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15 Jan 1998 : Column WA205

Written Answers

Thursday, 15th January 1998.

Animal Procedures Committee: Chairman

Lord Orme asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whom they propose to appoint as successor to Professor Margaret Brazier, OBE, as chairman of the Animal Procedures Committee.[HL163]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Williams of Mostyn): I am pleased to be able to announce that the Reverend Professor Michael Banner has been appointed as the new chairman of the Animal Procedures Committee. His period of office will begin on 1 February 1998. Professor Banner was chairman of the committee which considered the ethical implications of emerging technologies in the breeding of farm animals, and is the F. D. Maurice Professor of Moral and Social Theology at King's College, London.

TRNC: UK Immigration Rules

Lord Kirkhill asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What are the entry requirements of holders of travel documents issued by the so-called "Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus".[HL162]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: Under the immigration rules, holders of travel documents which are not issued by a recognised national authority are required to obtain a visa if they wish to come to the United Kingdom. Despite this, while not recognising the authorities of the so-called "Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus" (TRNC) we have in the past accepted TRNC travel documents as proof of identity. This has meant that holders of TRNC documents were up till now not required to obtain a visa if visiting the United Kingdom for a short period. This operated under a concession.

We are today bringing the arrangements concerning holders of these documents into line with our standard practice by withdrawing this concession. There have been significant numbers of asylum claims by passengers travelling with this document which, when determined, have all been unfounded. With effect from midnight tonight, holders of documents issued by the authorities of the so-called "Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus" will be required to obtain visas to the United Kingdom, regardless of the purpose of their journey.

We have also today laid an amendment to the Immigration (Transit Visa) Order 1993, requiring holders of such documents to obtain a visa when in transit through the United Kingdom. This requirement will apply from 5 February.

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Defence Technology and Doctrine: Implications

Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What are the implications for the United Kingdom and for the European Union's common foreign and security policies of--(a) the Revolution in Military Affairs (RMA) in the United States and the capabilities for "Information Warfare", "Navigation Warfare" and "Space Warfare" being developed within it; (b) the military doctrines of "Full Spectrum Dominance" and "Shock and Awe" currently being developed within the RMA; (c) the vulnerabilities associated with these developments, as examined in the Report of the United States Presidential Commission on Critical Infrastructure Protection, which might also affect the United Kingdom and other European countries; and

    What are the implications for the United Kingdom and for the European Union's common foreign and security policies of the situation described by the chairman of the NATO Defence Committee, General Nauman, as an approaching "disconnect" between the United States and its NATO allies consequent upon the Revolution in Military Affairs in the United States.

The Minister of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Gilbert): The implications for the United Kingdom of developments in defence technology and doctrine are kept under review by the Ministry of Defence. The emergence of new infrastructure vulnerabilities and the impact of the so-called Revolution in Military Affairs form part of this work, which also includes the important requirement to maintain adequate interoperability with United States forces. They are being taken fully into account in the Strategic Defence Review. We would not, however, expect these issues to affect the European Union's common foreign and security policy.

Defence Animal Centre

Lord Orme asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will review the agency status of the Defence Animal Centre (DAC).[HL164]

Lord Gilbert: A review of the agency status of the Defence Animal Centre (DAC) has begun. The performance of the DAC has been evaluated and its activities will shortly be subjected to the normal prior options tests. Comments and contributions from those with an interest in the work of the agency would be welcome and should be sent by 31 January 1998 to Major General W. R. Short, Director General Army Medical Services (DGAMS), Building 21, Keogh Barracks, Ash Vale, Aldershot, Hampshire GU12 5RR.

Prospective contributors to the agency review should note that the DAC is proceeding with a PFI project to rebuild its accommodation and provide associated support services.

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Hammersmith and Fulham: Schools

Baroness Blatch asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Why, in the reports on the inspection of the following secondary schools in the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham, the age range of pupils is given as 11-16, whereas in all three cases the schools are 11-18 schools--


    Burlington Danes C of E School;


    Hurlingham and Chelsea School;


    Phoenix High School; and[HL19]

    What are the arrangements for inspecting the provision of education for 16-18 year old pupils enrolled at the following schools in the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham--


    Burlington Danes C of E School;


    Hurlingham and Chelsea School;


    Phoenix High School;


    Henry Compton School; and


    Fulham Cross School.[HL20]

The Minister of State, Department for Education and Employment (Baroness Blackstone): This is a matter for Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Schools, who heads the Office for Standards in Education. I have asked Mr. Chris Woodhead to write to you and to place a copy of his letter in the Library.

Mental Health Act Commission: Seventh Biennial Report

Lord Jenkins of Putney asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they have formally responded to the Mental Health Act Commission's seventh biennial report.[HL165]

The Minister of State, Department of Health (Baroness Jay of Paddington): Yes, copies have been placed in the Library.

HKSAR: EU Arms Embargo

Lord Gladwin of Clee asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will apply the European Union arms embargo against China to the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.[HL118]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean): Following the transfer of sovereignty over Hong Kong to China on 1 July 1997, we have conducted a detailed review of the applicability to the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) of the European Union arms embargo against China. In view of the HKSAR's autonomy from mainland China in customs, trade and economic matters and its well-established strategic trade control system,

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we have concluded that its access to a broad range of strategic commodities from the UK for civil end-use should be preserved. The DTI will therefore issue a new open general export licence and open general transhipment licence to allow the continued export and transhipment of dual-use goods to the HKSAR for civil end-use.

As for the export of strategic goods for military end-use, we have concluded that, in order to fulfil our obligations under the EU embargo, goods which we would not approve for export to the Chinese armed forces in mainland China should not be permitted for export for military end-use in the HKSAR. Goods for military end-use will therefore be subject to individual licensing requirements.

These changes will take effect on 23 January.

Argentina and the UK Arms Embargo

Lord Murray of Epping Forest asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they have made any new exceptions to the arms embargo on Argentina.[HL120]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: We have recently granted two exceptions to the embargo, one in respect of the sale of a single sporting rifle to a private individual in Argentina, another in respect of the sale of eight deactivated weapons to an Argentine collector. These represent exceptions but not changes to the embargo.

FISCALIS Programme: Text

Lord Bruce of Donington asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will publish the text of the common position on the FISCALIS programme agreed at the Economic and Finance Council of Ministers on 1 December.

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: At their meeting on 1 December, EC Finance Ministers reached political agreement only on the content of a common position on the FISCALIS programme. Formal adoption of the common position is not expected until the early part of this year. The Financial Secretary to the Treasury wrote to the chairmen of the scrutiny committees of both Houses on 17 December explaining the position. While a final text is not yet available, I will arrange for copies of the latest text, which formed the basis of the political agreement at Ecofin, to be placed in the Library of the House.


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