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
Asked by Gareth Thomas
(Harrow West)
Asked on: 11 February 2019
Ministry of Defence
Ministry of Defence: Brexit
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, which EU agencies his Department plans to seek continued membership of after the UK has left the EU; and if he will make a statement.
A
Answered by: Mark Lancaster
Answered on: 18 February 2019

During the Implementation Period, the terms of the UK's participation in EU agencies and bodies will be as set out in Article 128 of the Withdrawal Agreement.

Following our exit from the European Union, we are committed to maintaining a close and collaborative relationship with the EU. Our future partnership is a matter for the next phase of negotiations and we look forward to constructive discussions with the EU.

Q
(Carmarthen East and Dinefwr)
[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: 13 February 2019
Ministry of Defence
Military Aid
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what discussions he has had with Cabinet colleagues on the need for having troops on standby to deal with contingencies in the event of the UK leaving the EU without a deal.
A
Answered by: Mark Lancaster
Answered on: 18 February 2019

Whilst there have been no formal requests for military support in the event of a no deal Brexit, the Ministry of Defence (MOD) has engaged with other Government Departments and local authorities. This engagement, including at Cabinet level, has resulted in the development of a package of 3,500 regular and reserve personnel put on standby to support the implementation of 'no deal' contingency plans. These personnel are in addition to existing MOD plans to respond to incidents in the UK under the Military Aid to the Civil Authorities policy.

Q
(Carmarthen East and Dinefwr)
[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: 13 February 2019
Ministry of Defence
Civil Disorder
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what plans his Department has to use troops to control potential civil unrest in the event of the UK leaving the EU without a deal.
A
Answered by: Mark Lancaster
Answered on: 18 February 2019

The maintenance of public order is the responsibility of the police. There are no plans to utilise military personnel for public order in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

Q
Asked by Nigel Dodds
(Belfast North)
Asked on: 13 February 2019
Ministry of Defence
Iraq: Islamic State
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, with reference to the Department for International Development's press release entitled UK aid removing Daesh explosives and helping Iraqis return home, published in January 2019, what personnel deployment is part of the extra £5 million allocated by the Government to assist with clearing Daesh explosives in Iraq.
A
Answered by: Mark Lancaster
Answered on: 18 February 2019

The extra £5 million allocated by the Department for International Development in January to demining is all going to the UN Mine Action Service, who will work with contractors to clear explosive devices in Iraq. This work is humanitarian in nature, with the focus being on the removal of mines from hospitals, schools and people's homes. No military personnel are therefore deployed to this task. However, UK forces are training the Iraqi Security Forces in countering improvised explosive devices (IED) in a military context. This training increases the capabilities of the Iraqi forces to deal with the ongoing threat the country faces from Daesh IEDs.

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: 13 February 2019
Ministry of Defence
Army: Deployment
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, when he next proposes to deploy a largely fully formed and supported Division into the Field for Divisional movement and manoeuvre training.
A
Answered by: Mark Lancaster
Answered on: 18 February 2019

I refer the hon. Member to the answer given by my noble Friend, the Minister of State, Ministry of Defence (Earl Howe) on 8 January 2019 in the House of Lords (Official Report, column 2118).

Q
Asked by Gareth Thomas
(Harrow West)
Asked on: 07 February 2019
Ministry of Defence
Ministry of Defence: Brexit
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, how many officials from his Department have been seconded from their primary role to make preparations for the UK leaving the EU without a deal; and if he will make a statement.
A
Answered by: Mark Lancaster
Answered on: 15 February 2019

It is the top priority of the Government to leave the EU with a deal, but it is also the responsibility of Government to prepare for all scenarios, including the prospect of a no deal. The Civil Service is focused on delivering the Government's most pressing priorities, so it is only sensible that we make use of the resources and expertise we have available to make sure the UK is prepared for all Brexit scenarios on exit day. This includes Departments sharing staff and working together on joint projects. The number of staff being seconded from the Ministry of Defence as part of a coordinated exercise is yet to be determined.

Q
(Bridgend)
Asked on: 08 February 2019
Ministry of Defence
France: Military Alliances
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to the Answer of 29 January 2019 to Question 212337, when his Department plans to nominate the Type 45 Destroyer which will escort the French Aircraft Carrier, Charles De Gaulle when it departs for its operational cruise of the Indian and Pacific oceans.
A
Answered by: Mark Lancaster
Answered on: 15 February 2019

As stated in my answer of 29 January 2019 to Question 212337, this remains subject to confirmation through the Departmental planning process.

Q
Asked by Nia Griffith
(Llanelli)
[N]
Close

Named Day

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

Asked on: 11 February 2019
Ministry of Defence
HMS Queen Elizabeth: Deployment
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, when HMS Queen Elizabeth will embark on her first deployment; what the total number of personnel in the basic and wider crew expected to be on board is; and what further capabilities will accompany her.
A
Answered by: Mark Lancaster
Answered on: 14 February 2019

HMS Queen Elizabeth's first operational deployment will be in 2021.

