Alistair Carmichael Portrait

Alistair Carmichael

Liberal Democrat - Orkney and Shetland

Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Home Affairs)

(since September 2020)

Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Northern Ireland)

(since September 2020)

Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Cabinet Office)

(since September 2020)
Liberal Democrat Chief Whip
16th Jun 2017 - 7th Sep 2020
Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Exiting the European Union)
6th Jan 2020 - 7th Sep 2020
Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs)
6th Jan 2020 - 7th Sep 2020
Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Northern Ireland)
16th Jun 2017 - 6th Jan 2020
Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
7th Feb 2019 - 21st Aug 2019
Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Home Affairs)
29th Jul 2015 - 16th Jun 2017
Committee on the Future Relationship with the European Union
31st Oct 2016 - 3rd May 2017
Committee on Exiting the European Union
31st Oct 2016 - 3rd May 2017
Energy and Climate Change Committee
8th Jul 2015 - 17th Oct 2016
Secretary of State for Scotland
7th Oct 2013 - 8th May 2015
Comptroller (HM Household) (Deputy Chief Whip, House of Commons)
12th May 2010 - 7th Oct 2013
Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Northern Ireland)
18th Oct 2007 - 6th May 2010
Members' Allowances
9th Feb 2009 - 6th May 2010
Consolidation etc. Bills (Joint Committee)
25th Mar 2008 - 6th May 2010
Scottish Affairs Committee
28th Jan 2008 - 6th May 2010
Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Scotland)
1st Jun 2008 - 12th Apr 2010
Draft Constitutional Renewal Bill (Joint Committee)
1st May 2008 - 22nd Jul 2008
Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Transport)
3rd Mar 2006 - 18th Oct 2007
Public Accounts Committee
12th Jul 2005 - 22nd May 2006
Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Home Affairs)
10th May 2005 - 2nd Mar 2006
Scottish Affairs Committee
16th Jul 2001 - 12th Jul 2005
Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Energy and Climate Change)
10th May 2001 - 10th May 2005
International Development Committee
5th Nov 2001 - 26th Feb 2002


Oral Question
Thursday 20th January 2022
09:30
Department for International Trade
Topical Question No. 7
If she will make a statement on her departmental responsibilities.
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Department Event
Wednesday 26th January 2022
11:30
Northern Ireland Office
Oral questions - Main Chamber
26 Jan 2022, 11:30 a.m.
Northern Ireland
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Note: This event involves a Department with which this person is linked, and does not guarantee their actual attendance.
Department Event
Wednesday 2nd February 2022
12:00
Cabinet Office
Oral questions - Main Chamber
2 Feb 2022, noon
Prime Minister
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Note: This event involves a Department with which this person is linked, and does not guarantee their actual attendance.
Scheduled Event
Friday 4th February 2022
Private Members' Bills - Main Chamber
Plastic Pollution Bill: Second Reading
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Department Event
Wednesday 9th February 2022
12:00
Cabinet Office
Oral questions - Main Chamber
9 Feb 2022, noon
Prime Minister
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Note: This event involves a Department with which this person is linked, and does not guarantee their actual attendance.
Department Event
Wednesday 23rd February 2022
12:00
Cabinet Office
Oral questions - Main Chamber
23 Feb 2022, noon
Prime Minister
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Note: This event involves a Department with which this person is linked, and does not guarantee their actual attendance.
Department Event
Thursday 24th February 2022
09:30
Cabinet Office
Oral questions - Main Chamber
24 Feb 2022, 9:30 a.m.
Cabinet Office (including Topical Questions)
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Note: This event involves a Department with which this person is linked, and does not guarantee their actual attendance.
Division Votes
Monday 17th January 2022
Elections Bill
voted Aye - in line with the party majority
One of 12 Liberal Democrat Aye votes vs 0 Liberal Democrat No votes
Tally: Ayes - 234 Noes - 328
Speeches
Monday 17th January 2022
Elections Bill
I can give the hon. Gentleman that reassurance. I can assure him that, if anything, the link would be strengthened. …
Written Answers
Thursday 16th December 2021
Fisheries: Exports
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many applications have been made for compensation …
Early Day Motions
Tuesday 11th January 2022
Surveillance Camera Code of Practice
That the House does not approve the Surveillance Camera Code of Practice, dated November 2021, laid before this House on …
Bills
Wednesday 23rd June 2021
Plastic Pollution Bill 2021-22
A Bill to set targets for the reduction of plastic pollution; to require the Secretary of State to publish a …
MP Financial Interests
Monday 29th November 2021
6. Land and property portfolio: (i) value over £100,000 and/or (ii) giving rental income of over £10,000 a year
From 10 November 2021, farmland including farm buildings and one dwelling house let as holiday accommodation, on Islay, Argyll. All …
EDM signed
Monday 17th January 2022
Post Office Horizon compensation scheme
That this House believes that the 555 litigants, who won civil proceedings against Post Office Ltd in 2018-19, should not …
Supported Legislation
Monday 6th July 2020
Tibet (Reciprocal Access) Bill 2019-21
A Bill to require the Secretary of State to report annually on restrictions on access by UK nationals to Tibet …

Division Voting information

During the current Parliamentary Session, Alistair Carmichael has voted in 330 divisions, and never against the majority of their Party.
View All Alistair Carmichael Division Votes

Debates during the 2019 Parliament

Speeches made during Parliamentary debates are recorded in Hansard. For ease of browsing we have grouped debates into individual, departmental and legislative categories.

Sparring Partners
Jacob Rees-Mogg (Conservative)
Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons
(44 debate interactions)
Dominic Raab (Conservative)
Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice
(20 debate interactions)
Nigel Adams (Conservative)
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
(19 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
Department Debates
Cabinet Office
(58 debate contributions)
Home Office
(50 debate contributions)
View All Department Debates
View all Alistair Carmichael's debates

Orkney and Shetland Petitions

e-Petitions are administered by Parliament and allow members of the public to express support for a particular issue.

If an e-petition reaches 10,000 signatures the Government will issue a written response.

If an e-petition reaches 100,000 signatures the petition becomes eligible for a Parliamentary debate (usually Monday 4.30pm in Westminster Hall).

Petitions with highest Orkney and Shetland signature proportion
Petition Debates Contributed

Recognise the state of Palestine to help stop the conflict from Israel. Not recognising the Palestinian state allows Israel to continue their persecution of the Palestinians.

The Government should introduce sanctions against Israel, including blocking all trade, and in particular arms.

We want the Government to commit to not rolling out any e-vaccination status/immunity passport to the British public. Such passports could be used to restrict the rights of people who have refused a Covid-19 vaccine, which would be unacceptable.


