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30 Jan 2007 : Column 152W—continued

Chuka Massacre

Mr. Dismore: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) if he will place in the Library the statements of the three local women and 10 Somali soldiers who witnessed the Chuka massacre during the Kenyan emergency in the spring of 1953, held by his Department; and if he will make a statement; [111339]

(2) what grounds the Freedom of Information request by Dr. David Anderson for witness statements to the Chuka massacre in 1953 during the Kenyan emergency was rejected; and if he will make a statement. [111340]

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Mr. Ingram: The withheld information contains graphic rape statements and related material from three young local women who were allegedly raped by soldiers from the King’s African Rifles. These women did not witness the ‘Chuka Massacre’, although it did occur close by, and at about the same time. The statements are held by The National Archives as part of file WO32/16103 under Section 40 (Personal information) and Section 41 (Information provided in confidence) of the Freedom of Information Act. In these circumstances, it would be inappropriate to place copies of the statements in the Library of the House.

The 10 Somali soldiers mentioned were suspected of committing the massacre and, some of them, the rapes. No statements from these men are held by the Department.


Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) how many letters to his Department sent from hon. Members during Session 2005-06 remain unanswered, broken down by those which are (a) one, (b) two, (c) three, (d) four and (e) over six months old; [114605]

(2) how many letters were received by his Department from hon. Members in each of the last 12 months; how many such letters were responded to within (a) 10 and (b) 20 days of receipt; how many were answered after 20 days from the date of receipt; and if he will make a statement. [114661]

Derek Twigg: The Department records letters sent by its Ministers as ministerial correspondence and makes no distinction between those sent in response to letters from hon. Members, Peers, Members of the European Parliament, Members of the devolved legislatures or members of the public. None of the ministerial correspondence processed in 2005 remains unanswered. As at 26 January 2007, of that processed in 2006, 373 remained unanswered—of which (a) 149 were one, (b) 75 were two, (c) 85 were three, (d) 38 were four, and (e) 26 were over six months old.

The following table details the volume of ministerial correspondence received by MOD Ministers in each month of calendar year 2006:

2006 Number

























The Department monitors performance against its target for answering ministerial correspondence within 15 working days. The Cabinet Office, on an annual basis, publishes a report to Parliament on the performance of Departments in replying to Members/
30 Jan 2007 : Column 154W
Peers’ correspondence. The report for 2005 was published on 30 March 2006, Official Report, columns 75-78WS. Information relating to 2006 is currently being collated and will be published as soon as it is ready.

Departmental Vetting

Dr. Julian Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what steps are taken at the level of basic vetting for employment to ensure that his departmental staff have not adopted a false identity. [116654]

Mr. Ingram [holding answer 23 January 2007]: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given by the former Under-Secretary of State for Defence, my hon. Friend the Member for West Bromwich, East (Mr. Watson) on 5 July 2006, Official Report, column 1103W, to the hon. Member for Isle of Wight (Mr. Turner).

Devonport Dockyard

Dr. Julian Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on recent discussions with Kellogg Brown and Root about future investment in Devonport Dockyard. [116904]

Mr. Ingram [holding answer 24 January 2007]: Devonport Royal Dockyard, which is owned and operated by Devonport Management Limited (DML), undertakes refit, maintenance and disposal of the Royal Navy’s nuclear submarines, including the re-fuelling and de-fuelling of the Vanguard Class submarines.

The Dockyard has unique skills and facilities that are essential for this task and which play a direct role in maintaining the UK’s nuclear deterrent. The security of these strategic assets is an absolute priority for the UK. The Ministry of Defence must ensure that whoever has control of them has the competence and resources to manage them as well as investing in their future. The Ministry of Defence is in active discussion with the DML shareholders, including KBR, about appropriate ownership and management arrangements for the future of the enterprise.

Information Infrastructure Contract

David Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what criteria the Atlas Consortium were required to meet during Increment 1 of the Defence Information Infrastructure contract in order to be automatically awarded the Increment 2a contract; and whether his Department was satisfied that those criteria were met. [116468]

Mr. Ingram [holding answer 19 January 2007]: The original DII(F) contract presumes that subsequent increments will be carried out by the ATLAS consortium subject to a number of criteria being satisfied. These criteria include both strategic considerations (such as benefit to MOD and confidence in the ability to deliver the future work package) and local considerations (such as performance on earlier work of a similar nature). Increment 2a was an amendment to the original contract and therefore was not an “automatic award”.

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Evaluation of performance was carried out on a regular basis during Increment 1 with further, more detailed, reviews prior to the Increment 2a contract amendment. The review process included senior management discussion of the most important criteria. The criteria to be satisfied covered:

Having reviewed performance against the criteria, the Department was satisfied that there was sufficient evidence to support a decision to allow ATLAS to start work on Increment 2a of the DII(F) programme.

