Asked on: 06 November 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Venezuela: Politics and Government
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what representations his Department has made to the Government of Venezuela in respect of the killing of and assaults made against opposition politicians; and if he will make a statement.
A
Answered by: Sir Alan Duncan
Answered on: 12 November 2018

As I stated in my Chatham House speech on 25 October, we are extremely concerned at the Venezuelan government's continued attacks on opposition politicians, a number of whom have been imprisoned, exiled or stripped of their political rights. The illegal detention of National Assembly MP Juan Requesens and the death of Fernando Alban whilst detained by the Venezuelan Intelligence Service are both particularly disturbing.

In October, our Ambassador met the Venezuelan Foreign Minister, Jorge Arreaza, and the Vice-Minister for Europe, Yvan Gil, and expressed our concerns. In London, the Head, Latin America Department, FCO, called in the Venezuelan Ambassador to express our concern about Mr Requessens and to urge the Venezuelan government to release all political prisoners.

Q
(North East Fife)
Asked on: 31 October 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Foreign and Commonwealth Office: Staff
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what the gender balance percentage is of full-time permanent contract staff in his Department.
A
Answered by: Sir Alan Duncan
Answered on: 08 November 2018

At 31st March 2018, 43.4% of full time staff on a permanent contract are female.

Q
(North East Fife)
Asked on: 31 October 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Foreign and Commonwealth Office: Temporary Employment
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what the gender balance percentage is of temporary contract staff in his Department.
A
Answered by: Sir Alan Duncan
Answered on: 08 November 2018

The FCO does not hold diversity data on temporary contract staff.

Q
(North East Fife)
Asked on: 31 October 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Foreign and Commonwealth Office: Females
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, how many women were employed by his Department in each year since 2000.
A
Answered by: Sir Alan Duncan
Answered on: 08 November 2018

Data for years 2000 - 2017:

2017 - 42%, 2016 - 43.2%, 2015 - 42.8%. 2014 - 43%, 2013 - 43%, 2012 - 44%, 2011 - 44.1%, 2010 - record unavailable , 2009 - 41%, 2008 - 40.9% , 2007 - 40.1%, 2006 - 42.5%, 2005 - 41%, 2004 - 39.8% , 2003 - record unavailable , 2002 - record unavailable, 2001 - 37.7% , 2000 - record unavailable

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