Latest EDMs signed by Alistair Carmichael

6th January 2022
Alistair Carmichael signed this EDM on Monday 17th January 2022

Post Office Horizon compensation scheme

Tabled by: Kate Osborne (Labour - Jarrow)
That this House believes that the 555 litigants, who won civil proceedings against Post Office Ltd in 2018-19, should not be excluded from the Post Office Horizon compensation scheme; that the exclusion of these litigants from the compensation scheme is having and will continue to have a direct and devastating …
67 signatures
(Most recent: 17 Jan 2022)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 28
Scottish National Party: 15
Liberal Democrat: 7
Democratic Unionist Party: 5
Independent: 4
Plaid Cymru: 3
Conservative: 2
Green Party: 1
Social Democratic & Labour Party: 1
Alba Party: 1
Alliance: 1
13th January 2022
Alistair Carmichael signed this EDM as a sponsor on Thursday 13th January 2022

No confidence in the Prime Minister

Tabled by: Ed Davey (Liberal Democrat - Kingston and Surbiton)
That this House has no confidence in the Prime Minister because he has broken the covid-19 lockdown laws his Government introduced, misled both Parliament and the public about it, and disastrously undermined public confidence in the midst of a pandemic.
22 signatures
(Most recent: 17 Jan 2022)
Signatures by party:
Liberal Democrat: 13
Plaid Cymru: 3
Labour: 3
Alliance: 1
Green Party: 1
Independent: 1
View All Alistair Carmichael's signed Early Day Motions

Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Alistair Carmichael, and are more likely to reflect personal policy preferences.

MPs who are act as Ministers or Shadow Ministers are generally restricted from performing Commons initiatives other than Urgent Questions.


1 Urgent Question tabled by Alistair Carmichael

Wednesday 8th September 2021

Alistair Carmichael has not been granted any Adjournment Debates

7 Bills introduced by Alistair Carmichael


A Bill to set targets for the reduction of plastic pollution; to require the Secretary of State to publish a strategy and annual reports on plastic pollution reduction; to establish an advisory committee on plastic pollution; and for connected purposes.


Last Event - 1st Reading (Commons)
Wednesday 23rd June 2021
Next Event - 2nd Reading (Commons)
Friday 4th February 2022
Order Paper number: 5
(Possibly be Debated)

A Bill to set targets for the reduction of plastic pollution; to require the Secretary of State to publish a strategy and annual reports on plastic pollution reduction; to establish an advisory committee on plastic pollution; and for connected purposes.


Last Event - 1st Reading (Commons)
Thursday 5th November 2020

A Bill to place requirements on the Government relating to the Sino-British Joint Declaration 1984 and human rights in Hong Kong; to make provision about immigration for Hong Kong residents including granting rights to live in the United Kingdom; and for connected purposes.


Last Event - 1st Reading (Commons)
Tuesday 25th February 2020
(Read Debate)

The Bill failed to complete its passage through Parliament before the end of the session. This means the Bill will make no further progress.


Last Event - 1st Reading: House Of Commons
Wednesday 3rd July 2019
(Read Debate)
Next Event - 2nd Reading: House Of Commons
Date TBA

The Bill failed to complete its passage through Parliament before the end of the session. This means the Bill will make no further progress. A Bill to make provision about the acceptance of Scottish banknotes throughout the United Kingdom; to oblige businesses and companies to accept Scottish banknotes as payment; and for connected purposes.


Last Event - 1st Reading: House Of Commons
Thursday 11th April 2019
(Read Debate)
Next Event - 2nd Reading: House Of Commons
Date TBA

The Bill failed to complete its passage through Parliament before the end of the session. This means the Bill will make no further progress. A Bill to set targets for the reduction of plastic pollution; to require the Secretary of State to publish a strategy and annual reports on plastic pollution reduction; to establish an advisory committee on plastic pollution; and for connected purposes.


Last Event - 1st Reading: House Of Commons
Monday 25th February 2019

A Bill to make provision about the disclosure of the quality of mobile telecommunications network coverage by providers and establish penalties for non-compliance; to provide recourse for consumers who enter contracts for such services that do not perform as advertised; and for connected purposes.


Last Event - 1st Reading: House Of Commons
Tuesday 2nd February 2016

127 Written Questions in the current parliament

(View all written questions)
Written Questions can be tabled by MPs and Lords to request specific information information on the work, policy and activities of a Government Department
1 Other Department Questions
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what steps he is taking to improve his Department's response times to correspondence from members of the public.

The Government recognises the importance of responding to members of the public in an effective and timely manner, and the Cabinet Office published an updated Guide to Handling Correspondence for government departments and agencies in July 2021.

The guidance reasserts the standards for handling correspondence, including a 20 working day deadline for departments to respond to members of the public, criteria outlining when a response to a member of the public is required, and when a piece of correspondence from a member of the public should be transferred to another department. Following publication of the updated guidance, all departments have been reminded that they must follow the processes outlined in the guidance.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Attorney General, what steps she is taking to improve her Department's response times to correspondence from members of the public.

This Government recognises the importance of responding to members of the public in an effective and timely manner, and the Cabinet Office published an updated Guide to Handling Correspondence for government departments and agencies on July 2021.

The guidance reasserts the standards for handling correspondence, including a 20 working day deadline for departments to respond to members of the public, criteria outlining when a response to a member of the public is required, and when a piece of correspondence from a member of the public should be transferred to another department. Following publication of the updated guidance, all departments have been reminded that they must follow the processes outlined in the guidance. The Attorney General’s Office always aims to respond to public correspondence within 20 working days where it falls within our remit.

My department's timeliness in responding to MP letters and Freedom of Information requests is among the best in the civil service. Since January 1st 2018, 80% of MP and Lords letters my department received were responded to within our target of 20 working days, and 99% of Freedom of Information requests were responded to within the statutory time limit. I am confident that public correspondence is responded to by my office in a similarly timely fashion and that every effort is made by my officials to respond as promptly as possible.

Alex Chalk
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
10th Dec 2020
What recent discussions she has had with Cabinet colleagues on the potential effect of the end of the transition period on the rule of law.

The Government has been working hard to ensure a smooth end to the transition period that gives effect to the referendum result. It will continue to work with the Withdrawal Agreement Joint Committee and final decisions are expected in the coming days.

The duty of the Law Officers is to ensure that the Government acts lawfully at all times. I take that responsibility seriously, and that will not change after the end of the transition period, regardless of whether we reach negotiate a deal with the EU.

Suella Braverman
Attorney General
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps he is taking to improve his Department's response times to correspondence from members of the public.

The Government recognises the importance of responding to members of the public in an effective and timely manner. To that end, the Cabinet Office published an updated Guide to Handling Correspondence for Government Departments and Agencies in July 2021.

The guidance reasserts the standards for handling correspondence including: a 20 working day deadline for departments to respond to members of the public, criteria outlining when a response to a member of the public is required, and; when a piece of correspondence from a member of the public should be transferred to another department. Following publication of the updated guidance, all departments have been reminded that they must follow the processes outlined in the guidance.

