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: 21 May 2019
Ministry of Defence
Republic of Ireland: Military Alliances
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what steps he is taking to increase defence and security co-operation with the Republic of Ireland.
A
Answered by: Mark Lancaster
Answered on: 23 May 2019

Levels of co-operation with the Republic of Ireland have developed significantly since the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding on Defence and Security Co-operation in 2015. This is underpinned by an action plan which provides a framework to enhance our bilateral defence and security relationship in a number of key areas, including increased training opportunities, cyber defence, maritime and air security, and information-sharing. Opportunities for further bilateral co-operation are reviewed through regular consultations at both the policy and military level.

Q
(Christchurch)
Asked on: 16 May 2019
Ministry of Defence
Armed Forces: Chemical Weapons
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what assessment she has made of the effectiveness of medical measures to protect members of the armed forces against nerve agents following the incidents in Salisbury and Amesbury last year.
A
Answered by: Mark Lancaster
Answered on: 22 May 2019

The response to this unique incident in the UK was predominately led by other Government Departments, supported by the Ministry of Defence (MOD). Post event there was detailed examination of the properties of the nerve agent and its medical management by military and civilian scientific and medical communities, re-affirming the effectiveness of our current Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) medical countermeasures and the importance of continuing medical care.


The MOD, in collaboration with countermeasure development partners, will use the information and lessons identified for future capability development as well as the continuing training of first responders and medical personnel. Furthermore, the UK has shared valuable information with its allies to allow them to assess their CBRN medical countermeasures and maximise interoperability.

Q
(Romford)
Asked on: 17 May 2019
Ministry of Defence
Clyde Naval Base: Unmanned Air Vehicles
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what assessment she has made of the adequacy of safeguards for submarines relating to drone activity when entering or leaving Faslane.
A
Answered by: Mark Lancaster
Answered on: 22 May 2019

We employ a range of security measures to counter threats to our national security. I am withholding further details as publication would, or would be likely to, prejudice the capability, effectiveness or security of the Armed Forces.

Q
Asked by David Simpson
(Upper Bann)
Asked on: 14 May 2019
Ministry of Defence
Electronic Warfare
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what recent discussions has she had with Home Secretary on the level of the cyber threat facing the UK.
A
Answered by: Mark Lancaster
Answered on: 21 May 2019

I have regular discussions on cyber threats with colleagues across Government. We take the cyber threat very seriously, and are strengthening our defences against increasingly sophisticated attacks. Our approach to cyber defence includes a wide range of technical, operational and administrative measures.

Q
(Romford)
Asked on: 15 May 2019
Ministry of Defence
Baltic States: Navy
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, how many times UK ships have visited the Baltic states as part of Standing NATO Maritime Group One since 2015.
A
Answered by: Mark Lancaster
Answered on: 21 May 2019

Since 2015 UK Naval ships have visited the Baltic states as part of Standing NATO Maritime Group 1 for six visits and as part of Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Group 1 for 15 visits.

Q
Asked by David Simpson
(Upper Bann)
Asked on: 14 May 2019
Ministry of Defence
Armed Forces: Young People
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, how many 16 year olds signed up to the armed forces in each of the last three years.
A
Answered by: Mark Lancaster
Answered on: 20 May 2019

Information on the number of 16-year olds who have joined the UK Regular Armed Forces in the requested period is provided in the table below:

Intake to Regulars at 16 years old by Service, 12-month period to 30 September

Date

12 months to 30 September 2016

12 months to 30 September 2017

12 months to 30 September 2018

All Services

1,140

660

1,530

Royal Navy/ Royal Marines

100

100

140

Army

1,000

500

1,330

Royal Air Force

40

60

70

Notes:

  1. UK Regulars comprise of full-time Service personnel, including Nursing Services, but excluding Full Time Reserve Service personnel, Gurkhas, mobilised Reservists, Military Provost Guard Service, Locally Engaged Personnel and Non-Regular Permanent Staff.

  1. Figures have been rounded to the nearest 10, though numbers ending in a “5” have been rounded to the nearest multiple of 20 to prevent the systematic bias caused by always rounding numbers upwards.

Q
Asked by David Simpson
(Upper Bann)
Asked on: 14 May 2019
Ministry of Defence
Armed Forces: Deployment
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what her Department's policy is on the deployment of armed personnel to countries where UK citizens have been assessed as at risk.
A
Answered by: Mark Lancaster
Answered on: 20 May 2019

The Ministry of Defence takes its responsibility for mitigation of the risks to Armed Forces personnel deployed overseas very seriously. We take a risk-based approach to deployments and consider each on a case by case basis; identified risks are factored into decision making and appropriate action is taken to ensure the safety and security of our Armed forces personnel overseas.