NHS Treatments: War Pensioners

Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the Answer of 19 December 2006, Official Report, columns 1895-96W, on NHS treatment: war pensioners, how many cases of war pensioners not receiving priority treatment his Department took up in each year since 1997. [115272]

Derek Twigg [holding answer 15 January 2007]: Formal records of individual war pensioners who contact the Ministry of Defence and its Veterans Agency in respect of priority treatment are not kept. Where necessary, the Department takes up individual cases with the relevant health authority.

Service Personnel: Medical Conditions

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) how many (a) regular servicemen and (b) reserve servicemen have been assessed on return from theatre in Iraq and Afghanistan as having psychiatric problems; [117294]

(2) how many (a) servicemen and (b) reserve servicemen returned from (i) Iraq and (ii) Afghanistan after active duty with (A) a mental health problem and (B) post-traumatic stress disorder in each year since 2003. [117297]

Derek Twigg: The following table shows the annual numbers of UK service personnel (regular and reservists) who deployed to Iraq on Operation Telic and were diagnosed by the Defence Medical Services at a Department of Community Mental Health (DCMH) with a mental health condition thought to be related to their deployment. It is not possible to give an annual breakdown of the figures for 2003 and 2004, nor do we differentiate between regulars and reserves.

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2003-04 2005 2006 (to 30 June) Total






Adjustment disorder





Mood disorder





Neurotic disorders





Psychoactive substance misuse





Other diagnoses










The figures do not include any personnel who have received treatment for a mental health condition since leaving the armed forces. This is because on leaving the armed forces, or on demobilisation for reservists, it is the long established practice that responsibility for medical care passes to the NHS. To collate figures on medical treatment received by every veteran would require an examination of the records of every NHS trust (and every independent healthcare provider) in the country and could therefore be done only at disproportionate cost.

We currently only collate these figures for Iraq. However, at a time when personnel have been deployed to other operational theatres before or after deployment to Iraq (including to Afghanistan), it is becoming increasingly difficult to attribute a subsequent mental health condition (which in some cases might not present itself until some time after the person’s deployment ends) to service on a specific deployment. The Department is currently therefore reviewing its methods of collating figures on service personnel diagnosed with a mental health condition. I will write to the hon. Gentleman when the work is complete.

Finally, as I announced in this House on 20 November 2006, the MOD’s Reserves Mental Health Programme has since that date been providing an assessment and treatment programme for demobilised reservists at the Reserve Training and Mobilisation Centre (RTMC), Chilwell. The numbers of reservists, GPs or third parties contacting RTMC has been very low. As at 19 January 2007, a total of seven assessments had been booked, and, of those assessed so far, two cases referred for treatment at one of MOD’s Defence Community Mental Health centres.

Troop Deaths: Afghanistan and Iraq

Rob Marris: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many UK troops have died while serving in (a) Afghanistan and (b) Iraq since 11 September 2001. [114807]

Derek Twigg: The MOD is committed to openly publishing statistics on the number of service casualties and fatalities on operations. Information on casualties and fatalities in Iraq and Afghanistan is published on the MOD website:

Between 11 September 2001 and the start of the campaign no UK troops died in either Afghanistan or Iraq.

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Unmanned Underwater Vehicles

Dr. Julian Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on future unmanned underwater vehicle programmes for the Royal Navy. [116903]

Mr. Ingram [holding answer 24 January 2007]: The primary requirement that the Royal Navy currently has for Unmanned Underwater Vehicles (UUVs) is for Mine Countermeasures. In addition to the Very Shallow Water UUV which is currently in service, an Invitation to Tender was published in November 2006 to deliver a Reconnaissance UUV which we hope to have in service by the end of the decade. Beyond that, the Navy’s Future Mine Countermeasures Strategy sets out our aspiration for a range of fully autonomous UUVs, capable of conducting mine detection, classification and neutralisation while the parent platform remains at a safe distance.


Sarah McCarthy-Fry: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what progress has been made with the naval building programme since the Strategic Defence Review; and if he will make a statement. [116805]

Mr. Ingram [pursuant to the reply, 22 January 2007, Official Report, c. 1554W]: This answer was incorrect and should have read:

Church Commissioners


Robert Key: To ask the hon. Member for Middlesbrough, representing the Church Commissioners how many ordinations there were in the Church of England of (a) stipendiary (i) men and (ii) women, (b) non-stipendiary (A) men and (B) women and (c) ordained local ministry (1) men and (2) women in 2006. [111393]

Sir Stuart Bell: 2006 figures are still being collated but the hon. Gentleman may be interested to know that the equivalent figures for 2005 were as follows:

Men Women







Ordained local ministry



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