In the Cabinet Office, we continue to prioritise timely responses to correspondence from members of the public - despite a significant increase in case volumes. We also keep our processes under continuous review to further improve the time taken to respond.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
30th Jan 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, pursuant to the Answer of 1 November 2019 to Question 175803, on Local Government: Elections, whether EU citizens will be eligible to (a) stand as candidates, (b) serve a full-term if elected and (c) vote in local government elections in England and Wales in 2020 during the transition period of the UK leaving the EU.

I refer the Hon member to the answer which I gave to PQ 1802 on 29 January 2020.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
28th Jan 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, pursuant to the Answer of 1 November 2019 to Question 175803 on Local Government: Elections, whether EU citizens will be eligible in the transition period to (a) stand as candidates, (b) serve a full-term if elected and (c) vote in local elections in England and Wales in 2020.

I refer the Rt Hon member to the answer which I gave to PQ 1802 on 29 January 2020.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
1st Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether his Department or its Arm's Length Bodies has a working relationship, including on (a) contractual or (b) commercial terms, with the Beijing Genomics Institute (BGI) or any of its subsidiaries.

BEIS does not have any contractual or commercial terms with Beijing Genomics Institute (BGI) or any of its subsidiaries.

George Freeman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
1st Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether the Government has made an assessment of the potential implications for national security of UK Universities undertaking research either funded by or in partnership with the Chinese-state linked company Beijing Genomics Institute (BGI).

The UK’s research sector is independent and free to make decisions on research collaborations. However, university due diligence processes should consider reputational, ethical and security risks and collaborations must remain within the limits of the law. The Government reserves the right to intervene, where we judge that collaborations are not in the national interest or breach domestic or international law.

The Government supports the sector to make informed decisions on international research collaboration through the Trusted Research campaign and supported Universities UK to develop guidelines, published in October 2020, to help universities tackle security risks related to international collaboration.

Additionally, BEIS is establishing a Research Collaboration Advice Team which will work directly with institutions to help embed best practice.

George Freeman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to improve his Department's response times to correspondence from members of the public.

The department is committed to responding to all enquiries in a timely manner.

George Freeman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps she is taking to improve her Department's response times to correspondence from members of the public.

The government recognises the importance of responding to members of the public in an effective and timely manner, and the Cabinet Office published an updated Guide to Handling Correspondence for government departments and agencies in July 2021.

The guidance reasserts the standards for handling correspondence, including a 20 working day deadline for departments to respond to members of the public, criteria outlining when a response to a member of the public is required, and when a piece of correspondence from a member of the public should be transferred to another department. Following publication of the updated guidance, all departments have been reminded that they must follow the processes outlined in the guidance.

DCMS has taken a number of steps to improve response times. These include increasing the size of its correspondence team and improving internal reporting measures.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
10th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, with reference to the risk of sensitive vaccine data being shared and the risk of discrimination against fans without smartphones, whether a Data Protection Impact Assessment and a Equality Impact Assessment have been completed in relation to the trial of Covid-status certification at the Euro 2020 matches taking place at Wembley Stadium.

As part of the government’s world leading Events Research Programme, we are trialling the use of negative Lateral Flow Tests as part of test-on-entry protocols and how technology could be used to demonstrate vaccine status via the NHS app through Phase 3 of the Government’s Events Research Programme.

Event organisers only hold the standard data required for ticket purchasing and processing.

Attendees do not need a smartphone to demonstrate their Covid-status. They can have their vaccination status, or negative Lateral Flow Device (LFD) test emailed to their email address. This can be printed out from a PDF, and the printed copy brought with attendees to an event.

Any positive tests are reported through NHS Test and Trace, with contact tracing undertaken to ascertain details of activity during the day of the event, including travel, seating, and activity at the venue. All testing data is held by NHS Test and Trace, details on their privacy notice can be found here: https://contact-tracing.phe.gov.uk/help/privacy-notice.

A Data Protection Impact Assessment and Public Sector Equality Duty Assessment have been completed for the EURO matches being played at Wembley as part of the Events Research Programme. As DCMS will not be collecting any personal data at these events, GDPR does not apply in this instance.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, pursuant to the Answers of 19 May 2020 o Questions 45015, 45016 and 45017, whether illegal streaming of premium UK sports content and UK broadcasters by via beoutQ boxes has ceased in addition to beoutQ’s satellite piracy being stopped; and if he will make a statement.

Together with FCO, DIT and IPO colleagues, we continue to monitor and protect the intellectual property rights of UK rights holders, including UK sports institutions, in international markets. We also continue to maintain a dialogue with them and secondary rights holders, whenever we are requested to do so. We have received reports of continuing infringements of intellectual property rights in the Middle East. Where we do so, we will continue to pursue those with the relevant authorities.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, pursuant to the Answers of 19 May 2020 to Questions 45015, 45016 and 45017, what discussions he has had with representatives from UK sporting institutions on the effect of (a) beoutQ‘s IPTV piracy via beoutQ boxes and (b) illegal streaming of live UK sport across Saudi Arabia generally on broadcast revenue.

Together with FCO, DIT and IPO colleagues, we continue to monitor and protect the intellectual property rights of UK rights holders, including UK sports institutions, in international markets. We also continue to maintain a dialogue with them and secondary rights holders, whenever we are requested to do so. We have received reports of continuing infringements of intellectual property rights in the Middle East. Where we do so, we will continue to pursue those with the relevant authorities.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, pursuant to the Answers of 18 May 2020 to Questions 45015, 45016 and 45017, what assessment he has made of the effect on the value of UK sports’ broadcasting rights of beoutQ boxes and the illegal streaming of live sport through those boxes in (a) Saudi Arabia and (b) throughout the Middle East and North Africa.

Together with FCO, DIT and IPO colleagues, we continue to monitor and protect the intellectual property rights of UK rights holders, including UK sports institutions, in international markets. We also continue to maintain a dialogue with them and secondary rights holders, whenever we are requested to do so. We have received reports of continuing infringements of intellectual property rights in the Middle East. Where we do so, we will continue to pursue those with the relevant authorities.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
29th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what vocational training options are available for adult British National (Overseas) passport holders on arrival to the UK; and whether funding options for that education are immediately available to those people.

Full details on education and training for those arriving from Hong Kong on the British Nationals (Overseas Visa), are set out in the government's welcome pack for arrivals from Hong Kong on the British Nationals (Overseas) visa. The welcome pack is available here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1013244/HK_BN__O__Welcome_Pack_August_2021.pdf.

Hong Kong British Nationals and their dependents have access to further education (FE) and training for those aged 16-19, whether that's in school sixth forms for 16-18 year-olds or other FE settings for 16-19 year-olds. In line with existing eligibility rules, and after three years ordinary residency in the UK, they will have access to further education and training for adults (19 years and above).

The Lifelong Learning Entitlement will be introduced from 2025 and the department will consult on its scope and policy in due course, as part of our planned pathway to delivery.

