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Armed Forces and Homosexuals: Policy

Earl Howe asked Her Majesty's Government:

1 Jul 1997 : Column WA25

Lord Gilbert: As the Government has already made clear, the issue of homosexuality in the Armed Forces is reviewed as a matter of course in every Parliament. As and when a review is required in the new Parliament the Government will form a view on the weight of the evidence, taking account of the UK's laws, and of the views of the European Court, and of the Armed Forces. The Government will start with the position agreed in the last Parliament, which supported the policy of excluding homosexuals from the Services, and will look in detail at the findings of the detailed review of the policy which was undertaken by this department in 1995/6. We will then seek to establish the way forward in consultation with the Chiefs of Staff.

Turkish Armed Forces: UK Training Assistance

Lord Rea asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether British military personnel have been involved in training activities with the Turkish armed forces, either in Britain or in Turkey; and if so, how many British personnel have been involved, what form did the training take, and whether it is still continuing.

Lord Gilbert: Training has been provided in the UK to members of the Turkish armed forces, as is normal practice between NATO nations. It has been practice in the past not to release details of military assistance provided to other countries on the grounds that this information is confidential between governments and disclosure would risk damaging our international relations. This practice is now being reviewed. I will write to my noble friend once the review is complete.

1 Jul 1997 : Column WA26

NATO Command Structure

Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What changes have been agreed in the NATO command structure.

Lord Gilbert: Work is under way in NATO on a new command structure as part of a package of internal reforms which will ensure that it can undertake more effectively new and existing roles and missions. Final decisions have yet to be taken.

Ballistic Missile Defence: US/UK Collaboration

Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will examine the arrangements established under the last government between the Ministry of Defence and the US Ballistic Missile Defence Organisation (BMDO), including the financial aspects of these relations; and whether they can confirm that British industry accounted for nearly half of the 374 contracts which BMDO has awarded to foreign firms since 1985.

Lord Gilbert: UK collaborative involvement in the US Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD) programme is carried out under the auspices of the 1985 US/UK "SDI" Memorandum of Understanding. There are currently no plans to review these arrangements.

Since 1985, about 30 Government-to-Government agreements, called Letters of Offer and Acceptance (LOAs) have been concluded between the US and the UK, with the work being carried out by UK industry, universities and the Defence Evaluation and Research Agency. In addition, BMDO and other US Department of Defense organisations have placed direct contracts with UK firms. No current records are maintained by HMG of these direct contracts.

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