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 Baroness Cox
Asked on: 03 September 2019
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Syria: Military Intervention
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon on 10 July (HL16789), whether any British Armed Forces personnel participated in the chain of command involved in authorising and executing the reported attacks by the United States Coalition and their allies on unarmed Syrian oil transport boats on 31 May.
A
Answered on: 09 September 2019

It has not proved possible to respond to this question in the time available before Prorogation. Ministers will correspond directly with the Member.

Q
Asked by Baroness Cox
Asked on: 03 September 2019
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Geneva Conventions
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of how violations of the Geneva Convention should be addressed; and whether any such assessment includes provision for the handling of erring Parties.
A
Answered on: 09 September 2019

It has not proved possible to respond to this question in the time available before Prorogation. Ministers will correspond directly with the Member.

Q
Asked by Baroness Cox
Asked on: 03 September 2019
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Sudan: Food Supply
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what representations they have made to the Transitional Military Council, or relevant governing body, in Sudan about food insecurity in South Kordofan and Blue Nile.
A
Answered on: 09 September 2019

It has not proved possible to respond to this question in the time available before Prorogation. Ministers will correspond directly with the Member.

Q
Asked by Baroness Cox
Asked on: 03 September 2019
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Sudan: Drugs
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what representations they have made to the Transitional Military Council, or relevant governing body, in Sudan about the availability of basic drug supplies in South Kordofan and Blue Nile.
A
Answered on: 09 September 2019

It has not proved possible to respond to this question in the time available before Prorogation. Ministers will correspond directly with the Member.

Q
Asked by Baroness Cox
Asked on: 03 September 2019
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Sudan: Humanitarian Aid
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what representations they have made to the Transitional Military Council, or relevant governing body, in Sudan about permitting access by humanitarian aid organisations to South Kordofan and Blue Nile.
A
Answered on: 09 September 2019

It has not proved possible to respond to this question in the time available before Prorogation. Ministers will correspond directly with the Member.

Q
Asked by Baroness Cox
Asked on: 04 September 2019
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Sudan and Syria: Politics and Government
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon on 31 July (HL17137), what considerations led them to adopt the positions that “the Assad regime has lost all legitimacy” and that they “have no intention of encouraging the Global Coalition to cooperate with its security forces”; whether they have applied similar considerations in developing their position on Sudan; and, if so, how those considerations were applied to their decision to engage in strategic dialogue with the regime there.
A
Answered on: 09 September 2019

It has not proved possible to respond to this question in the time available before Prorogation. Ministers will correspond directly with the Member.

Q
Asked by Baroness Cox
Asked on: 04 September 2019
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Syria: Sanctions
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the (1) impact of the EU's sanctions on Syria since their imposition in 2012 on (a) the behaviour of the government of Syria, and (b) the economic wellbeing of the population of Syria, (2) the likely impact of those sanctions in the near future, and (3) the effectiveness of measures seeking to deprive Syria of access to oil.
A
Answered on: 09 September 2019

It has not proved possible to respond to this question in the time available before Prorogation. Ministers will correspond directly with the Member.

Q
Asked by Baroness Cox
Asked on: 04 September 2019
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Sudan and Syria: Politics and Government
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon on 31 July (HL17137), what was the basis for reaching their conclusions that (1) the Assad regime has lost all legitimacy, and (2) they will not encourage the Global Coalition to cooperate with the Assad regime's security forces; whether they have applied similar considerations in developing their position on Sudan; and if so, how those considerations were applied in their decision to engage in strategic dialogue with the regime in Sudan.
A
Answered on: 09 September 2019

It has not proved possible to respond to this question in the time available before Prorogation. Ministers will correspond directly with the Member.

Q
Asked by Baroness Cox
Asked on: 03 September 2019
Department for International Development
Sudan: Humanitarian Aid
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the South Kordofan and Blue Nile Coordination Unit's Humanitarian Update, August 2019.
Q
Asked by Baroness Cox
Asked on: 19 July 2019
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Syria: Military Intervention
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon on 10 July (HL16789), what assessment they have made of reports that attacks on unarmed Syrian barges occurred; and whether any British Armed Forces personnel participated in the chain of command involved in authorising and executing any such attacks.
A
Answered on: 01 August 2019

​We have not seen any evidence, and are unaware, of such attacks on unarmed Syrian barges.

Q
Asked by Baroness Cox
Asked on: 15 July 2019
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Syria: Islamic State
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government, following the detonation of a car bomb outside of a church in Qamishli on 11 July, what steps are being taken to coordinate security for the people of the region from Daesh between the Global Coalition Against Daesh and the government of Syria.
A
Answered on: 31 July 2019

​We are aware that Daesh has claimed responsibility for an attack near the Syriac Orthodox Church of the Virgin Mary in Qamishli, north-east Syria. We strongly condemn all attacks on places of worship. The UK continues to work with our partners in the Global Coalition Against Daesh to tackle the Daesh insurgency in Syria and Iraq. The UK position is that the Assad regime has lost all legitimacy as a result of its atrocities against the Syrian people. We therefore have no intention of encouraging the Global Coalition to cooperate with its security forces.

Grouped Questions: HL17138
Q
Asked by Baroness Cox
Asked on: 15 July 2019
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Syria: Islamic State
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government, following the detonation of a car bomb outside of a church in Qamishli on 11 July, what representations they have made to the Global Coalition Against Daesh to cooperate with the government of Syria's security forces in the fight against Daesh.
A
Answered on: 31 July 2019

​We are aware that Daesh has claimed responsibility for an attack near the Syriac Orthodox Church of the Virgin Mary in Qamishli, north-east Syria. We strongly condemn all attacks on places of worship. The UK continues to work with our partners in the Global Coalition Against Daesh to tackle the Daesh insurgency in Syria and Iraq. The UK position is that the Assad regime has lost all legitimacy as a result of its atrocities against the Syrian people. We therefore have no intention of encouraging the Global Coalition to cooperate with its security forces.

