|Previous Section||Back to Table of Contents||Lords Hansard Home Page|
Whether they intend to set up an arrangement to allow the Ministry of Defence to contribute to the funding of the National Association of Citizens Advice Bureaux (NACAB) in cases where Army personnel make extensive use of NACAB's services.[HL794]
Whether NATO European member states provide and are likely to provide sufficient marine patrol aircraft to meet the necessary or desirable levels of security over the seas around Europe.[HL903]
Lord Bach: Euopean Allies' national requirements for maritime patrol aircraft (MPA) are a matter for individual nations, although NATO assesses that there is currently no overall shortfall in provision of MPA to the alliance and there are no indications that this position is likely to change. The United Kingdom continues to provide sufficient maritime patrol aircraft for the protection of its territory and territorial waters, and is currently upgrading its fleet to deliver an enhanced surveillance capability.
Lord Bach: Smallpox vaccine was administered routinely to UK civilians of school age until the mid-1970s. Armed Forces personnel were also vaccinated upon enlistment and routinely re-vaccinated every three years. This programme was abandoned in the early 1980s following a declaration by the World Health Organisation that smallpox had been eradicated. Smallpox vaccine can produce mild adverse reactions common to many vaccines, including a sore arm, mild fever, headache, fatigue and a permanent scar at the vaccination site. In a very small proportion of people, vaccination against smallpox can produce more serious adverse reactions including serious skin reactions and inflammation of the brain (encephalitis). Records of adverse reactions to smallpox vaccine among Armed Forces personnel from that era were not kept centrally and the information requested could only be provided at disproportionate effort. Smallpox vaccine was not given to UK Armed Forces personnel during the 199091 Gulf conflict. We are confident that none of the vaccines given to UK Armed Forces personnel at the time of the 1990-91 Gulf conflict would have produced serious adverse reactions similar to those than can arise from smallpox vaccine.
We announced our intention to vaccinate a small cohort of Armed Forces personnel against smallpox. I refer the noble Lord to the Answer I gave to my noble friend Lady Goudie on 2 December 2002,WA 7374. UK Armed Forces personnel offered smallpox vaccine will be rigorously screened so as to eliminate, as far as possible, the risk of a serious adverse reaction.
The overwhelming consensus of medical and scientific opinion is that there is no evidence to support the existence of a discrete medical disorder called "Gulf War Syndrome". Accordingly, this term is not used as a diagnostic label in respect of awards of war pension. However, this does not prevent Gulf veterans who are ill from getting a war pension. A war pension can be paid for any disablement provided a causal link to service is accepted.
The Veterans Agency noted that Mr Robertson's GP used the term "Gulf War Syndrome" to describe his medical condition. However, this label did not influence the outcome of his claim for a war pension. In accordance with standard practice the decision to award a war pension was based on case specific facts, the relevant standard of proof and contemporary medical understanding.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Filkin): My right honourable friend the Home Secretary said yesterday that he would report further to the House, when he was able to do so, about the operation in Greater Manchester on 14 January in which a police officer, DC Stephen Oake, died.
Three men present at the premises were detained. Nine Tactical Aid Unit officers, who had entered the premises, assisted in securing these men and in making the scene safe. All these officers were wearing full protective equipment, including body armour, and remained in the premises. Fourteen Special Branch officers were there to undertake aspects of the operation involving investigation and intelligence gathering. These officers were not wearing body armour.
The exact detail of what took place is still under investigation and will be the subject of an inquiry. But, as is already known, it is clear that a violent incident occurred during which DC Oake was fatally stabbed. Three other officers were stabbed and a fourth officer sustained a broken ankle. One of these officers remains in hospital, suffering from stab wounds to the abdomen. His condition is stable and he is likely to leave hospital next week. The other three officers have now been released from hospital.
Following the struggle, the situation was brought under control by the police and all three men were arrested under Section 41 of the Terrorism Act 2000. Subsequently, one man was released from these provisions and immediately detained by the
Armed response vehicle resources were available throughout the operation for immediate deployment as required, but firearms officers were not deployed in specific support of this operation. The inquiry will obviously examine this. All the Tactical Aid Unit officers who entered the building were wearing full protective equipment, including body armour.
The Chief Constable of Greater Manchester, Michael Todd, has, with the agreement of the Home Secretary, established an inquiry which will be led by a senior police officer from outside the Greater Manchester police force. The inquiry will be held with the support of the Immigration Service. The senior investigator from Greater Manchester Police will be a detective superintendent and, from the Immigration Service, an assistant director.
The inquiry will concentrate on all aspects of planning, briefings, communications and implementation of the operation. The key objective will be to learn the lessons from this tragic incident, my right honourable friend the Home Secretary made clear in his oral statement to the House yesterday. The preliminary findings will be available within four weeks.
|Back to Table of Contents||Lords Hansard Home Page|