PARLIAMENTARY QUESTIONS FROM PS2 THE LEADING U.K. GOVERNMENT AFFAIRS COMPANY
Mr. Cran: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when a substantive reply will be given to Eric and Kathleen Rodham’s letter of 5 February, concerning an embargo on military exports to India, Pakistan and Israel, acknowledged on 11 February.
Mr. Bradshaw: I sent a response on 9 May. I apologise for the delay in responding.
Mr. Hepburn: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) pursuant to his answer of 24 April, Official Report, column 259W, whether the reimbursement by AWSR Ltd. for Government purchase of two ro-ro vessels built by Harland & Wolff will include interest; 
24 May 2002 : Column:
(2) whether guarantees have been given by his Department in respect of the ro-ro vessels being built at Flensburg for AWSR Ltd. as part of the Strategic Sealift Service. 
Mr. Ingram: AWSR Shipping Ltd.’s reimbursement of the purchase price of the two Harland and Wolff built vessels will not include interest as the overall PFI arrangement will take the funding of the ships into account. At the time the four shipbuilding contracts were placed with Flensburger of Germany the department accepted that it would assume responsibility for them in the event of a PFI contract failing to come to fruition.
Strategic Sealift Service
Mr. Hepburn: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to his answer of 24 April, Official Report, what date was estimated by his Department for signature of the contract for the provision of the Strategic Sealift Service when AWSR Ltd. was announced as preferred bidder on 26 October 2000. 
Mr. Ingram: In October 2000 the Ministry of Defence estimated that contract negotiations could be concluded by the spring of 2001.
Mr. Hepburn: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, (1) pursuant to his answer of 24 April, Official Report, column 259W, which (a) Government departments and (b) regional and industrial bodies with an interest in the Strategic Sealift Service competition were consulted formally by his Department; on what dates; and on what dates responses to this consultation exercise were received; 
(2) pursuant to his answer of 24 April, Official Report, what discussion took place with Ministers outside his Department regarding the Strategic Sealift Service prior to 26 October 2000;
(3) pursuant to his answer of 30 April, Official Report, on what dates after 26 October 2000 (a) he, (b) his Ministers and (c) his officials met (i) AWSR Ltd., (ii) NUMAST and (iii) RMT to discuss the Strategic Sealift Service; and what matters were discussed. 
Mr. Ingram: Ministers have not met with AWSR Shipping Ltd to discuss the strategic sealift service. MOD officials have met them frequently as part of the contract negotiations. My hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Defence met with representatives of the Seafarers’ Unions at their request on 19 July 2001, specifically to discuss matters related to crewing of the strategic sealift service. MOD officials have met with those unions on a number of occasions. Consultation with Government Departments and regional and industrial bodies with an interest in the strategic sealift service competition was not on a formal basis and Ministerial discussions prior to 26 October 2000 were ad hoc. Details could only be gathered at disproportionate cost.
Mr. Hepburn: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, (1) pursuant to his answer of 30 April, Official Report,whether the price quoted by AWSR Ltd. for provision of the Strategic Sealift Service and accepted by him in selecting AWSR as preferred bidder for the contract was based upon using sponsored reserve crews on the six ships when they were in Ministry of Defence use, with British officers and multinational crews when the ships were on commercial work;
(2) pursuant to his answer of 30