Alex Burghart
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
29th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether Hong Kong British National (Overseas) passport holders have access to funding for training for adults through the adult education budget on arrival to the UK.

Full details on education and training for those arriving from Hong Kong on the British Nationals (Overseas Visa), are set out in the government's welcome pack for arrivals from Hong Kong on the British Nationals (Overseas) visa. The welcome pack is available here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1013244/HK_BN__O__Welcome_Pack_August_2021.pdf.

Hong Kong British Nationals and their dependents have access to further education (FE) and training for those aged 16-19, whether that's in school sixth forms for 16-18 year-olds or other FE settings for 16-19 year-olds. In line with existing eligibility rules, and after three years ordinary residency in the UK, they will have access to further education and training for adults (19 years and above).

The Lifelong Learning Entitlement will be introduced from 2025 and the department will consult on its scope and policy in due course, as part of our planned pathway to delivery.

Alex Burghart
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
29th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether Hong Kong British National (Overseas) passport holders will have access to the Lifelong Loan Entitlement when it launches from 2025.

Full details on education and training for those arriving from Hong Kong on the British Nationals (Overseas Visa), are set out in the government's welcome pack for arrivals from Hong Kong on the British Nationals (Overseas) visa. The welcome pack is available here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1013244/HK_BN__O__Welcome_Pack_August_2021.pdf.

Hong Kong British Nationals and their dependents have access to further education (FE) and training for those aged 16-19, whether that's in school sixth forms for 16-18 year-olds or other FE settings for 16-19 year-olds. In line with existing eligibility rules, and after three years ordinary residency in the UK, they will have access to further education and training for adults (19 years and above).

The Lifelong Learning Entitlement will be introduced from 2025 and the department will consult on its scope and policy in due course, as part of our planned pathway to delivery.

Alex Burghart
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
29th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether Hong Kong British National (Overseas) passport holders arriving in the UK have immediate access to Government-funded adult vocational training.

Full details on education and training for those arriving from Hong Kong on the British Nationals (Overseas Visa), are set out in the government's welcome pack for arrivals from Hong Kong on the British Nationals (Overseas) visa. The welcome pack is available here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1013244/HK_BN__O__Welcome_Pack_August_2021.pdf.

Hong Kong British Nationals and their dependents have access to further education (FE) and training for those aged 16-19, whether that's in school sixth forms for 16-18 year-olds or other FE settings for 16-19 year-olds. In line with existing eligibility rules, and after three years ordinary residency in the UK, they will have access to further education and training for adults (19 years and above).

The Lifelong Learning Entitlement will be introduced from 2025 and the department will consult on its scope and policy in due course, as part of our planned pathway to delivery.

Alex Burghart
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
29th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether Hong Kongers aged 24 and over on the British National (Overseas) Visa have immediate access to the Government’s National Skills Fund, including access to the Skills Bootcamps and free level 3 qualifications for adults.

Full details on education and training for those arriving from Hong Kong on the British Nationals (Overseas Visa), are set out in the government's welcome pack for arrivals from Hong Kong on the British Nationals (Overseas) visa. The welcome pack is available here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1013244/HK_BN__O__Welcome_Pack_August_2021.pdf.

Hong Kong British Nationals and their dependents have access to further education (FE) and training for those aged 16-19, whether that's in school sixth forms for 16-18 year-olds or other FE settings for 16-19 year-olds. In line with existing eligibility rules, and after three years ordinary residency in the UK, they will have access to further education and training for adults (19 years and above).

The Lifelong Learning Entitlement will be introduced from 2025 and the department will consult on its scope and policy in due course, as part of our planned pathway to delivery.

Alex Burghart
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to improve his Department's response times to correspondence from members of the public.

The government recognises the importance of responding to members of the public in an effective and timely manner, and the Cabinet Office published an updated 'Guide to Handling Correspondence' for government departments and agencies in July 2021, which is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/handling-government-correspondence-guidance.

The guidance reasserts the standards for handling correspondence, including a 20 working day deadline for departments to respond to members of the public, criteria outlining when a response to a member of the public is required, and when a piece of correspondence from a member of the public should be transferred to another department. Following the publication of the updated guidance, all departments have been reminded that they must follow the processes outlined in the guidance.

During the COVID-19 outbreak, this department had an unprecedented increase in the volume of customer contact. As a result timeliness for the despatch of correspondence to the public has unfortunately been affected. Additional resources have now been made available to the correspondence team and there has been a steady and sustained improvement in timeliness. During September 2021, 90% of correspondence was answered within the 20 day target and the expectation is that this will continue to improve. In order to provide the public with rapid access to advice the department placed an emphasis on answering phone calls throughout this calendar year, with over 94% of telephone enquiries presented to the National Helpline being answered every month during 2021.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
8th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many applications have been made for compensation for lost sales under the Seafood Disruption Support Scheme; what proportion of applications to that scheme were accepted for payment; what proportion of successful applications to that scheme were paid out to the full amount requested; and what the average payout was to firms in receipt of compensation payments under that scheme.

The Seafood Disruption Support Scheme (SDSS) was launched in February 2021 to help seafood businesses cover a proportion of verifiable losses that occurred during export to the single market in January. The scheme was designed in line with Government public funding principles, which apply strict conditions and evidence requirements to business to ensure that taxpayers’ money is spent responsibly. In February the scheme received 119 applications across the UK with 31 applicants meeting the criteria for the scheme. Successful applicants were eligible for 50% of their verifiable loss, up to a value of £100,000. Defra can confirm that the total amount delivered through the scheme was £377,138.11.

Alongside the SDSS, Defra also delivered the Seafood Response Fund (SRF), which made payments to cover the fixed costs of catching and shellfish aquaculture businesses. The SRF provided funding to some businesses which were unsuccessful under the SDSS scheme.

In total over £22 million was delivered through both UK-wide and devolved emergency schemes in 2021, of which £16 million was provided directly by Defra.

Financial support was only one of the many actions taken by this Government to alleviate the pressures faced in early 2021 as a result of export disruption. Defra’s priority has always been to keep exports moving – which is why the Government acted swiftly to form the Seafood Exports Working Group and the Scottish Seafood Exports Taskforce, working closely with industry to identify and address priority issues to minimise disruption to trade flows. Through ongoing engagement with the EU, Defra has been able to resolve a number of issues with the EU and improved consistency between Border Control Posts, such as certification for organic salmon, ink colour on export health certificates (EHC), and which species are exempt from catch certificate requirements.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to improve his Department's response times to correspondence from members of the public.

The Government recognises the importance of responding to members of the public in an effective and timely manner, and the Cabinet Office published an updated Guide to Handling Correspondence for Government departments and agencies in July 2021.

