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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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 on: 03 April 2019
Department for International Trade
Arms Trade: Yemen
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of reports in the Channel 4 Dispatches programme Yemen—Britain's Hidden War that UK contractors have supplied arms that were used in the war in Yemen; what reasons were stated in export licence applications submitted by Saudi Arabia, BAE Systems plc, or any intermediary, for the supply and use of weaponry; and what criteria they use to assess and approve each application.
A
Answered by: Baroness Fairhead
Answered on: 17 April 2019

All arms supplied by UK companies to Saudi Arabia require an export licence. We assess each export licence application very carefully against the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria (the Consolidated Criteria).

The Consolidated Criteria provide a thorough risk assessment framework and require us to think hard about the impact of providing equipment and its capabilities. These are not decisions we take lightly, and we will not license the export of items where to do so would be inconsistent with the Consolidated Criteria.

The key test for assessing military exports to Saudi Arabia is Criterion 2(c) of the Consolidated Criteria – whether there is a clear risk that the exports might be used in the commission of a serious violation of International Humanitarian Law (IHL).

When considering export licence applications, we take into account a wide range of sources and analyses, including reports from non-governmental organisations and the United Nations, as well as those of a sensitive nature to which these parties do not have access. This provides a comprehensive basis on which Government can take informed decisions about export licence applications.

Q
Asked on: 10 April 2019
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Russia: INF Treaty
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon on 15 February (HL13545), what discussions they have had with the government of Russia about their compliance with the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty; what was the outcome of those discussions; when they took place; whether further such discussions are planned; and if so, when.
Q
Asked on: 10 April 2019
Department for Exiting the European Union
European Parliament Members
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the need to ensure that British members of the European Parliament (1) do not disrupt the work of that parliament, and (2) are able to represent British interests appropriately in discharging their duties; and what steps they are taking as a result of any such assessment.
Q
Asked on: 27 March 2019
Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
Cultural Heritage: Export Controls
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to review the Waverley Criteria for export controls on objects of cultural interest.
A
Answered by: Lord Ashton of Hyde
Answered on: 09 April 2019

The Government has no such plans. The Waverley criteria continue to be the standard against which cultural objects, which are the subject of an export licence application, are judged to determine their national importance and whether an opportunity should be provided to retain them in the UK for the enjoyment of the public. The criteria continue to be held in high esteem.

Q
Asked on: 01 April 2019
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Brunei: Capital Punishment
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what representations they intend to make to the government of Brunei about its decision to impose death by stoning as a punishment for adultery and gay sex; and whether they intend to ban hydrocarbon imports from that country until it alters that policy.
A
Answered on: 08 April 2019

The Foreign Secretary spoke to Brunei's Second Minister for Foreign Affairs, Dato Erywan, on 4 April in order to express the UK's deep concern over Brunei's decision to implement the final phases of the Sharia Penal Code.

The Minister for Asia-Pacific delivered a statement to the House of Commons on 4 April addressing the UK position on the implications of Brunei's decision.

We have repeatedly lobbied Brunei about their plans to introduce hudud punishments. The Minister for Asia-Pacific raised this with the Sultan and Bruneian ministers during his visit to Brunei Darussalam in August 2018.

Commonwealth Heads of Government most recently met in the UK in April 2018. His Majesty The Sultan of Brunei Darussalam was present. A communique issued by the leaders included the most progressive language yet on LGBT rights, complimented by an historic speech from the Prime Minister. The UK strongly supports and defends the rights of the LGBT+ community globally. The UK opposes the death penalty in all circumstances and all its forms. The UK upholds international human rights laws relating to torture, or cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment.

The UK does not import hydrocarbons from Brunei. We believe that open and honest discussions, rather than boycotts, is the best way to encourage Brunei to uphold their international human rights obligations and to respect individual freedoms.

Q
Asked on: 21 March 2019
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Saudi Arabia: Detainees
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon on 18 March (HL14232), which specific media sources were used to inform the response; and whether they agree with the conclusions and views expressed elsewhere in those articles.
A
Answered on: 04 April 2019

This figure was obtained from the ‘Statement by the Royal Court: Anti Corruption Committee Concludes Its Tasks’ released by the Saudi Press Agency, which is available on their website.

We maintain investigations must be fairly conducted and comply with international standards.

Q
Asked on: 14 March 2019
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Community Relations
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what initiatives they plan to implement to unite communities across the UK post-Brexit.
Answered on: 26 March 2019

In March 2018, the government published the Integrated Communities Strategy Green Paper which set out our ambitious goal to build strong integrated communities where people - whatever their background - live, work, learn and socialise together, based on shared rights, responsibilities and opportunities. This is especially important as we leave the European Union and seize the opportunity to create the kind of country we want to be: a global, outward-looking, connected nation. On 9 February 2019, we published the Integrated Communities Action Plan alongside the government’s response to the consultation on the Green Paper. The Action Plan builds upon the proposals set out in the Green Paper and commits the government to deliver over 70 policy actions by the end of this Parliament.

