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 on: 01 February 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Intelligence Services
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government with which countries the UK has no intelligence sharing agreements.
A
Answered on: 15 February 2018

​It is the long standing policy of successive Governments not to comment on matters of intelligence.

Q
Asked on: 31 January 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Russia: Diplomatic Service
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government [This question has been withdrawn].
Q
Asked on: 16 January 2018
Department for Transport
Driving: Licensing
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they intend to enable UK citizens who are resident in another EU member state and who have exchanged their UK driving licence for a licence in that state to exchange their current licence for a UK licence on the same conditions as their original UK licence.
A
Answered by: Baroness Sugg
Answered on: 30 January 2018

UK citizens living in an EU Member State who have exchanged their driving licence in that country can apply for a UK licence if they return to the UK. Provided they meet requirements including residency and medical standards, they can be granted a licence with the same entitlements.

Q
Asked on: 15 January 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Balfour Declaration
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of which of the aspirations contained in the Balfour Declaration have been fulfilled; and if not all, which ones they consider not to have been fulfilled, and why.
A
Answered on: 29 January 2018

While we are proud that the UK played a role in helping to make a Jewish homeland a reality, the Balfour Declaration remains unfinished business. That is why we are committed to ensuring that the whole of Balfour is fulfilled, through a two-state solution which provides security and justice for both Israelis and Palestinians. Our focus now is on encouraging the parties to take steps which bring them closer to peace.

Q
Asked on: 15 January 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Palestinians: Recognition of States
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the case for (1) recognition of a Palestinian state, and (2) Jerusalem to be a shared capital, within a defined period of time, following the announcement by President Trump that the United States will recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel; and if they do not consider that there is a case to be made, why not.
A
Answered on: 29 January 2018

The Government wishes to see the creation of a sovereign, independent, contiguous, and viable Palestinian state living in peace and security, side by side with Israel, and with Jerusalem as a shared capital. We disagree with the US' decision to move its embassy to Jerusalem and recognise Jerusalem as the Israeli capital before a final status agreement. We believe it is unhelpful to prospects for peace in the region. The UK will recognise a Palestinian state at a time when it best serves the objective of peace. Recognition cannot end the occupation; only a negotiated agreement can. We regularly press both parties to engage in negotiations.

Q
Asked on: 15 January 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Palestinians: Recognition of States
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the case for imposing a fixed timetable for the achievement of an agreed settlement for a Palestinian state on both the government of Israel and the Palestinian Authority; and, in the absence of any such timetable or agreement, whether they intend to unilaterally recognise the state of Palestine.
A
Answered on: 29 January 2018

A resolution of the conflict that leads to peace and security for Israelis and Palestinians is long overdue. But the imposition of fixed timescales without agreement from the parties, and given the present absence of direct talks, is unlikely to be productive. The UK will recognise a Palestinian state at a time when it best serves the objective of peace. Bilateral recognition in itself cannot end the occupation. Without a negotiated settlement the occupation, and the problems that come with it, will continue.

Q
Asked on: 15 January 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Israel: USA
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have made any recent representations to the government of the United States concerning the application of the provisions of the Jerusalem Embassy Act 1995; and if so, what response they received.
A
Answered on: 29 January 2018

While we have not discussed the specific application of the provisions of the Jerusalem Embassy Act 1995 with the Government of the United States, the Prime Minister made clear in her statement of 6 December 2017 that the UK disagrees with the United States' plans to move its embassy to Jerusalem and recognise Jerusalem as the Israeli capital before a final status agreement. The Prime Minister reiterated our position when she spoke to President Trump in December 2017.

Q
Asked on: 12 December 2017
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Russia: Trade Promotion
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they intend to discuss the possible re-establishment of the Russo–British Trade and Investment Council during the forthcoming visit of the Foreign Secretary to Moscow.
A
Answered on: 21 December 2017

The Inter-Governmental Steering Committee on Trade and Investment was postponed in 2014, following Russia's illegal annexation of Crimea. Given Russia's continued destabilising activities in Ukraine, we have no plans to revive the talks.

The Foreign Secretary will be discussing a range of issues during his visit later this month, in particular international security issues including Ukraine, Syria, Iran and North Korea.

