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
(Romford)
Asked on: 17 July 2019
Home Office
Terrorism: British Nationals Abroad
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many UK nationals are suspected of leaving the UK in order to support the activities of Boko Haram and their splinter group Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) in West Africa in the last five years.
A
Answered by: Mr Ben Wallace
Answered on: 23 July 2019

For reasons of national security we cannot be specific about the number of UK nationals suspected of leaving the UK in order to support the activities of Boko Haram or Islamic State West Africa Province.

Anyone who returns to the UK from engaging in terrorist activities overseas should expect to be investigated to determine if they have committed criminal offences or pose a threat to our national security. Where evidence of crimes exist, those responsible should expect to be prosecuted for them. Decisions on prosecution are taken independently of Government by the police and the Crown Prosecution Service.

Q
Asked by John Spellar
(Warley)
[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 July 2019
Home Office
Hezbollah
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps his Department has taken to tackle the domestic operations of Hezbollah since its full proscription.
A
Answered by: Mr Ben Wallace
Answered on: 22 July 2019

Investigations into the activities of proscribed terrorist organisations are an operational matter for the police and intelligence agencies. The Government does not comment on intelligence matters.

Q
Asked by Joan Ryan
(Enfield 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: 16 July 2019
Home Office
Hezbollah
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to the Answer of 18 January 2018 to Question 122667 on Hezbollah, whether his policy on not collecting that data has changed since the Government's decision to proscribe Hezbollah in its entirety in February 2019.
A
Answered by: Mr Ben Wallace
Answered on: 22 July 2019

The Government’s approach to this issue has not changed. Investigations into individuals who may be members or supporters of proscribed organisations are an operational matter for the police and intelligence agencies. The department does not collect data on specific numbers of Hizballah members or supporters in the UK.

Q
Asked by Joan Ryan
(Enfield 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: 16 July 2019
Home Office
al Qaeda
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what information he holds on the number of Al Qaeda (a) members and (b) supporters in the UK.
A
Answered by: Mr Ben Wallace
Answered on: 22 July 2019

For reasons of national security, it would not be appropriate to disclose figures on the number of Al Qaeda affiliated individuals in the UK.

Membership and support for a proscribed terrorist organisation is an offence under sections 11 and 12 of the terrorism act 2000. The police and security services work day and night to keep the public safe, they are currently managing nearly 800 live investigations of around 3,000 individuals.

Q
Asked by Joan Ryan
(Enfield 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: 16 July 2019
Home Office
Islamic State
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what information he holds on the number of Daesh (a) members and (b) supporters in the UK.
A
Answered by: Mr Ben Wallace
Answered on: 22 July 2019

For reasons of national security, it would not be appropriate to disclose figures on the number of Da’esh affiliated individuals in the UK.

Membership and support for a proscribed terrorist organisation is an offence under sections 11 and 12 of the terrorism act 2000. The police and security services work day and night to keep the public safe, they are currently managing nearly 800 live investigations of around 3,000 individuals.

Q
(Haltemprice and Howden)
Asked on: 09 July 2019
Home Office
Intelligence Services
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to the Answer of 2 July 2019 to Question 268377 on Intelligence Services, what immediate and substantial mitigating actions were taken by MI5 to address the concerns raised.
A
Answered by: Mr Ben Wallace
Answered on: 18 July 2019

I cannot discuss the sensitive details of the mitigating actions that MI5 have undertaken, as doing so could cause significant damage to national security.

As the Home Secretary said in his Written Ministerial Statement of 9 May, the Investigatory Powers Commissioner is satisfied that they are sufficient for him to continue lawfully to approve decisions to issue warrants to MI5.