Q
Asked on: 07 March 2019
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
EU Grants and Loans: Cornwall
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plan they have to replace the EU Objective 1 funding programme, with particular regard to Cornwall.
Answered on: 21 March 2019

The Government continues to develop the design and priorities of the UK Shared Prosperity Fund. The new Fund will seek to improve productivity and reduce economic inequalities. We will consult widely on the fund and the Government encourages all interested parties to take part in this process.

Q
Asked on: 04 March 2019
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Saudi Arabia: Detainees
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what estimate they have made of the number of detainees that remain in detention as part of the government of Saudi Arabia’s anti-corruption drive; where those detainees are being held; and what assessment they have made of whether an appropriate judicial process is being followed.
A
Answered on: 18 March 2019

We understand from media reports at least 56 people remain under investigation. We maintain investigations must be fairly conducted and comply with international standards.

Q
Asked on: 20 February 2019
Home Office
British Nationality
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have a policy in place for whether any nation takes precedence over another when determining when someone with dual nationality is to be deprived of citizenship.
Answered on: 06 March 2019

There is no policy for prioritising nationality when deciding whether to deprive an individual with dual nationality of their British citizenship.

When making a decision to deprive an individual of British citizenship, the law requires that such a decision may not be made if it would make the individual stateless. This is compatible with the UK’s international obligations under the UN Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness. The Government cannot comment on the use of deprivation by other countries.

Grouped Questions: HL13945
Q
Asked on: 20 February 2019
Home Office
British Nationality
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether it is ever their policy to make an individual stateless by depriving them of their citizenship; what assessment they have made of the impact on an individual with dual nationality of being deprived of their citizenship of both countries; whether they provide guidance to officials for such a scenario; and if so, what is that guidance.
Answered on: 06 March 2019

There is no policy for prioritising nationality when deciding whether to deprive an individual with dual nationality of their British citizenship.

When making a decision to deprive an individual of British citizenship, the law requires that such a decision may not be made if it would make the individual stateless. This is compatible with the UK’s international obligations under the UN Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness. The Government cannot comment on the use of deprivation by other countries.

Grouped Questions: HL13944
Q
Asked on: 12 February 2019
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Regeneration: Cornwall
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to support the regeneration of the economy of Cornwall; and whether they will list the specific projects they will undertake for that purpose.
Answered on: 26 February 2019

The Government’s ambitious, modern Industrial Strategy sets out a long-term plan to boost the productivity and earning power of people throughout the UK.

We are working with areas across the UK who are developing Local Industrial Strategies, including Cornwall, and we hope to deliver these everywhere by 2020. These strategies will be developed locally through Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEP) and agreed with the Government.

Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) has been allocated £78.23 million as part of their growth deal to support economic growth in the area.

There are also two Enterprise Zones in Cornwall. Aerohub+, a split site covering Newquay airport and Goonhilly Earth Station with a focus on Aerospace and Space, and Marine Hub which has a focus on marine technology. They are both progressing well and the site at Newquay airport has attracted several companies including CIS UK Ltd and Apple Aviation.

Q
Asked on: 11 February 2019
Home Office
Proceeds of Crime
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government under which circumstances, if any, they intervene to block requests for assets to be remitted to foreign government organisations either from the UK or British overseas territories.
Answered on: 25 February 2019

Under proceeds of crime legislation, asset sharing and repatriation is ultimately the Government’s decision following the recovery of assets/money under a court order it is a matter of how to then dispose of those recovered moneys. In confiscation cases, the UN Convention Against Corruption requires a full return to victim States and the EU Framework Decision on confiscation orders requires a 50% share in cases in excess of 10,000 Euros.

There are other bilateral and multilateral international agreements that encourage the sharing of recovered assets. The UK does not require an international agreement to share or repatriate assets and does so on request on an ad hoc basis. The presumption is that 50% is shared with the requesting country. There are few cases so far, but none have been refused.


The Government does not intervene with similar cases involving the Overseas Territories or Crown Dependencies.

Q
Asked on: 06 February 2019
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Russia: INF Treaty
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Statement on the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty by Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon on 5 February (HL Deb, cols 1495–9), what is their response to the government of Russia's non-compliance with that Treaty; and what assessment they have made of reports of INF Treaty non-compliant launchers being moved onto Europe's eastern borders with Russia.
A
Answered on: 15 February 2019

NATO first expressed concerns about Russian non-compliance with its Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty obligations in 2014. We now fully support the assessment that Russia's covert testing, production and fielding of the 9M729 ground-launched cruise missile system is a material breach of the INF Treaty.