The guidance reasserts the standards for handling correspondence, including a 20 working day deadline for departments to respond to members of the public, criteria outlining when a response to a member of the public is required, and when a piece of correspondence from a member of the public should be transferred to another department. Following publication of the updated guidance, all departments have been reminded that they must follow the processes outlined in the guidance.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what steps she is taking to improve her Department's response times to correspondence from members of the public.

The Government recognises the importance of responding to members of the public in an effective and timely manner, and the Cabinet Office published an updated Guide to Handling Correspondence for government departments and agencies in July 2021.

The guidance reasserts the standards for handling correspondence, including a 20 working day deadline for departments to respond to members of the public, criteria outlining when a response to a member of the public is required, and when a piece of correspondence from a member of the public should be transferred to another department. Following publication of the updated guidance, all departments have been reminded that they must follow the processes outlined in the guidance.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
11th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, in light of the potential acquisition of Newcastle football club by Saudi Arabia, what steps her Department is taking to tackle ongoing internet piracy by Saudi Arabia-backed pirate broadcaster beoutQ.

Officials in the Department for International Trade work closely with their counterparts in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and the Intellectual Property Office on matters relating to the protection of intellectual property (IP) rights around the world.

Government ministers and our Ambassador to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia have raised this matter with the Saudi Arabian government and will continue to make representations about any alleged broadcast infringement activities of UK IP.

We understand broadcasting piracy on satellite in Saudi Arabia, through the pirate operator beoutQ, has now stopped. This followed pressure by the UK, the US, European countries, and major sports rights holders.

We are aware that there are continued issues of infringement of UK-owned intellectual property rights across all industries through the use of IPTV apps, and we will work with the IPO to address these issues and work to protect UK intellectual property in all territories.

11th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what discussions she has had with Cabinet colleagues on the effect of internet piracy by pirate broadcasters, such as beoutQ, on the export value of the UK’s intellectual property.

Officials in the Department for International Trade work closely with their counterparts in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and the Intellectual Property Office on matters relating to the protection of intellectual property (IP) rights around the world.

Government ministers and our Ambassador to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia have raised this matter with the Saudi Arabian government and will continue to make representations about any alleged broadcast infringement activities of UK IP.

We understand broadcasting piracy on satellite in Saudi Arabia, through the pirate operator beoutQ, has now stopped. This followed pressure by the UK, the US, European countries, and major sports rights holders.

We are aware that there are continued issues of infringement of UK-owned intellectual property rights across all industries through the use of IPTV apps, and we will work with the IPO to address these issues and work to protect UK intellectual property in all territories.

11th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what assessment she has made of the effect on the export value of the UK sports’ broadcasting rights of pirate broadcaster, BeoutQ.

Officials in the Department for International Trade work closely with their counterparts in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and the Intellectual Property Office on matters relating to the protection of intellectual property (IP) rights around the world.

Government ministers and our Ambassador to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia have raised this matter with the Saudi Arabian government and will continue to make representations about any alleged broadcast infringement activities of UK IP.

We understand broadcasting piracy on satellite in Saudi Arabia, through the pirate operator beoutQ, has now stopped. This followed pressure by the UK, the US, European countries, and major sports rights holders.

We are aware that there are continued issues of infringement of UK-owned intellectual property rights across all industries through the use of IPTV apps, and we will work with the IPO to address these issues and work to protect UK intellectual property in all territories.

13th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what the DVSA’s target time is for answering customer calls on 0300 200 1122; and what its performance is against that target.

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency’s (DVSA) target time for answering customer calls made to 0300 200 1122, which was set before the coronavirus pandemic, is 70% of calls answered within 30 seconds.

Pre-pandemic, the performance was 79.27% during the period 1 January to 31 August 2019.

The COVID-19 pandemic led to significant disruption to DVSA services with the customer service centre receiving an unprecedented number of customer calls – rising, for example, to around 30,000 extra calls each month during June, July and August 2021, which has inevitably impacted on the time taken to answer each call.

In addition, the COVID-19 pandemic led to increased staff attrition/departures during 2020/21, with the call centre operating with an average of 10 fewer agents than usual. The DVSA is currently undergoing a recruitment campaign to increase to the number of agents, which will improve the service standard.

The exceptionally high call volumes during the pandemic, and the fall in agent numbers, resulted in a performance of 40.88% during the period 1 January to 31 August 2020, and 38.27% for the same period this year.

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
13th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what methods of communication are available to (a) Ministers and (b) hon. Members for corresponding with the chief executive of the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency.

The Chief Executive of the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) welcomes correspondence from ministers and hon members about issues for which the DVSA is responsible, either electronically or by post.

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency aims to respond to letters and emails it receives within 10 working days.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
13th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether his Department has set response time targets for correspondence with the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency.

The Chief Executive of the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) welcomes correspondence from ministers and hon members about issues for which the DVSA is responsible, either electronically or by post.

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency aims to respond to letters and emails it receives within 10 working days.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what his policy is on support for private ferry companies affected by the economic effect of the covid-19 outbreak.

The Coronavirus outbreak is among the biggest challenges our transport industry has ever confronted, and I am grateful for the sustained efforts by ferry operators in running crucial services to support the continued flow of freight. The Government announced an unprecedent package of financial measures worth £350 billion to support companies through these challenging times and a full range of support schemes have been made available to UK businesses. My department is working closely with maritime operators to consider how these apply to them.

In addition, on 24 April we announced a package of funding to support lifeline services and critical freight routes. This includes up to £10.5m for lifeline services to the Isles of Scilly and the Isle of Wight, up to £17m for critical freight routes between Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and support for up to 26 critical freight routes between Great Britain and mainland Europe.

We will continue to work closely with industry to monitor the implementation of these measures to continue these vital services.

15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps she is taking to improve her Department's response times to correspondence from members of the public.

The Department is currently experiencing high volumes of customer complaints, and it is taking us longer than usual to reply as we start to recover from the challenges of the pandemic.

DWP now triage complaints giving priority to vulnerable claimants who may be at risk, and those with benefit payment issues. We aim to contact customers within 15 working days to clear the complaint or agree how to investigate it if it will take longer.

We continue to look into all complaints as quickly as we can and, as part of the triage process, we write or call those customers where there may be a delay in answering their complaint.

We are in the process of designing the future operating model for DWP complaints and correspondence. As part of this we will be looking for further opportunities to drive efficiency in the process whilst ensuring that vulnerable customers are prioritised.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
19th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether problems that may cause delays in Winter Fuel Payments were identified in relation to the new Seasonal Payment System; and what mitigation was put in place to avoid such delays.

99.9% of customers were paid by the 23rd of December, with the remaining 0.1% paid by the 31st March which is the end of the winter fuel published timeframe. There are no outstanding annual Winter Fuel Payments for the winter 2020-21 exercise.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
19th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many delayed Winter Fuel Payments were caused by incorrect address transfers in the new Seasonal Payment System.