Q
(Stevenage)
Asked on: 11 July 2019
Home Office
Personal Records: Databases
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps the Government is taking to prevent the procurement of personal information by criminal organisations.
A
Answered by: Mr Ben Wallace
Answered on: 18 July 2019

The lawful use of personal information in the United Kingdom is governed by the General Data Protection Regulation (EU) 2016/79 and the Data Protection Act which this Government passed in 2018, and overseen by the independent Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO). The ICO carries out a wide programme of activity (such as investigation into reported data breaches and audits of organisations’ processing) which helps to ensure that organisations meet their obligations with regard to protecting the personal information they hold from being misused or falling into criminal hands. It can also issue Enforcement Notices requiring organisations to take certain actions, and can impose fines of up to 4% of annual turnover or €20m (whichever is higher) for serious breaches of Data Protection.

The Government has strengthened the law enforcement response to cyber crime, including to disrupt and deter criminal efforts to gain personal information through hacking and other computer misuse offences. Through the National Cyber Security Programme (NCSP), the Home Office has invested over £200 million since 2010, in the law enforcement response to the cyber crime threat, and we continue to invest. In the last year we have seen the launch of specialist Cyber Crime Units in every local police force, supported by funding from Government. We continue to invest in improving the capabilities of the NCA’s National Cyber Crime Unit (NCCU) and of the cyber teams in each of the Regional Organised Crime Units (ROCUs) across England and Wales.

Through the Government’s Cyber Aware programme we have also provided the public and small businesses with the latest advice on how to take simple steps that will protect them and their personal information from cyber crime.

We have launched a new three year programme led by the Home Office to tackle illicit use of the dark web. This will build on the ongoing investigative work of policing and intelligence agencies to disrupt and bring to justice those who use the anonymity of the Dark Web to trade in illegal goods and services, including personal data.

Q
Asked by Afzal Khan
(Manchester, Gorton)
[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 July 2019
Home Office
Counter-terrorism
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to the Answer of 27 June 2019 to Question HL16344, whether he plans to include the appointment of the Independent Reviewer of Prevent in the Schedule to the Public Appointments Order in Council 2016.
A
Answered by: Mr Ben Wallace
Answered on: 18 July 2019

Short term appointments of this nature are not usually included in the Schedule to the Public Appointments Order in Council. Best practice with regards to public appointments will be followed as outlined in the Cabinet Office Governance Code on Public Appointments 2016.

Bearing in mind the timescale set out in legislation, the role of Independent Reviewer of Prevent is not being advertised. The Home Secretary will make the appointment, and Ministers have been considering potential candidates for the role of Reviewer with a view to announcing the name of the Reviewer, along with the agreed Terms of Reference, to Parliament when a decision has been made.

Grouped Questions: 277294
Q
Asked by Afzal Khan
(Manchester, Gorton)
[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 July 2019
Home Office
Counter-terrorism
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what the timetable is for the advertisement for the role of independent reviewer of prevent; and where it will be published.
A
Answered by: Mr Ben Wallace
Answered on: 18 July 2019

Short term appointments of this nature are not usually included in the Schedule to the Public Appointments Order in Council. Best practice with regards to public appointments will be followed as outlined in the Cabinet Office Governance Code on Public Appointments 2016.

Bearing in mind the timescale set out in legislation, the role of Independent Reviewer of Prevent is not being advertised. The Home Secretary will make the appointment, and Ministers have been considering potential candidates for the role of Reviewer with a view to announcing the name of the Reviewer, along with the agreed Terms of Reference, to Parliament when a decision has been made.

Grouped Questions: 277293
Q
Asked by Lyn Brown
(West Ham)
Asked on: 08 July 2019
Home Office
Radicalism: Germany
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if he will make an assessment of the accuracy of recent reports that the extreme right-wing Nordkreuz network in Germany (a) compiled a death list of tens of thousands of individuals, including the recently murdered politician Walter Lubke, (b) stockpiled weapons and ammunition, and sought to procure materials to enable rapid disposal of bodies and (c) includes individuals within the German police and military, some of whom have made use of their access to Government data to identify targets for terrorist activity; and if he will make a statement.
A
Answered by: Mr Ben Wallace
Answered on: 15 July 2019

The Government takes the threat from all forms of extremism seriously. We undertake a large number of assessments of the threat, including analysis of links between extremist groups overseas and those in the United Kingdom.