Grouped Questions: HL17137
Q
Asked by Baroness Cox
Asked on: 02 July 2019
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Ark Group DMCC: Finance
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they paid £19 million to the ARK Group DMCC based in Dubai; and if so, why.
A
Answered by: Baroness Goldie
Answered on: 16 July 2019

ARK Group have delivered UK-funded programmes across the Middle East through the Conflict, Stability and Security Fund (CSSF) and the Global Britain Fund (now International Programme Fund). We have not been able to identify the specific payment of £19m based on the information provided. However, since 2016-17 ARK have worked on over 20 projects for the FCO and received c.£25m of funding for these projects.

ARK's work for the FCO includes projects aimed at improving security stabilisation and communications in Lebanon; improving Security Sector Reform in Jordan; tackling sexual and gender-based violence in Syria; providing support to Syrian voices and civil society; and improving Community Resilience and Peacebuilding in Yemen.

Q
Asked by Baroness Cox
Asked on: 02 July 2019
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Syria: Chemical Weapons
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the report by the Working Group on Syria, Propaganda, and Media How the OPCW's investigation of the Douma incident was nobbled, published on 26 June.
A
Answered on: 15 July 2019

​The UK has full confidence in the expertise and methodology of the Organization for the Prohibition or Chemical Weapons (OPCW) Fact Finding Mission (FFM). The OPCW Director General has confirmed that all evidence and views were considered by the FFM in reaching its conclusion on the incident in Douma on 7 April 2018. The final FFM report of 1 March 2019 concluded that there were reasonable grounds to believe a chemical weapons attack took place.

Q
Asked by Baroness Cox
Asked on: 02 July 2019
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Syria: Chemical Weapons
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons' Remarks of the Director-General at the Briefing for States Parties on Syrian Arab Republic: Update on IIT-FFM-SSRC-DAT, published on 28 May, which stated that the ballistics data collected by the Fact-Finding Mission in relation to the Douma incident were analysed by three external experts; whether they have seen these expert analyses; and if so, whether they will make them available.
A
Answered on: 15 July 2019

​On 28 May Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons Director General confirmed all evidence and views were considered in preparing the Fact finding Mission (FFM) report and that the Technical Secretariat stands by the findings. We have full confidence in both our own and the FFM's conclusions on the use of a chemical weapon in Douma on 7 April 2018. The Fact-Finding Mission draws on internal and independent external expertise as required in reaching its conclusions. The UK is not involved in that process and would not expect the Director-General to make such information publicly available.

Q
Asked by Baroness Cox
Asked on: 02 July 2019
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Syria: Chemical Weapons
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have employed, or made any direct or indirect payment to, Len Phillips, a former official of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, since 2003.
A
Answered on: 15 July 2019

Under our data protection policy we are neither able to confirm whether Mr Phillips has been an employee of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, nor whether we have made any direct or in-direct payments to Mr Phillips.

Q
Asked by Baroness Cox
Asked on: 01 July 2019
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Syria: Military Intervention
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon on 17 June (HL15998), whether Coalition forces and their partners were involved in the attacks on unarmed Syrian barges on 31 May; and if so, why.
A
Answered on: 10 July 2019

We have seen no evidence that Global Coalition forces or their partners were involved in attacks on unarmed Syrian barges on 31 May.

Q
Asked by Baroness Cox
Asked on: 01 July 2019
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Syria: Islamic State
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether any armed groups are being protected by the Global Coalition Against Daesh in the Al Tanf enclave; if so, what are the ideological orientations of  each of those groups; and whether any such groups have any connection to Daesh.
A
Answered on: 10 July 2019

The sole purpose of the Global Coalition is to degrade and defeat Daesh. The Global Coalition does not and will not protect groups with any connection to Daesh. It is understood that the US provides support to local armed group Maghaweir al-Thowra in the Al Tanf Deconfliction Zone. It is not for the UK to comment on the nature or detail of the US' support.

Q
Asked by Baroness Cox
Asked on: 01 July 2019
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Syria: Islamic State
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of reports that a number of families that include Daesh members were recently released from the Al Hawl holding camp controlled by the Global Coalition Against Daesh; and whether any such families were allowed to pass into the Al Tanf enclave.
A
Answered on: 10 July 2019

​The Global Coalition does not control al Hol displaced persons camp. The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), partners of the Global Coalition, provide security to the camp. We are aware that some Syrians have left al Hol camp for areas of Syria under SDF-control, including Raqqa and Deir-ez-Zour, in a process managed by the SDF and local community leaders. We are not aware of any Syrians leaving al Hol for the al Tanf Deconfliction Zone.

Q
Asked by Baroness Cox
Asked on: 04 June 2019
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Syria: Chemical Weapons
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of (1) the authenticity of the report from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) Engineering Assessment of Two Cylinders at the Douma Incident, dated 27 February, and (2) any differences of that report with the final report of the OPCW regarding the incident of alleged use of toxic chemicals as a weapon in Douma on 7 April 2018, which found that there was evidence consistent with the hypothesis that chlorine cannisters had been dropped from aircraft.
A
Answered on: 17 June 2019

​We welcomed the Fact Finding Mission’s (FFM) final report of March which drew a clear conclusion of reasonable grounds to believe a toxic chemical, likely molecular chlorine, was used as a weapon. On 28 May the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapon Director General confirmed all evidence and views were considered in preparing the FFM report. The Technical Secretariat stands by the findings and we continue to have confidence in both our own and the FFM’s conclusions about this attack.

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