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 Lord Boateng
Asked on: 14 October 2019
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Cameroon: Political Prisoners
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the number of political prisoners in Cameroon in the light of the discontinuance of proceedings before military tribunals against 333 prisoners arrested in connection with the crisis in the north west and south west regions of that country.
A
Answered on: 22 October 2019

The British Government remains concerned about the crisis in the North-West and South-West regions of Cameroon. We welcome the convening of the National Dialogue in Cameroon from 30 September to 4 October and the release of 333 prisoners arrested in connection with the crisis. We hope these developments will build confidence among all parties to engage in efforts to bring peace to the North-West and South-West regions. Inclusive discussions about the root causes of people's grievances and follow up on recommendations made at the National Dialogue are urgently needed to maintain momentum. The UK continues to urge the Government of Cameroon to ensure that due process is followed for all those who remain in detention. Freedom of expression is a fundamental human right and must be respected at all times.

Grouped Questions: HL13
Q
Asked by Lord Boateng
Asked on: 14 October 2019
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Cameroon: Politics and Government
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the outcomes of the recent national dialogue in Cameroon.
A
Answered on: 22 October 2019

The British Government remains concerned about the crisis in the North-West and South-West regions of Cameroon. We welcome the convening of the National Dialogue in Cameroon from 30 September to 4 October and the release of 333 prisoners arrested in connection with the crisis. We hope these developments will build confidence among all parties to engage in efforts to bring peace to the North-West and South-West regions. Inclusive discussions about the root causes of people's grievances and follow up on recommendations made at the National Dialogue are urgently needed to maintain momentum. The UK continues to urge the Government of Cameroon to ensure that due process is followed for all those who remain in detention. Freedom of expression is a fundamental human right and must be respected at all times.

Grouped Questions: HL12
Q
Asked by Lord Boateng
Asked on: 14 October 2019
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Cameroon: Politics and Government
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with the governments of (1) France, and (2) the United States of America, the councils of the United Nations, and the Commonwealth about recent developments relating to attempts to end the crisis in Cameroon.
A
Answered on: 22 October 2019

​The UK continues to discuss the crisis in the North-West and South-West regions of Cameroon with international partners including France and the United States, and in multilateral fora including the United Nations (UN) and the Commonwealth. During a briefing on conflict prevention at the UN Security Council on 7 October, the UK welcomed the National Dialogue that took place in Cameroon from 30 September – 4 October as an initial step to bring parties together to work towards peace. Inclusive discussion about the root causes of grievances in Cameroon is urgently needed, and all parties must take action to address these grievances. The UK remains ready to support, and urges the international community, including regional bodies, to engage in efforts to end the crisis.

Q
Asked on: 14 October 2019
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Civil Servants: Languages
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many civil servants from each department have taken language courses at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office Language Centre over the past 12 months, and in which languages.
A
Answered on: 22 October 2019

​We do not hold data capturing the total number of officers who have participated in developmental language classes at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office on an annual basis, but we can provide the number of officers per department, per language who have enrolled in classes this term (Autumn 2019). These overall numbers are similar for the previous two terms this year, although some officers have continued from one term to the next while others have left and been replaced.

The information is captured in the table which is attached due to its size.

HL 24 Table (Word Document, 130.97 KB)
Q
Asked by Lord Birt
Asked on: 15 October 2019
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Bulgaria: Football
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what representations they have made to the government of Bulgaria about the behaviour of spectators present at the Bulgaria vs England football match on 14 October.
A
Answered on: 22 October 2019

The United Kingdom strongly condemns the racist conduct of some spectators present at the Bulgaria vs England football match on 14 October, as does the Bulgarian Government. The United Kingdom welcomes the swift action by Bulgarian Government, and our Ambassador to Bulgaria has spoken with senior Bulgarian Government figures on this issue.

The United Kingdom remains committed, both domestically and internationally, to eliminating any form of racism, including in the sports industry.

Asked on: 15 October 2019
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Cyprus: Peace Negotiations
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have made an assessment of (1) the report of the United Nations Secretary-General on the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus, published on 10 July, (2) the willingness of the Greek Cypriot representatives to resume negotiations and (3) the likelihood of such negotiations leading to an outcome where both Turkish and Greek Cypriot groups will have political equality.
A
Answered on: 22 October 2019

​The United Kingdom welcomes the support the Security Council expressed in July for the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP), and will continue to work with others to ensure UNFICYP can carry out its mission effectively and efficiently. We also welcome the commitment of the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot leaders, as announced following their meeting on 9 August, to finalise Terms of Reference to enable results-oriented negotiations leading to a settlement with a sense of urgency; and the next steps agreed to achieve this.