Q
Asked by Henry Smith
(Crawley)
Asked on: 02 July 2019
Home Office
Science: Research
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if he will bring forward legislative proposals to support human-relevant science.
A
Answered by: Mr Ben Wallace
Answered on: 10 July 2019

This Government promotes advances in biomedical science and technologies that include stem cell research, in vitro systems that mimic the function of human organs, imaging and new computer modelling techniques.

These advances are providing new opportunities to reduce reliance on the use of animals in research. Animals can only be used where there is no practicable alternatives and where the 3Rs (replacement, reduction and refinement) have been fully implemented. There are no plans to legislate for conducting human-relevant science.

Q
Asked by Lyn Brown
(West Ham)
Asked on: 04 July 2019
Home Office
Radicalism: Germany
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if he will make an assessment of potential links between the Nordkreuz network in Germany and extremist groups in the UK.
A
Answered by: Mr Ben Wallace
Answered on: 09 July 2019

The Government takes the threat from all forms of extremism seriously. We undertake a large number of assessments of the threat, including analysis of links between extremist groups overseas and those in the United Kingdom.

Q
(Blackpool 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: 17 June 2019
Home Office
Higher Education: Radicalism
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, when the Government plans to redraft the Higher Education Prevent Duty Guidance following the Court of Appeal’s verdict that paragraph 11 is unlawful; and if he will consult with organisations from the higher education sector on that redraft.
A
Answered by: Mr Ben Wallace
Answered on: 08 July 2019

The Court of Appeal’s judgment that one paragraph in the Prevent Duty Guidance for Higher Education Institutions in England and Wales is unlawful (which applies correspondingly to the same or similar paragraphs in the Prevent Duty Guidance documents for higher education in Scotland, and for further education institutions in England and Wales, and in Scotland) does not affect the rest of the guidance documents, which should continue to be read as before.

The Government continues to consider its position regarding its next steps in relation to this judgment. Any redraft of the guidance documents will be made in consultation with the higher education sector, and in the meantime higher and further education institutions affected by the Prevent duty should refer to the court’s judgment, in particular paragraphs 158 to 177.

Q
Asked by Chris Elmore
(Ogmore)
Asked on: 26 June 2019
Home Office
Fraud: Criminal Investigation
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, with reference to Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services report entitled Fraud: Time to Choose: An inspection of the police response to fraud, published in April 2019, what steps he has taken in response to the recommendations in that report on improving the police response to fraud.
A
Answered by: Mr Ben Wallace
Answered on: 03 July 2019

The former Home Secretary commissioned this report because we wanted a much clearer view of how fraud was being investigated and what improvements were needed.

We welcome the report and we are now working to ensure the report’s recommendations are implemented effectively, including supporting the City of London Police to develop a national fraud policing strategy which sets out the roles and responsibilities of each organisation involved in tackling fraud and how the police response to fraud at the national, regional and local level will be improved.

We are also working closely with Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) to understand how they plan to respond to the report’s recommendations that fall to them to implement.

Q
Asked by Chris Elmore
(Ogmore)
Asked on: 26 June 2019
Home Office
City of London Police: Fraud
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what additional funding he has made available to the City of London Police in their capacity as the national lead for fraud to support a cohesive response to fraud across the UK.
A
Answered by: Mr Ben Wallace
Answered on: 03 July 2019

We have allocated £2.25m to the City of London Police this financial year for them to carry out their duties as national lead for fraud.

Q
Asked by Chris Elmore
(Ogmore)
Asked on: 26 June 2019
Home Office
Business: Fraud
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what plans he has to open more economic crime victim care units.
A
Answered by: Mr Ben Wallace
Answered on: 03 July 2019

The National Economic Crime Victim Care Unit pilot is led by the City of London Police. Working with the Metropolitan Police Service, Greater Manchester, West Midlands, Nottingham and Kent police forces, the pilot is determining how to provide a service to the large numbers of victims of fraud and cyber crime while ensuring every victim gets the right level of support dependent on their individual need. Further roll out of the service to other police force areas will be dependent on a full evaluation.