We have no current plans to appoint a trade envoy to Russia. The Department for International Trade (DIT) regularly assess markets' suitability for a Trade Envoy, based on a number of criteria, including the current political situation. DIT continues to support UK companies with targeted events and trade missions through our staff in the British Embassy in Moscow and the Consulates in St Petersburg and Ekaterinburg, provided they are compliant with EU sanctions legislation.

Grouped Questions: HL4125
Q
Asked on: 12 December 2017
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Russia: Trade Promotion
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they intend to appoint a Prime Minister’s trade envoy to Russia.
A
Answered on: 21 December 2017

The Inter-Governmental Steering Committee on Trade and Investment was postponed in 2014, following Russia's illegal annexation of Crimea. Given Russia's continued destabilising activities in Ukraine, we have no plans to revive the talks.

The Foreign Secretary will be discussing a range of issues during his visit later this month, in particular international security issues including Ukraine, Syria, Iran and North Korea.

We have no current plans to appoint a trade envoy to Russia. The Department for International Trade (DIT) regularly assess markets' suitability for a Trade Envoy, based on a number of criteria, including the current political situation. DIT continues to support UK companies with targeted events and trade missions through our staff in the British Embassy in Moscow and the Consulates in St Petersburg and Ekaterinburg, provided they are compliant with EU sanctions legislation.

Grouped Questions: HL4124
Q
Asked on: 29 November 2017
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Central Asia: EU External Relations
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether (1) the UK Ambassador to the Republic of Uzbekistan, and (2) any other member of Embassy staff, attended meetings of the 13th EU–Central Asia Ministerial Meeting in Samarkand in November; and if so, what was the outcome of those meetings.
A
Answered on: 13 December 2017

The Ministerial meeting was held between the Foreign Ministers of the countries of Central Asia and the EU High Representative for Foreign and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini, who represented EU member states. As with other EU Member States, the UK was not represented directly. They committed to adopting a new EU-Central Asia strategy and regular EU-Central Asia summits in a Joint Communiqué issued after the meeting. Ms Mogherini commended the Foreign Ministers' commitment to reform and to working together in regional coordination and co-operation with the EU.

Q
Asked on: 29 November 2017
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Uzbekistan: Taxation
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have received a request from the government of Uzbekistan to support Uzbekistan’s economic policy by contributing to a tax reform programme through an appropriate professional development programme; if so, what was their response; and from which source of funding such support would be met.
A
Answered on: 13 December 2017

No such request has been received.

Q
Asked on: 23 November 2017
Department for Exiting the European Union
Brexit
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have determined in what circumstances they would withdraw from negotiations to exit from the EU; and if so, what are those circumstances.
A
Answered by: Lord Callanan
Answered on: 29 November 2017

We continue to engage constructively, as a full and responsible Member State in the negotiations. For our part, we are ready to move these negotiations on, as doing so will allow us to best achieve our joint objectives and move towards a deal that works for both the UK and the EU.

We are confident that a future partnership between the UK and EU is in the interests of both sides, so we are approaching these negotiations with optimism. We do not want or expect a no deal outcome.

Q
Asked on: 05 September 2017
Home Office
Visas
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether biometric and fingerprint data taken from a visa applicant's application to enter the UK are deleted from any database if that applicant is subsequently refused entry; and if not, for what specific purpose the data are retained.
Answered on: 18 September 2017

Fingerprints taken from visa applicants are normally retained for up to ten years regardless of whether the application was successful, as set out in regulations made under the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002.

This enables the Secretary of State to identify easily those who make further applications for visas to come to the UK, preventing immigration abuse and those who are a risk of high harm from entering the country.

Q
Asked on: 20 July 2017
Department for Exiting the European Union
Brexit
Lords
Her Majesty's Government, with regard to the rights of citizens being negotiated with the EU-27, what progress has been made to date; what are their negotiating red lines; and when they anticipate that those negotiations will conclude.
Answered on: 03 August 2017

The Citizens’ Rights Working Group completed a technical note that maps the alignment between the EU and UK positions, to prioritise future discussions. It can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/joint-technical-note-on-the-comparison-of-eu-uk-positions-on-citizens-rights.

There is much common ground between the UK’s and the EU’s positions on citizens’ rights. We are both clear that we want to protect the broad range of rights and entitlements currently enjoyed by both EU citizens in the UK and UK nationals in the EU. However, there are, naturally, points on which our positions differ.

