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PARLIAMENTARY QUESTIONS 12/11/04

PARLIAMENTARY QUESTIONS FROM PS2 THE UK’S LEADING GOVERNMENT AFFAIRS ORGANISATION

DEFENCE

40 Commando
Mr. Flook: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what plans there are to supply extra helicopters to transport troops of 40 Commando on operational tasks outside the British controlled zone in Iraq. [193881]
Mr. Ingram [holding answer 26 October 2004]: Helicopters in Iraq are a theatre-wide asset and are not allocated to individual units.
Mr. Flook: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what plans there are to provide armoured personnel carriers for the troops of 40 Commando. [193882]
Mr. Ingram [holding answer 26 October 2004]: There are no plans to provide armoured personnel carriers for the troops of 40 Commando. However, they are, and will continue to be, afforded all appropriate protection while deployed.
Mr. Flook: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what plans there are to deploy 40 Commando to work outside the British controlled zone in Iraq. [193884]
Mr. Ingram [holding answer 26 October 2004]: A single mortar platoon from 40 Commando RM will be deployed with the 1st Battalion, The Black Watch to an area south of Baghdad in the next few weeks. In addition, a small number of troops from 40 Commando RM are currently performing force protection duties in Baghdad.

Canadian Submarines
Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what discussions his Department has had with the Canadian Government on the four submarines sold to the Canadians by the Royal Navy Service. [192979]
Mr. Ingram [holding answer 25 October 2004]: Ministry of Defence officials have been in discussion with the Canadian Government regarding the Upholder class submarines for several years. Discussions have been wide-ranging and led to an agreement in 1998 that the United Kingdom would lease the submarines to Canada, with an option to purchase. Subsequent discussions focused on the reactivation and transfer of the submarines to Canada, and included main contract reviews at three-monthly intervals, regular exchanges of technical information, and day-to-day contact with Canadian personnel based at BAE Systems, Barrow-in-Furness, where the reactivation programme was undertaken.
Clothing Specifications
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what specifications were included in the contract for clothing given to Cooneen, Watts & Store to ensure that the clothing was manufactured in the UK. [187494]
Mr. Ingram: No specifications were included to ensure clothing was manufactured in the UK as EU Public Procurement Regulations prohibit consideration on grounds of national interest.

EU Battlegroups
Ann Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence who will have final command of the EU Battlegroups initiative. [194384]
Mr. Hoon: Policy decisions on the EU Battlegroups initiative will be taken by unanimity of all the member states.
Decisions to deploy national forces are for national governments to take. Any decision to commit the United Kingdom forces to an EU Battlegroup operational deployment would be taken by the Government on a case-by-case basis.
Battlegroups will be offered either by single nations or by small multinational groupings. The military command of any operational deployment of an EU Battlegroup will be determined on a case-by-case basis and will reflect which of the Battlegroups is being deployed. We would expect Battlegroups involving UK forces to be commanded from the Permanent Joint Headquarters at Northwood.
As with all EU operations, the political control of an EU Battlegroup mission would rest with the 25 member states, acting by unanimity through the Political and Security Committee and Council.
EU Defence
Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to paragraphs 50 and 51 of the document Update on Prospects for the European Union in 2004, (Cm 6310), what documentation has been published concerning (a) the nature, functio

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