A Maritime Task Group will be tailored to meet the required task. The precise number and mix of vessels, and therefore the number of personnel, would depend on the operational circumstances at the time.

Q
Asked by Nia Griffith
(Llanelli)
[N]
Close

Named Day

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

Asked on: 11 February 2019
Ministry of Defence
Armed Forces: Joint Exercises
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, how many personnel will be provided for Exercise Joint Warrior.
A
Answered by: Mark Lancaster
Answered on: 14 February 2019

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave her on 7 February 2019, to Question 217061.

217061 - Armed Forces: Joint Exercises (Word Document, 28.31 KB)
Q
Asked by Nia Griffith
(Llanelli)
[N]
Close

Named Day

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

Asked on: 11 February 2019
Ministry of Defence
Bomber Command: Military Decorations
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of extending the Bomber Command clasp criteria to include aircrew based outside of the UK.
A
Answered by: Mark Lancaster
Answered on: 14 February 2019

I refer the hon. Member to the answer given by my noble Friend, the Minister of State for Defence (Earl Howe), on 1 April 2016 to Question HL7344 in the House of Lords.

https://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/Lords/2016-03-23/HL7344/

Q
(Romford)
Asked on: 05 February 2019
Ministry of Defence
Armed Forces: ICT
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what plans he has to increase the cyber skill capability of the armed forces.
A
Answered by: Mark Lancaster
Answered on: 13 February 2019

Cyber is becoming an essential part of core military training. A dedicated state-of-the-art Defence Cyber School has opened at the Defence Academy, to deliver a centre of excellence for cyber training and exercising for defence and wider government.

The Defence Cyber School is approaching its first anniversary and has already trained specialist cyber military and civilian personnel, primarily from the Ministry of Defence (MOD). Its capacity will increase in 2019 and again in 2020.

A foundation training pathway is being implemented in 2019 which provides a recognised route to train personnel to pre-determined, internationally recognised cyber standards, providing the core skills to work in a range of key cyber roles across Defence.

The Defence Cyber School also has a synthetic training capability which supports the core skills taught in the classroom. This capability is available government wide and allows those in a Cyber specialist role to train flexibly away from the classroom and to maintain their skills to combat skill fade in this rapidly developing domain.

From a wider cross-Government civil perspective, Cabinet Office are leading on the development of a Government Security Profession and are working in partnership with the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) and all Government Departments to deliver a capability framework for cyber security professionals. The MOD is heavily engaged in this, with initial focus being on strengthening risk management and security architecture. The Cyber Security capability framework is planned for release in June 2019.

Q
(Romford)
Asked on: 05 February 2019
Ministry of Defence
Ascension Island: Airports
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, whether he plans to ask the US Air Force to speed up repairs of the runway on Ascension Island.
A
Answered by: Mark Lancaster
Answered on: 13 February 2019

Ministry of Defence officials are working closely with the US Air Force to ensure the effective delivery of a full runway resurface on Ascension Island. The isolated and remote location of Ascension Island creates a number of logistical challenges for such a large scale infrastructure project, but I am confident the project will be delivered in a timely manner and to the highest of standards.

Q
(Romford)
Asked on: 05 February 2019
Ministry of Defence
Ascension Island and St Helena: Airports
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what progress his Department is making on improving communications with the Department for International Development on matters relating to the British Overseas Territories of St Helena and Ascension Island airports.
A
Answered by: Mark Lancaster
Answered on: 13 February 2019

Cross-Government working is the norm and there is regular engagement between Departments on the British Overseas Territories.

Q
(Shrewsbury and Atcham)
Asked on: 07 February 2019
Ministry of Defence
Navy: South China Sea
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what steps the Government is taking to increase the (a) number and (b) frequency of Royal Navy exercises in the South China Sea.
A
Answered by: Mark Lancaster
Answered on: 13 February 2019

The UK has enduring interests in the region and is committed to maintaining regional peace, prosperity and security, and upholding the Rules Based International System. Royal Navy vessels will therefore continue to regularly operate, navigate and exercise within the South China Sea, including with regional allies and partners. Furthermore, the UK is committed to asserting rights of freedom of navigation and overflight across the globe.

In 2018 HMS Sutherland, HMS Albion and HMS Argyll deployed to the Asia Pacific to provide a near-persistent presence in support of regional security as well as the enforcement of United Nations Security Council (UNSCR) sanctions on North Korea's illegal weapons programmes. HMS Montrose is currently in the region and will shortly undertake further support to UNSCR sanctions enforcement and a range of regional engagements.