We are making a fair and serious offer, and want to reach a reciprocal agreement as quickly as possible.

Q
Asked on: 19 July 2017
Home Office
Immigration: EU Nationals
Lords
Her Majesty's Government, with reference to paragraph 31 of their White Paper Safeguarding the position of EU citizens in the UK and UK nationals in the EU, published on 26 June, whether EU citizens in the UK and their family members, in particular children of EU citizens eligible for settled status, will be able to apply for settled status as a family unit or whether each member of the family will be required to make a separate application for settled status.
Answered on: 01 August 2017

It is intended to make the application process for the new settled status as streamlined and user-friendly as possible. Further details will be published in due course.

Q
Asked on: 30 June 2016
Cabinet Office
Groceries Code Adjudicator
Lords
To ask Her Majesty’s Government, in the event of the UK's withdrawal from the EU, whether they plan to amend domestic legislation prior to the ratification of any final outcome of negotiations with the EU.
A
Answered on: 07 July 2016

The implementation of the withdrawal agreement will be a matter for the next government and the new Prime Minister.

Q
Asked on: 30 June 2016
Cabinet Office
Groceries Code Adjudicator
Lords
To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they intend to table motions in both Houses of Parliament to enable Parliament to debate the negotiations for the UK exiting the EU holistically, or whether they intend to table motions to debate individual elements of the negotiations.
A
Answered on: 07 July 2016

This is a matter for the new Prime Minister and their Cabinet. As the PM has said, we have now got to look at all the detailed arrangements, and Parliament will clearly have a role in making sure that we find the best way forward.

Q
Asked on: 11 July 2017
Department for Exiting the European Union
Lords
Her Majesty's Government whether those EU citizens who have lived in the UK for more than five years, and who have therefore already qualified for permanent residency status, will be treated in the same manner as EU citizens who have not so qualified, for the purpose of applying for any new citizenship status following Brexit.
Answered on: 25 July 2017

For the purpose of applying for citizenship, individuals will be required to meet the current eligibility criteria for naturalisation. These include a period of continuous residence, being of good character, and having sufficient knowledge of English and of life in the UK. A person who is married to or the civil partner of a British citizen can apply for naturalisation once settled; others must wait until they have been settled for 12 months.

Those who are already permanently resident in the UK will be able to apply for citizenship if they meet the statutory requirements.

Those who are not permanently resident must first apply for settled status. To do so, they must have been resident in the UK before a specified date and have completed a period of five years’ continuous residence. Once they are settled they can apply for British citizenship, if they meet the other statutory requirements.

Q
Asked on: 12 July 2017
Home Office
Lords
Her Majesty's Government under what circumstances a British citizen resident in the UK may seek leave for elderly dependants to enter the UK; and whether, following Brexit, the same rules will apply to EU citizens who have been granted permanent residency status.
Answered on: 25 July 2017

In ‘The United Kingdom’s Exit from the European Union: Safeguarding the Position of EU Citizens Living in the UK and UK Nationals Living in the EU’ (Cm 9464), published on 26 June 2017, we indicated in paragraph 30 that, in respect of EU citizens who arrived here before the specified date, their family members who come to the UK after we leave the EU will be subject to the same rules that apply to non-EU nationals joining British citizens, or alternatively to the post-exit arrangements for EU citizens who arrive after the specified date. The current Immigration Rules for adult dependent relatives of British citizens are contained in Appendix FM: family members.

Q
Asked on: 11 July 2017
Department for Exiting the European Union
Lords
Her Majesty's Government, in the light of the offer to UK citizens living in other EU member states made by the EU on 22 May, why the Prime Minister made a separate, and different, offer to EU citizens living in the UK on 22 June; whether they intend to negotiate to bring those two offers into line; and if so, how.
Answered on: 24 July 2017

The Prime Minister has always been clear that our first priority is to reach agreement on the post-exit position of EU citizens now living in the UK and of UK nationals and living in other EU countries. The UK’s offer on citizens rights is set out in the policy paper “Safeguarding the position of EU citizens in the UK and UK nationals in the EU” and seeks to ensure that EU citizens in the UK retain their rights to residence, benefits and pensions, and access to services, including healthcare and education. It makes clear that the UK expects reciprocity for UK nationals living in the EU in return for its offer which we believe is a fair and serious one.

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