No payments were delayed due to data transfer between the systems.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
19th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what risk assessments took place before the transfer to the new Winter Fuel Payments database (Seasonal Payment System).

The decision to move to the Seasonal Payment System was based on a number of factors including best use of technology, commercial and operational considerations as we strive to deliver a modern and effective welfare system. Risk assessments took place before the start of the exercise.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
19th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how the new Winter Fuel Payments database (Seasonal Payment System) was chosen.

The decision to move to the Seasonal Payment System was based on a number of factors including best use of technology, commercial and operational considerations as we strive to deliver a modern and effective welfare system. Risk assessments took place before the start of the exercise.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
14th Sep 2020
What steps she is taking to encourage SMEs to participate in the Kickstart scheme.

We are determined that small businesses play a key part in the Kickstart Scheme. We are actively encouraging a range of organisations to step forward as intermediaries, this includes the Chambers of Commerce, Local Authorities and charities – so they can support small employers offer Kickstart roles to young people.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to improve his Department's response times to correspondence from members of the public.

The Government recognises the importance of responding to members of the public in an effective and timely manner. The Cabinet Office published an updated ‘Guide to Handling Correspondence’ for Government Departments and agencies in July 2021.

The guidance reasserts the standards for handling correspondence, including a 20 working day deadline for Departments to respond to members of the public, criteria outlining when a response to a member of the public is required and when correspondence from a member of the public should be transferred to another Department. Following publication of the updated guidance, all Departments have been reminded that they must follow the processes outlined in the guidance.

To 17 October 2021, the Department has replied to 85% of cases from the public within its target of 18 working days. We aim to reply to 90% within this timeframe. We are deploying additional resource to improve this performance.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
7th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the legal basis is for the use of Covid Status Certification for attendance at domestic events as set out in the wording on the NHS App Covid-19 Status privacy policy.

Under the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (Steps) (England) Regulations 2021 the Secretary of State may by direction disapply any relevant restriction or requirement in relation to specified premises, a specified event or a specified gathering, for the purposes of a research programme to evidence the potential transmission of coronavirus in controlled environments. The Government is running the Events Research Programme, as announced in February, and will use this research to trial a number of potential mitigations, including certification.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
7th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that NHS users are aware of the upcoming 23 June 2021 deadline to opt-out of patient data sharing plans.

NHS Digital proactively promoted the new collection approach with all media outlets, using social media channels to promote information including an animation which describes what is a complex area in easy to understand terms. Patient facing materials have been developed by NHS Digital for general practitioners to use.

Following the announcement that the data collection will be delayed until 1 September 2021, NHS Digital intends to use the next two months to continue to enhance communications and further raise awareness with the public about the new collection and its benefits.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
6th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, how many investigations have been opened by Israeli authorities into potential serious violations of international law by its forces during its May 2021 offensive on Gaza.

The UK welcomed the announcement of a ceasefire in Israel and Gaza on 20 May. Following the ceasefire announcement, the former Foreign Secretary visited Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories, and made clear that the UK would continue to work with the parties, and other actors, to encourage a durable ceasefire and to urge them to address the drivers of conflict. Israel has a legitimate right to self-defence. In exercising this right, it is vital that all actions are proportionate and in line with International Humanitarian Law.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
2nd Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether (a) she and (b) officials in her Department have made representations to their Israeli counterparts on encouraging that country to implement the 2019 recommendations of the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination that it ensure equal treatment for all persons on the territories under its effective control and subject to its jurisdiction.

Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories is a human rights priority for the FCDO. Human Rights is a crucial element underpinning the UK's foreign policy. This is why we regularly raise concerns with the Government of Israel, where they exist. We repeatedly call on Israel to abide by its obligations under international law and have a regular dialogue with Israel on legal issues relating to the occupation.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
2nd Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what estimate her Department has made of the number of (a) instances of violence against Palestinians by Israeli settlers between 1 September and 30 November 2021, (b) investigations opened into those instances of violence by Israeli authorities and (c) prosecutions for those acts.

The UK regularly raises the issue of settler violence with the Government of Israel, most recently with Israel's Ministry of Defence on 19 October. We welcome Israeli authorities' discussion of how to address this issue, and urge Israel to bring those responsible to justice and end the culture of impunity. We continue to stress the importance of the Israeli security forces providing appropriate protection to the Palestinian civilian population.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
1st Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment her Department has made of the accuracy of reports that subsidiaries of BGI Group companies conducted genetic analyses of China’s minority Uighurs; and if she will take steps to backlist those companies.

We are aware of reports that subsidiaries of Chinese headquartered genome sequencing company BGI Group cooperated with the Chinese government on the collection of genetic information in Xinjiang.

On 12 January 2021, the UK Government announced a series of robust measures in respect of UK supply chains to help ensure that no British organisations - government or private sector, deliberately or inadvertently - are profiting from or contributing to human rights violations against the Uyghurs or other minorities in Xinjiang. These measures include a review of export controls as they apply to Xinjiang, the introduction of financial penalties for organisations that fail to comply with their obligations under the Modern Slavery Act, and new, robust guidance to UK businesses on the specific risks faced by companies with links to the region.

Amanda Milling
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
30th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what (a) training and (b) awareness raising (i) Ministers and (ii) officials in her Department receive on their obligations under the Geneva Conventions Act 1957 and subsequent legislation not to commit, aid, abet or procure the commission by any other person of a grave breach of the Geneva Conventions.

The Geneva Conventions and their Additional Protocols are at the core of international humanitarian law (IHL). FCDO staff undertake training through the International Academy which includes modules on the Conventions and other aspects of IHL. More detailed training is available for those who work in this field. Additionally the FCDO undertook to produce a voluntary report on the domestic implementation of IHL, including the Conventions. This report was published on GOV.UK in 2019 https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/implementation-of-international-humanitarian-law-at-domestic-level-voluntary-report. In response to a pledge made at the International Committee of the Red Cross Quadrennial Conference, the UK is promoting and assisting other states to produce similar reports, in conjunction with the British Red Cross, and have produced a toolkit in several languages to assist them to do so. In 2019 the UK hosted a conference at Lancaster House to mark 70 years of the Conventions and to address the challenges to compliance.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
16th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, with reference to the report by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Democracy and Human Rights in the Gulf, entitled The cost of repression, published on 6 July 2021, what assessment the Government has made of the implications for its policies of the findings in that report that the beneficiaries of the Government's Integrated Activity Fund and Gulf Strategy Fund have facilitated and perpetrated human rights violations and potential war crimes and that the Government has made misleading and deceptive statements about those funds.

The FCDO's International Programme (IP), and within it the Gulf Strategy Fund (GSF), is a vital tool in promoting positive change and reforms across the world, including in the Gulf. Our programmes help our partners to continue their human rights reform, address key climate change and green growth opportunities and challenges, tackle illicit finance, improve marine conservation, promote economic diversification, promote diversity and inclusion including on LGBTQ+ rights, and develop their institutions.