We, along with NATO Allies, support the US decision to suspend its participation in the INF Treaty and start the treaty's formal withdrawal process. A situation whereby the US was fully aiding by the INF Treaty and Russia was not, was not sustainable. Following the US announcement, NATO issued a statement declaring full support for US action and urging Russia to use the six month withdrawal period to return to full and verifiable compliance to preserve the INF Treaty.

Q
Asked on: 06 February 2019
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
INF Treaty
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Statement on the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty by Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon on 5 February (HL Deb, cols 1495–9), what assessment they have made of whether (1) Germany, (2) Hungary, (3) Poland, (4) Bulgaria, (5) Slovakia, and (6) the Czech Republic have destroyed or dismantled any INF Treaty missiles they hold; and if so, whether they are concerned by those countries' actions in that regard.
A
Answered on: 15 February 2019

Only the US, Russia and a small number of other Soviet successor states are bound by the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty. The Treaty initially eliminated all of their intermediate-range (500km-5,500km) ground-launched cruise and ballistic missiles. By 1991, all US and Soviet Union missiles covered by the Treaty had been eliminated.

All NATO Allies support the finding of the US that Russia is now in material breach of the Treaty, citing its covert testing, production and fielding of 9M729 ground-launched cruise missile systems. We are working closely with Allies to review the security implications of Russian intermediate-range missiles and will continue to take the necessary steps to ensure the credibility and effectiveness of the Alliance's overall deterrence and defence posture.

Q
Asked on: 30 January 2019
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Venezuela: Politics and Government
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what support they are providing to enable Juan Guaidó to become the interim President of Venezuela.
A
Answered on: 13 February 2019

We are working closely with EU partners, regional organisations such as the Lima Group and like-minded international partners to ensure a peaceful resolution to the current crisis and a return to democracy. We urge all Venezuelans to recognise Juan Guaido as the constitutional interim President of Venezuela until new presidential elections that are free and in accordance with international democratic standards are held.

Q
Asked on: 30 January 2019
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Venezuela: Politics and Government
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the Prime Minister has received a letter dated 26 January from Juan Guaidó, President of the National Assembly of Venezuela, relating to a request to halt financial transactions from the Bank of England to Venezuela; and if so, what will be their response.
A
Answered on: 13 February 2019

I can confirm that Mr Guaido wrote to the Prime Minister and the Governor of the Bank of England on 26 January. The Bank of England is an independent institution. Decisions about such issues are a matter for the Bank of England.

Q
Asked on: 30 January 2019
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Russia: Cross Border Cooperation
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Memorandum of Understanding signed by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency and the State Institute of Drugs and Good Practices of the Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Russian Federation, whether they plan to cooperate with the government of Russia on other issues in the future; and if so, what are those plans.
A
Answered on: 13 February 2019

Although planned high-level contact with Russia has been suspended, it remains important that we continue to engage with Russia; avoid misunderstandings; push for change where we disagree; and cooperate where it is in the UK national interest.

Q
Asked on: 30 January 2019
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Russia: Cross Border Cooperation
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they are currently collaborating with the government of Russia on any projects or programmes; and if so, what are those projects or programmes.
A
Answered on: 11 February 2019

The only joint project between the two governments is the UK-Russia Year of Music, which will be delivered by the British Council. The Russian Government is not a partner in any other project activity.

Q
Asked on: 30 January 2019
The Senior Deputy Speaker
Parliamentary Estate: Proof of Identity
Lords
To ask the Senior Deputy Speaker what consideration has been given to requiring all visitors to the Parliamentary estate to present photo identification before entry.
A
Answered on: 07 February 2019

There are over one million visitors to Parliament each year. Visitors access the estate for many reasons. These include: to meet with a Member or a member of staff; to attend a Member-sponsored meeting or meetings at official level; to give evidence to a Committee; to lobby; to attend debates in both Houses (in the Chambers and Committees); to attend functions and banqueting events; to take a tour (both paid-for and democratic free tours); or as part of an Education Service visit. Many visits do not need to be pre-booked. In order to promote open access to Parliament controls are kept proportionate to the security risk. Photo identification by visitors is not currently deemed proportionate and if introduced would need to be verified, significantly delaying the admission of visitors to Parliament and resulting in lengthy queues at peak times.

All non-passholders are subject to search and screening measures before entering the estate. The Parliamentary Security Department do not comment publicly on the details of security measures.

The Director of Security for Parliament is content to meet with any members who wish to discuss specific concerns.

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