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16 Jun 2008 : Column 720W—continued


16 Jun 2008 : Column 721W

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many times United States Coast Guard helicopters have supported Royal Navy-led counter-narcotics operations in the Caribbean since June 2006. [210678]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: Royal Navy units do not lead counter narcotic operations in the Caribbean. Counter narcotic operations are conducted under the auspices of Joint Interagency Task Force (South) who do not log this information.

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what mechanisms of co-operation there are between UK forces and the United States Coast Guard in conducting counter-narcotics operations in the Caribbean. [210679]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: RN units predominately from the RN Atlantic Patrol Task (North) co-operate with US Coast Guard under a Memorandum of Understanding between the RN and the Joint Interagency Task Force (South) based at Key West, Florida.

Defence Estates: Eco-Towns

Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence in which of the sites proposed for an eco-town and not included on the shortlist his Department has (a) sold or (b) otherwise disposed of land under arrangements whereby his Department would benefit from a future sale of the land in the last 10 years. [210093]

Derek Twigg: It is possible that the Ministry of Defence would benefit from the future sale of land at Alconbury airfield, Sculthorpe airfield, Waterbeach, Derwent Forest and Throckmorton airfield.

EU Defence Policy

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many UK (a) military personnel and (b) civilian staff were attached to the (i) European Union Military Staff, (ii) European Defence Agency, (iii) European Union Military Committee and (iv) other EU institutions in each month since September 2007. [210643]

Des Browne: In each month since September 2007, the following numbers of military personnel were seconded to the EU Military Staff in Brussels:

Number

September 2007

16

October 2007

17

November 2007

17

December 2007

17

January 2008

17

February 2008

17

March 2008

17

April 2008

18

May 2008

18


No MOD civilian staff have been seconded to the EU Military Staff in any month since September 2007.


16 Jun 2008 : Column 722W

In each month since September 2007, the following numbers of military personnel and MOD civilian staff were seconded to the European Defence Agency in Brussels:

Military Civilian

September 2007

1

4

October 2007

1

3

November 2007

1

3

December 2007

1

3

January 2008

2

3

February 2008

2

3

March 2008

2

3

April 2008

2

4

May 2008

2

4


The European Military Committee is a regular meeting of the Chiefs of Defence Staff or their representatives from the EU member states, not a standing EU structure. There has been one British military officer seconded as the Military Adviser to the permanent Chairman of the EU Military Committee in every month since September 2007.

There have been no military personnel seconded to other EU institutions in any month since September 2007.

In every month since September 2007 there has been one MOD civilian seconded to the European Council General Secretariat, one MOD civilian seconded to the European Commission and one MOD civilian seconded to the European Global Navigation Satellite System Supervisory Authority (GSA).

Mr. Hollobone: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the Government's policy is on the UK's participation in a standing EU armed force. [210948]

Des Browne: There is no standing EU armed force and there are no plans for one.

Gibraltar Service Police

Andrew Mackinlay: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence for what reason the Gibraltar Service Police Staff Association was not party to the discussions prior to the agreement between his Department and the Transport and General Workers Association on 31 May 2007 on the future of the Gibraltar dockyard; and if he will make a statement. [211203]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: The Gibraltar Services Police Staff Association was not party to the discussions as their members were not affected by that agreement, which noted that the Gibraltar Services Police were to be subject to a separate forthcoming review.

Andrew Mackinlay: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what direct consultations his Department has had with the Gibraltar Service Police Staff Association about the future of (a) the Gibraltar dockyard and (b) the Gibraltar Service Police; and if he will make a statement. [211204]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: There have been no consultations with the Gibraltar Services Police Staff Association (GSPSA) on the future of the Gibraltar
16 Jun 2008 : Column 723W
dockyard. HQ British Forces Gibraltar issued for consultation the terms of reference document for the Gibraltar Policing and Security Review to the GSPSA and other interested parties on 4 June 2007. They responded on 19 June 2007 and conduct of the review commenced on 20 June 2007. The GSPSA has been kept informed on the progress of the review. Should the review determine an option that changes the current status or structure of the Gibraltar Services Police, then the normal process of consultation will take place in line with standard departmental procedures.