All cooperation through the IP, including the GSF, is subject to rigorous risk assessments to ensure all work meets our human rights obligations and our values. The Government does not shy away from raising legitimate human rights concerns, and encourage other states to respect international law.

We now publish an annual summary of the GSF's work on gov.uk. We will not publish further information where doing so presents risks to our staff, programme suppliers and beneficiaries, or which may impact our relationships with our international partners, and therefore our ability to influence their reform efforts.

We will provide updates on an annual basis.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
16th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, with reference to the report by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Democracy and Human Rights in the Gulf, entitled The cost of repression, published on 6 July 2021, what assessment the Government has made of the implications for its policies of the recommendations in that report; and if the Government will publish a response to that report.

The FCDO's International Programme (IP), and within it the Gulf Strategy Fund (GSF), is a vital tool in promoting positive change and reforms across the world, including in the Gulf. Our programmes help our partners to continue their human rights reform, address key climate change and green growth opportunities and challenges, tackle illicit finance, improve marine conservation, promote economic diversification, promote diversity and inclusion including on LGBTQ+ rights, and develop their institutions.

All cooperation through the IP, including the GSF, is subject to rigorous risk assessments to ensure all work meets our human rights obligations and our values. The Government does not shy away from raising legitimate human rights concerns, and encourage other states to respect international law.

We now publish an annual summary of the GSF's work on gov.uk. We will not publish further information where doing so presents risks to our staff, programme suppliers and beneficiaries, or which may impact our relationships with our international partners, and therefore our ability to influence their reform efforts.

We will provide updates on an annual basis.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
16th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, with reference to the case of Bahraini political prisoner, Hassan Mushaima, and representations from Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and the EU Parliament for his immediate release, if the Government will make representations to the Government of Bahrain on the immediate release of Hassan Mushaima from prison.

We continue to monitor and raise the cases of Hassan Mushaima, Husain Moosa, Mohammed Ramadhan and others, with the Bahraini Government as well as with the Oversight bodies. We understand that the Bahraini Government is in contact with the UN regarding its human rights reform effort.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
16th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, with reference to the decision published by the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, published on 16 June 2021, which states that the detention of Bahraini death row inmates, Mohammed Ramadhan and Husain Moosa, is arbitrary and in contravention of international law, what assessment the Government has made of the implications for its policies of the decision by the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention; and if the Government will make representations on that decision to the Government of Bahrain at the earliest opportunity.

We continue to monitor and raise the cases of Hassan Mushaima, Husain Moosa, Mohammed Ramadhan and others, with the Bahraini Government as well as with the Oversight bodies. We understand that the Bahraini Government is in contact with the UN regarding its human rights reform effort.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
13th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether his Department has received evidence of an increase in repressive behaviour towards (a) Uyghurs and (b) other Turkic Muslim minorities in the Uyghur region of China following recent events in Afghanistan.

The UK is committed to working with our international partners to stand up for the rights of Uyghurs and other minorities in Xinjiang. We also have serious concerns about the developing situation in Afghanistan and how this may affect minorities in the region. We will continue to monitor developments closely.

Amanda Milling
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
10th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if he will take steps to build international support for a global arms embargo on Myanmar.

The UK is a longstanding supporter of an arms embargo on Myanmar. We are clear that countries should not sell arms to the Myanmar military. The UK autonomous Myanmar sanctions regulations prohibit the provision of military related services, including the provision of technical assistance, to or for the benefit of the Tatmadaw. We will work closely with partners to pressure those who sell arms to the military.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
10th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if he will take steps to prevent UK companies doing business with military-owned and controlled companies in Myanmar in response to the coup in that country.

The Foreign Secretary and the International Trade Secretary have written to British Companies active in Myanmar to make clear our expectation that they do nothing to support the military. We are clear that the military must pay the price for their actions, that is why we are exploring all options to put pressure on their economic interests, this includes sanctions.

We remain committed to the principle of 'do no harm' with sanctions, and therefore wish to ensure that any measures balance the risk of disproportionately affecting poor people in Myanmar and imposing a cost on the military. In addition, as set out in the written ministerial statement of 25 February, we are reviewing our approach to Trade and Investment in Myanmar, and while that review takes place have suspended all trade promotion activity.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if he will (a) make representations to the Government of Saudia Arabia on halting the execution of Nawaf al-Osaimi for crimes committed as a teenager and (b) urge the Government of Saudi Arabia to undertake an independent review of its death row population to identify people on death row for childhood crimes and ensure that no other child defendants face execution.

The UK strongly opposes the death penalty in all countries and in all circumstances, as a matter of principle. This is especially the case for juveniles. This is in line with the provisions of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Arab Charter on Human Rights. We reiterated our opposition to the death penalty in Saudi Arabia in a joint statement at the UN Human Rights Council on 15 September.

We regularly raise our concerns about the use of the death penalty, including individual cases with the Saudi Arabian authorities and we will continue to do so. In August, our Chargé d'affaires in Riyadh raised the issue of the death penalty with Minister of State Al Jubeir. I raised the death penalty with Dr Awwad al Awwad, President of Saudi Arabia's Human Rights Commission during his virtual visit in July.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
18th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what representations his Department has received on the judgments of Branch 54 of the Special Court for Article 49 of the Constitution, issued on 1 August 2020 and a further extraordinary session of the Court of Appeal on 13 October 2020, on the expropriation of properties and farms owned by a community of Bahá’is in the village of Ivel; and if he will make a statement.

We remain deeply concerned by the continuing systematic discrimination, harassment and targeting of the Baha'i community in Iran. On 26 October 2020, we made a statement calling on Iran to ensure members of all religious and ethnic groups are treated equally before the law and allowed to participate fully in society. We support the assessment made by the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Iran, that discrimination against the Baha'is is sanctioned by a lack of constitutional recognition. The Government continues to raise our concerns on this and other persistent human rights violations with Iran, and maintains close engagement with the Baha'i community.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
13th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps the Government is taking to protect the 156 Palestinian families in occupied East Jerusalem from eviction and forced transfer.

We continue to be concerned by the impact of evictions on ordinary Palestinians and the viability of a future Palestinian state. We regularly make clear our serious concerns about the evictions of Palestinians from their homes in East Jerusalem to the Israeli authorities and the Municipality of Jerusalem, both bilaterally and in co-operation with like-minded diplomatic partners. The Fourth Geneva Convention, which applies to all occupied territories, including East Jerusalem, prohibits demolitions or forced evictions absent military necessity.