Q
Asked by Leo Docherty
(Aldershot)
Asked on: 07 February 2019
Ministry of Defence
Gurkhas: Recruitment
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what plans he has to recruit more Gurkhas into the British Army; and if he will make a statement.
A
Answered by: Mark Lancaster
Answered on: 13 February 2019

Gurkhas continue to make an outstanding contribution to the UK through their service in the British Army and are rightly held in high esteem. Gurkhas are recruited on an annual basis, based on the requirements set by the Brigade of Gurkhas, and we plan to continue annual recruiting on an enduring basis.

Q
(Dwyfor Meirionnydd)
[N]
Close

Named Day

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

Asked on: 08 February 2019
Ministry of Defence
Army: Recruitment
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to the Answer of 9 January 2019 to Question 205364 on Army: Recruitment, when he plans to place a copy of the Capita brief in the Library.
A
Answered by: Mark Lancaster
Answered on: 13 February 2019

A copy of the brief has been placed in the Library of the House, with a small number of redactions for commercial reasons. I attach a copy to this response for your convenience.

Campaign Brief 2019-20 (PDF Document, 535.45 KB)
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: 08 February 2019
Ministry of Defence
Armed Forces: Mental Health
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what steps his Department is taking to support the mental health of new recruits in the armed forces.
A
Answered by: Mark Lancaster
Answered on: 13 February 2019

The Ministry of Defence is absolutely committed to the mental health of all Service personnel. Maintaining good mental health, and providing treatment when required, is fundamental to maintaining a fit, healthy, and effective military force. Our operating model, as set out in the 2017 Mental Health and Wellbeing Strategy, focuses on the four main strands of Promote, Prevent, Detect and Treat.

Recruits are entitled to the same primary and specialist mental healthcare as their trained counterparts, and initial training includes sessions on stress management, including how to recognise the early signs of a problem, and where to obtain help. A key issue is tackling the perceived stigma around mental health, and this is reinforced by training in programs such as Mental Health First Aid and Trauma Risk Management (TRiM).

For personnel who do need treatment, we can provide a wide range of psychiatric and psychological treatments. The backbone of this care is formed by our 11 military Departments of Community Mental Health (DCMHs) across the UK, plus a network of six satellite mental health teams and a range of visiting clinics, all of which support the provision of healthcare that is available through Service primary care facilities.

Last year, the Secretary of State for Defence announced an additional £2million of annual funding for military mental health services, on top of the £20million a year already spent. Nationally, staffing in DCMHs has increased by 12 posts, and we are working with our in-patient hospital provider (Midlands Partnership Foundation Trust) to provide additional access to treatment through an outpatient psychotherapy service.

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: 08 February 2019
Ministry of Defence
Libya: al Qaeda
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what recent assessment his Department has made of the strength of al-Qaeda in Libya; and if he will make a statement.
A
Answered by: Mark Lancaster
Answered on: 13 February 2019

The Ministry of Defence does not routinely assess the strength of al-Qaeda in Libya; al-Qaeda has suffered losses and is not the dominant security threat in Libya, although it has long maintained a presence in The South of Libya. The ongoing instability has provided greater freedom of movement, as a result, al-Qaeda has been able to plan and co-ordinate activity that aims to destabilise the local region.

Q
Asked by Leo Docherty
(Aldershot)
Asked on: 04 February 2019
Ministry of Defence
Gurkhas: Pensions
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, if he will take steps to increase the pension for former Gurkha soldiers; and if will he make a statement.
A
Answered by: Mark Lancaster
Answered on: 12 February 2019

The Government is committed to ensuring that Gurkha veterans continue to receive a fair pension which provides for a good standard of living in Nepal. Gurkha pensions are currently increased in two ways. The first is through an annual increase based on the rate of inflation set by the Nepali Central Bank each year. The second is following a review of the outcome of the 10 yearly Indian Central Pay Commission to determine whether changes made to Indian pension rates, which Gurkha pension rates are currently based on, require increases to be made to British Gurkha Pension rates. The latest review is nearly complete and we expect to announce the outcome in due course.

Q
(Romford)
Asked on: 05 February 2019
Ministry of Defence
Japan: Military Alliances
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what steps he is taking to strengthen the defence and security relationship between the UK and Japan.
A
Answered by: Mark Lancaster
Answered on: 12 February 2019

In 2017 Prime Ministers May and Abe signed a Joint Declaration on Security Cooperation and reaffirmed this in January 2019 during Prime Minister Abe's visit to the UK. We have delivered on this throughout 2018 by deploying three Royal Navy ships to the region which exercised with the Japanese Self-Defense Forces, and conducted the first-ever UK land exercise in Japan. In addition, we are developing an administrative and legal framework to support further exercises, operations, and capability partnerships, including the possibility of exploring cooperation on future combat aircraft and air-to-air missiles.

During HMS Montrose's upcoming deployment to the region, in support of United Nations Security Council Resolutions against North Korea, she will take the opportunity to exercise with the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force.

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