Q
Asked by Chris Elmore
(Ogmore)
Asked on: 26 June 2019
Home Office
Trading Standards: Finance
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what funding he has allocated for the National Trading Standards local multi-agency hubs.
A
Answered by: Mr Ben Wallace
Answered on: 03 July 2019

The former Home Secretary commissioned this report because we wanted a much clearer view of how fraud was being investigated and what improvements were needed.

We welcome the report and we are now working to ensure the report’s recommendations are implemented effectively, including supporting the City of London Police to develop a national fraud policing strategy which sets out the roles and responsibilities of each organisation involved in tackling fraud and how the police response to fraud at the national, regional and local level will be improved.

We are also working closely with Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) to understand how they plan to respond to the report’s recommendations that fall to them to implement.

Q
Asked by Chris Elmore
(Ogmore)
Asked on: 27 June 2019
Home Office
Bank Services: Fraud
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what recent discussions his Department has had with banks on the retrospective application of the Authorised Push Payment Scams voluntary code.
A
Answered by: Mr Ben Wallace
Answered on: 03 July 2019

A new industry voluntary Contingent Reimbursement Model Code for Authorised Push Payment Scam was introduced on 28 May 2019.


Customers of those payment service providers that are signatories are protected under the Code from this date. At the outset of the design of the Code, the steering group stated that it will only apply to APP scams occurring after its implementation.

Q
Asked by Chris Elmore
(Ogmore)
Asked on: 27 June 2019
Home Office
Telecommunications: Fraud
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what estimate he has made of the number of targeted automated phone scams reported in 2018.
A
Answered by: Mr Ben Wallace
Answered on: 03 July 2019

We do not hold this data centrally. Information on recorded fraud levels can be downloaded and found in table A5 of the Office of National Statistics website, at the following address:

https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/crimeandjustice/datasets/crimeinenglandandwalesappendixtables

The particular breakdown of reported, targeted automated phone scams reported in 2018 may be recorded under other fraud headings.

Q
(Haltemprice and Howden)
Asked on: 01 July 2019
Home Office
Electronic Surveillance
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment he has made of the implications for his Department’s policies in relation to the definition of applicable crime in Part 3 of the Investigatory Powers Act 2016 of the finding of the Court of Justice of the European Union in Secretary of State for the Home Department v Watson & Others that surveillance data retained for the purposes of fighting crime should be restricted solely to serious crime.
A
Answered by: Mr Ben Wallace
Answered on: 03 July 2019

The retention of, and ability to access, communications data is an essential tool for intelligence and law enforcement agencies. The Government is committed to ensuring that our investigatory powers legislation is compliant with EU law.

The Government gave careful consideration to judgments by the European Court of Justice and the domestic Courts, implementing changes to UK law to ensure our communications data regime was compliant, while still ensuring our intelligence and law enforcement agencies have the powers they need to solve crimes, catch child sexual offenders and protect the public.

After consulting widely on our proposed changes and following scrutiny by both Houses of Parliament, the Government passed the Data Retention and Acquisition Regulations in October 2018 which introduced a serious crime threshold for acquiring events communications data.

In deciding on the definition of serious crime in the context of communications data, the Government fully considered the intrusiveness of the power.

This approach is consistent with EU case law, which states that the offence must be serious to justify a serious level of intrusion involved in accessing communications data. The Government’s approach reflects this level of intrusion. Events data is more intrusive than entity data and therefore a higher threshold must apply, but it is not as intrusive as interception powers, which can only be acquired if the definition of seriousness set out at section 263 of the Investigatory Powers Act is met.
The approach taken by the Regulations seeks to reflect the fact the level of intrusion will vary depending on the data sought and the circumstances of the case while also establishing a clear bar below which the acquisition of the more intrusive communications data is prohibited.

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