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: 14 May 2019
Ministry of Defence
Saudi Arabia: Military Aid
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant the Answer of 9 May 2019 to Question 250791 on Saudi Arabia: Military Aid, what the (a) roles and (b) functions are of the 60 RAF personnel not embedded with BAE stationed inside Saudi Arabia.
A
Answered by: Mark Lancaster
Answered on: 20 May 2019

The RAF personnel stationed inside Saudi Arabia perform routine engineering, generic training support and liaison roles.

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: 14 May 2019
Ministry of Defence
Turkey: Guided Weapons
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what representations she has made to the Government of Turkey on its potential acquisition of a Russian S-400 missile.
A
Answered by: Mark Lancaster
Answered on: 20 May 2019

My right hon. Friend the Defence Secretary has not yet had the opportunity to speak with her Turkish counterpart, but we have repeatedly raised our concerns about the proposed Turkish purchase of the Russian S-400 air and missile defence system, at Ministerial and official level. Turkey is a valued NATO ally, on the front line of some of the UK and the Alliance's most difficult security challenges. Defence equipment procurement decisions are for nations, but all NATO Allies have committed to reducing their dependence on Russian-sourced military equipment. The proposed purchase would pose real challenges for the interoperability of NATO systems.

Q
(Nuneaton)
Asked on: 09 May 2019
Ministry of Defence
Veterans: Prosecutions
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, whether her Department plans to introduce new protections to safeguard veterans from prosecution in relation to historic killings.
A
Answered by: Mark Lancaster
Answered on: 17 May 2019

The Ministry of Defence (MOD) intends to undertake a public consultation on legal protections measures for personnel deployed on operations overseas, including a statutory presumption against prosecution of current or former personnel for alleged offences committed in the course of duty abroad more than 10 years previously. Prosecutions in such circumstances would not be considered to be in the public interest, except in “exceptional circumstances”. The presumption measure would not apply to historical alleged offences in Northern Ireland. The Secretary of State for Defence will continue to work with the Northern Ireland Secretary on the proposals for addressing Northern Ireland legacy issues. The MOD provides veterans, including those who served in Northern Ireland, who are subject to investigation and potential prosecution with legal, welfare and pastoral support.

Grouped Questions: 252559 | 254180
Q
(Nuneaton)
Asked on: 09 May 2019
Ministry of Defence
Veterans: Limitation of Actions
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, if her Department will introduce a statute of limitations covering potential offences committed by veterans.
A
Answered by: Mark Lancaster
Answered on: 17 May 2019

The Ministry of Defence (MOD) intends to undertake a public consultation on legal protections measures for personnel deployed on operations overseas, including a statutory presumption against prosecution of current or former personnel for alleged offences committed in the course of duty abroad more than 10 years previously. Prosecutions in such circumstances would not be considered to be in the public interest, except in “exceptional circumstances”. The presumption measure would not apply to historical alleged offences in Northern Ireland. The Secretary of State for Defence will continue to work with the Northern Ireland Secretary on the proposals for addressing Northern Ireland legacy issues. The MOD provides veterans, including those who served in Northern Ireland, who are subject to investigation and potential prosecution with legal, welfare and pastoral support.

Grouped Questions: 252557 | 254180
Q
(Romford)
Asked on: 09 May 2019
Ministry of Defence
South Korea: Military Alliances
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what steps she is taking to enhance defence and security co-operation with South Korea.
A
Answered by: Mark Lancaster
Answered on: 17 May 2019

We committed in the Strategic Defence and Security Review (2015) to deepen our relationship with South Korea as a priority partner in Asia. Two Royal Navy Ships visited South Korea in 2018, and we have carried out regular exercise and training activity. This included combined amphibious training in Exercise SSANGYONG 18, supported by HMS SUTHERLAND.

Q
(Nuneaton)
Asked on: 14 May 2019
Ministry of Defence
Veterans: Northern Ireland
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what plans she has to bring forward legislative proposals to protect veterans accused of historic allegations relating to service in Northern Ireland.
A
Answered by: Mark Lancaster
Answered on: 17 May 2019

The Ministry of Defence (MOD) intends to undertake a public consultation on legal protections measures for personnel deployed on operations overseas, including a statutory presumption against prosecution of current or former personnel for alleged offences committed in the course of duty abroad more than 10 years previously. Prosecutions in such circumstances would not be considered to be in the public interest, except in “exceptional circumstances”. The presumption measure would not apply to historical alleged offences in Northern Ireland. The Secretary of State for Defence will continue to work with the Northern Ireland Secretary on the proposals for addressing Northern Ireland legacy issues. The MOD provides veterans, including those who served in Northern Ireland, who are subject to investigation and potential prosecution with legal, welfare and pastoral support.