Andrew Mackinlay: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what provisions in the agreement between his Department and the Transport and General Workers Union on 31 May 2007 (a) relate to the Gibraltar Service Police (GSP), (b) have a direct effect on the GSP and (c) have a direct effect on individual GSP officers; and if he will make a statement. [211205]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: There are no provisions in the agreement that relate to the Gibraltar Services Police (GSP), or have a direct effect on the GSP or individual GSP officers.

Andrew Mackinlay: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the evidential basis is for the estimated cost saving which his Department has indicated will result from the transfer of the Gibraltar Service Police (GSP) to the Royal Gibraltar Police; for what reason the documents relevant to the proposed transfer were not made available to the Gibraltar Service Police Staff Association; and if he will place the documents in the Library. [211206]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: The Department has not yet reached any decision on the future of the GSP. In particular, no decision has been taken to transfer GSP functions to the Royal Gibraltar Police. Decisions on the future of the GSP will only be taken after the completion of an investment appraisal. I will write to the hon. Member once a final decision has been taken.

Andrew Mackinlay: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what consultations his Department held on the proposed transfer of the Gibraltar Service Police (GSP) to the Royal Gibraltar Police with the GSP Chief Police Officer through (a) the Headquarters of the British Forces GIB security review and (b) any other means; and if he will make a statement. [211207]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: The Department has not yet reached any decision on the future of the GSP. Accordingly, there have been no consultations with the GSP Chief Police Officer on the transfer of the GSP to the Royal Gibraltar Police. Over the past year both incumbents of the GSP Chief Officer post have been actively engaged in the security review.

Iraq: Peacekeeping Operations

Adam Price: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what recent discussions the Government have had with the Iraqi Government on the legal status of British forces in Iraq. [209853]


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Des Browne: The Multi-National Force, including British forces, operates in Iraq under the mandate of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1790, and at the request of the Government of Iraq. We are in discussion with Coalition partners and the Government of Iraq over our legal requirements following the anticipated expiry of the UN Security Council mandate at the end of 2008, with a view to ensuring that any future UK military assistance to Iraq remains on a sound legal footing.

Kosovo: Peacekeeping Operations

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what progress has been made on the deployment of the 2nd Battalion, The Rifles to Kosovo; and if he will make a statement. [211031]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth [holding answer 13 June 2008]: 2nd Battalion, the Rifles, has successfully deployed to Kosovo and formally began its mission on 31 May 2008.

Middle East: Ministerial Policy Advisers

Mr. Arbuthnot: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether he plans to appoint a Middle East adviser; and if he will make a statement. [211452]

Des Browne: I have no plans to appoint a middle east adviser.

Military Aircraft: Helicopters

Mr. Carswell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the Defence Industrial Strategy in procuring helicopters to meet the needs of the armed forces. [209597]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: We have made significant progress in the helicopter sector since the publication of the Defence Industrial Strategy. The Strategic Partnering Arrangement with AgustaWestland has helped improve responsiveness and predictability through, for example, improved spares availability and adoption of a joint modification service.

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the (a) required and (b) actual helicopter crew numbers are of each helicopter type in the (i) Army Air Corps, (ii) Fleet Air Arm and (iii) Royal Air Force. [210655]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: The numbers of aircrew are shown in the following table.


16 Jun 2008 : Column 725W
Required strength Actual strength

Army Air Corps

Apache AH Mk 1

134

93

Lynx Mk 7/9

208

192

Gazelle Mk1

98

104

AgustaA109

5

6

Bell 212

24

23

School of Army Aviation( 1)

46

43

Royal Navy

Sea King Mk 4/6c

131

117

Lynx Mk 3/8

100

96

Merlin Mk 1

169

139

Sea King Mk 5

62

45

Sea King Mk 7

45

43

Royal Air Force

Chinook Mk 2/2a

249

229

Puma Mk 1

131

136

Merlin Mk 3/3a

140

127

SAR Sea King Mk3/3a

132

126

Defence Helicopter Flying School

Squirrel

30

29

Griffin

54

52

(1) SAAVN figures cannot be split by aircraft type (AH/Squirrel/Lynx/Gazelle).

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