It is for the sides to agree on the details of any final deal. A settlement will require the agreement of the two leaders, the support of Greece and Turkey and – importantly – successful referenda in each community.

The United Kingdom is a strong supporter of a comprehensive, just and lasting settlement of the Cyprus issue, based on the internationally accepted model of a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation.

Asked on: 15 October 2019
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Cyprus: Politics and Government
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what has been their assessment of the implications of the recent Memorandum of Understanding with the Republic of Cyprus for the Government’s role as a guarantor power under 1960 Treaty of Guarantee, and for the rights of the Turkish Cypriot community to be fairly represented on the island; and what were the reasons for agreeing that Memorandum.
A
Answered on: 22 October 2019

The Defence and Security Co-operation Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the United Kingdom and the Republic of Cyprus was signed on 4 April 2019, in order to build on the existing Bilateral Defence and Co-operation Programme and strengthen our cooperation. The MoU has no implications for the United Kingdom's role as a Guarantor Power under the 1960 Treaty of Guarantee or for how the Turkish Cypriot community is represented on the island.

Asked on: 14 October 2019
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Hong Kong: Politics and Government
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to recent events in Hong Kong, what plans they have to draw attention to the Sino-British Joint Declaration, ratified by the governments of China and the UK in 1984 at the next United Nations Security Council meeting.
A
Answered on: 21 October 2019

The UK is fully committed to upholding the Joint Declaration of 1984 and has consistently highlighted the importance we attach to China abiding by its obligations. Though we have no plans to raise the Joint Declaration in the Security Council, the UK did raise the Sino-British treaty in our national ‘item 2’ statement at the 42nd session of the UN Human Rights Council in September. In the statement, we re-iterated our support for and call for all to respect the ‘One Country, Two Systems’ framework, including the rights and freedoms in the Joint Declaration. We also underlined the importance of upholding the right to peaceful assembly in the UK’s statement at the Third Committee of the UN General Assembly on 15th October.

Asked on: 14 October 2019
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Kashmir: Politics and Government
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact of the decision of the government of India, on 5 August, to revoke Article 370 of the Constitution of India, and what representations they have made to the government of India about that decision.
A
Answered on: 21 October 2019

Events in Kashmir can have regional and international implications and we continue to urge calm and caution from all. We are following the situation in Kashmir closely and are in regular contact with the Government of India. The Prime Minister has spoken to Prime Minister Modi about the situation, underlining the importance of maintaining dialogue. The Foreign Secretary has raised his concerns about the situation with the Indian Minister for External Affairs Dr Jaishankar. I have also had regular engagement with the Indian High Commissioner to the UK and raised the situation in Kashmir with Minister for Minority Affairs Naqvi in New Delhi earlier this month.

Asked on: 14 October 2019
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Kashmir: Politics and Government
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to seek a peaceful resolution of the dispute between India and Pakistan, following the decision of the government of India on 5 August to revoke Article 370 of the Constitution of India.
A
Answered on: 21 October 2019

The Government’s longstanding position is that it is for India and Pakistan to find a lasting political resolution to the situation in Kashmir, taking into account the wishes of Kashmiri people. It is not for the UK to prescribe a solution or act as mediator. We encourage India and Pakistan to engage in dialogue and find lasting, diplomatic solutions to maintain regional stability. We are monitoring the situation in Kashmir closely and are in regular contact with the Governments of both India and Pakistan. The Prime Minister has spoken to both Prime Minister Modi and Prime Minister Imran Khan, underlining the importance of maintaining dialogue. ​

Q
Asked by Lord Pendry
Asked on: 14 October 2019
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Hong Kong: Politics and Government
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to assist (1) British National Overseas passport holders, and (2) other people who are subject to human rights violations, to ensure that the government of Hong Kong honours the 1984 Sino-British Declaration.
A
Answered on: 21 October 2019

The UK is fully committed to upholding Hong Kong’s high degree of autonomy and rights and freedoms under the “One Country, Two Systems” framework, which is guaranteed by the legally binding Joint Declaration of 1984 and enshrined in the Hong Kong Basic Law. The Foreign Secretary has made this clear to both the Hong Kong Chief Executive, Carrie Lam, and Chinese Foreign Minister, State Councillor Wang Yi. The Foreign Secretary has also spoken to a wide range of counterparts on this issue and welcomes the strong statements made by our international partners. We will continue to engage the Hong Kong SAR government, the Chinese government and international partners, reiterating the fundamental importance of upholding the rights and freedoms of all the people of Hong Kong, including the BN(O) passport holders that live there.

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