Grouped Questions: 252557 | 252559
Q
(Orkney and Shetland)
[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 May 2019
Ministry of Defence
NATO: Joint Exercises
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, which Minister in her Department authorised UK participation in Exercise Joint Warrior; and what estimate she has made of the cost to the public purse of participation in that exercise.
A
Answered by: Mark Lancaster
Answered on: 16 May 2019

Joint Warrior is a longstanding exercise, directly supporting force capability and generation, and is a core Defence activity. As such, individual exercises do not require Ministerial approval and are not separately costed.

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: 13 May 2019
Ministry of Defence
Yemen: Military Intervention
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to the Answer of 9 May 2019 to Question 250787, what information his Department holds on whether BAE Systems supervised the (a) fusing of bombs and (b) final preparations of munitions for operational sorties in Yemen.
A
Answered by: Mark Lancaster
Answered on: 16 May 2019

The Department does not hold the information and I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave him on 18 March 2019 to Question 232090.

Saudi Arabia: Military Aid (Word Document, 22.31 KB)
Q
(North East Hampshire)
[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 May 2019
Ministry of Defence
War Graves: Falkland Islands
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what assessment her Department has made of the accuracy of media reports on 7 May 2019 that war graves on the Falkland Island are being disrespected; and what steps her Department is taking to ensure the protection of those graves.
A
Answered by: Mark Lancaster
Answered on: 16 May 2019

Anti-social behaviour of this nature is clearly reprehensible; action to address it would be a matter for the Royal Falkland Islands Police.

Q
(Romford)
Asked on: 08 May 2019
Ministry of Defence
EU Defence Policy
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what (a) existing and (b) proposed commitments the Government has made to the European defence union; and if he will make a statement.
A
Answered by: Mark Lancaster
Answered on: 15 May 2019

NATO remains the cornerstone of our defence. The UK has welcomed closer cooperation on security and defence at EU level, to the extent that it is coherent with NATO. The Political Declaration agreed in November 2018 provides the basis for a flexible and scalable future security partnership. The UK, along with other EU Member States, has been clear that we retain full sovereign control over defence policy and decision making.

Q
(North East Fife)
Asked on: 07 May 2019
Ministry of Defence
Armed Forces: Females
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what progress she has made towards the target of 15 per cent female recruitment to the armed forces by 2020.
A
Answered by: Mark Lancaster
Answered on: 14 May 2019

In the 12 months to 30 September 2018, 1,320 female personnel joined the UK Regular Forces, which was 10.9 per cent of the total intake.

Data on female intake into the UK Regular Forces is published twice a year in the UK Armed Forces Biannual Diversity Statistics publication. Figures up to 1 October 2018 were published on 13 December 2018 at:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/763676/1_October_2018_Biannual_Diversity_Statistics.pdf

The Ministry of Defence is working to achieve a more diverse and inclusive workforce at all levels, including through increased female representation. This work includes better understanding and greater engagement with potential female recruits; targeting recruitment campaigns; supporting candidates through the recruitment process; opening all roles within the Armed Forces to women; and enabling Service personnel to request fixed periods of part-time working, or varying their deployability, if operational requirements allow it, to better fit their service career around family life.

Grouped Questions: 251342
Q
(North East Fife)
Asked on: 07 May 2019
Ministry of Defence
Armed Forces: Females
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what proportion recruits to the armed forces in 2018 were female.
A
Answered by: Mark Lancaster
Answered on: 14 May 2019

In the 12 months to 30 September 2018, 1,320 female personnel joined the UK Regular Forces, which was 10.9 per cent of the total intake.

Data on female intake into the UK Regular Forces is published twice a year in the UK Armed Forces Biannual Diversity Statistics publication. Figures up to 1 October 2018 were published on 13 December 2018 at:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/763676/1_October_2018_Biannual_Diversity_Statistics.pdf

The Ministry of Defence is working to achieve a more diverse and inclusive workforce at all levels, including through increased female representation. This work includes better understanding and greater engagement with potential female recruits; targeting recruitment campaigns; supporting candidates through the recruitment process; opening all roles within the Armed Forces to women; and enabling Service personnel to request fixed periods of part-time working, or varying their deployability, if operational requirements allow it, to better fit their service career around family life.

Grouped Questions: 251341
Q
(Romford)
Asked on: 08 May 2019
Ministry of Defence
Australia: Joint Exercises
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what joint military exercises the UK plans to undertake with Australia.
A
Answered by: Mark Lancaster
Answered on: 14 May 2019

The UK and Australia continue to exercise alongside each other regularly. Plans include:

Exercise Pacific Kukri involving elements of British Forces Brunei in Australia enabled by the Australian Army.

Exercise Talisman Sabre, primarily a US/Australian Exercise, but also involving Royal Marine and RAF personnel.

Exercise Diamond Strike, a US/Australian air warfare exercise, also involving a small number of RAF personnel.

Exercise Bersama Lima, the key annual exercise for the Five Powers Defence Arrangements, including force elements from the RAF participating alongside the RAAF in 2019

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