Evictions of Palestinians from their homes cause unnecessary suffering to ordinary Palestinians, call into question Israel's commitment to a viable two-state solution and, in all but the most exceptional of cases, are contrary to International Humanitarian Law. I raised our concern about the eviction of Palestinians from their homes, with the Israeli Ambassador to the UK on 29 October 2020, and the British Embassy in Tel Aviv raises this issue regularly with the Israeli authorities. On 25 November 2020, the UK Consul General Jerusalem visited families at risk of eviction in Sheikh Jarrah, restating UK opposition to evictions of Palestinians from their homes. The UK is focused on preventing demolitions and evictions from happening in the first place through our legal aid programme, which supports Bedouin communities and Palestinians facing demolition or home eviction in both the West Bank and East Jerusalem. We continue to urge the Government of Israel to develop improved mechanisms for zoning, planning and permitting in Area C for the benefit of the Palestinian population, including by facilitating local Palestinian participation in such processes.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
13th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, with reference to evictions of Palestinian families and the expansion of settlements in occupied East Jerusalem, what representations his Department has made to the Israeli authorities on reviewing the Absentees' Property Law and the Administrative Matters Law in that country.

We continue to be concerned by the impact of evictions on ordinary Palestinians and the viability of a future Palestinian state. We regularly make clear our serious concerns about the evictions of Palestinians from their homes in East Jerusalem to the Israeli authorities and the Municipality of Jerusalem, both bilaterally and in co-operation with like-minded diplomatic partners. The Fourth Geneva Convention, which applies to all occupied territories, including East Jerusalem, prohibits demolitions or forced evictions absent military necessity.

Evictions of Palestinians from their homes cause unnecessary suffering to ordinary Palestinians, call into question Israel's commitment to a viable two-state solution and, in all but the most exceptional of cases, are contrary to International Humanitarian Law. I raised our concern about the eviction of Palestinians from their homes, with the Israeli Ambassador to the UK on 29 October 2020, and the British Embassy in Tel Aviv raises this issue regularly with the Israeli authorities. On 25 November 2020, the UK Consul General Jerusalem visited families at risk of eviction in Sheikh Jarrah, restating UK opposition to evictions of Palestinians from their homes. The UK is focused on preventing demolitions and evictions from happening in the first place through our legal aid programme, which supports Bedouin communities and Palestinians facing demolition or home eviction in both the West Bank and East Jerusalem. We continue to urge the Government of Israel to develop improved mechanisms for zoning, planning and permitting in Area C for the benefit of the Palestinian population, including by facilitating local Palestinian participation in such processes.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
13th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what the Government's policy is on the responsibility of the Israeli Government for the eviction of Palestinian families in Sheikh Jarrah, Silwan and throughout occupied East Jerusalem, notwithstanding the involvement of private settler organisations in that matter.

We continue to be concerned by the impact of evictions on ordinary Palestinians and the viability of a future Palestinian state. We regularly make clear our serious concerns about the evictions of Palestinians from their homes in East Jerusalem to the Israeli authorities and the Municipality of Jerusalem, both bilaterally and in co-operation with like-minded diplomatic partners. The Fourth Geneva Convention, which applies to all occupied territories, including East Jerusalem, prohibits demolitions or forced evictions absent military necessity.

Evictions of Palestinians from their homes cause unnecessary suffering to ordinary Palestinians, call into question Israel's commitment to a viable two-state solution and, in all but the most exceptional of cases, are contrary to International Humanitarian Law. I raised our concern about the eviction of Palestinians from their homes, with the Israeli Ambassador to the UK on 29 October 2020, and the British Embassy in Tel Aviv raises this issue regularly with the Israeli authorities. On 25 November 2020, the UK Consul General Jerusalem visited families at risk of eviction in Sheikh Jarrah, restating UK opposition to evictions of Palestinians from their homes. The UK is focused on preventing demolitions and evictions from happening in the first place through our legal aid programme, which supports Bedouin communities and Palestinians facing demolition or home eviction in both the West Bank and East Jerusalem. We continue to urge the Government of Israel to develop improved mechanisms for zoning, planning and permitting in Area C for the benefit of the Palestinian population, including by facilitating local Palestinian participation in such processes.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
8th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, with reference to the reported attack by Israeli forces against Palestine Red Crescent Society paramedics treating an injured man in Jordan Valley on 24 November 2020, what recent representations he has made to his Israeli counterparts to encourage prompt, independent and thorough investigations into and accountability for incidents of obstruction and attacks against health workers in the occupied Palestinian territory.

We condemn any incidence of violence by settlers against Palestinians. We continue to stress the importance of the Israeli security forces providing appropriate protection to the Palestinian civilian population, and urge restraint in the use of live fire. In instances where there have been accusations of excessive use of force, we have advocated swift, transparent investigations. We welcome the efforts of Israeli authorities to address settler violence, and urge them to thoroughly investigate every instance to bring those responsible to justice.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
22nd Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment the Government has made of the potential merits of (a) the UK not participating in the G20 summit in Saudi Arabia in response to that country's human rights record and (b) making the UK's participation contingent on the release of women's rights activist Loujain al-Hathloul.

The UK will participate in the G20 Summit, which is likely to focus on health, the global economic recovery and wider global challenges (including climate change, trade and development). It is a key part of international planning for a sustainable recovery from coronavirus. As current G20 President, Saudi Arabia will play a vital role in coordinating the global health and economic response. We hope that the international platform provided by the G20 Presidency encourages continued progress on domestic reforms.

Our close relationship with Saudi Arabia allows us to raise our concerns about human rights, including on political detainees, in private and in public. We have expressed significant concerns about reports of continuing arrests and arbitrary detentions in Saudi Arabia. The UK signed a statement at the UN Human Rights Council on 15 September. It deeply regretted the continued detention of at least five women's human rights defenders, arrested in 2018, and called for the release of all political detainees. We continue to raise concerns at all levels and we are monitoring the ongoing situation closely.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
22nd Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if he will take diplomatic steps to make Saudi Arabia's participation in the upcoming virtual G20 summit conditional upon the release of (a) Prince Turki bin Abdullah, (b) Prince Mohammed bin Nayef and (c) other political detainees in that country.

Our close relationship with Saudi Arabia allows us to raise our concerns about human rights, including on political detainees, in private and in public. We have expressed significant concerns about reports of continuing arrests and arbitrary detentions in Saudi Arabia. The UK signed a statement at the UN Human Rights Council on 15 September. It called for the release of all political detainees, and noted concern over reports of torture and arbitrary detention. We continue to raise concerns at all levels and we are monitoring the ongoing situation closely.

The G20 Leaders' Summit is likely to focus on health, the global economic recovery and wider global challenges (including climate change, trade and development). It is a key part of international planning for a sustainable recovery from coronavirus. As current G20 President, Saudi Arabia will play a vital role in coordinating the global health and economic response. We hope that the international platform provided by the G20 Presidency encourages continued progress on domestic reforms.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
16th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, whether officials in his Department have had discussions with their (a) Egyptian, (b) Sudanese and (c) Ethiopian counterparts on the Grand Renaissance Dam.

We are aware of reports on the ongoing dispute between Ethiopia and Egypt over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam. We continue to urge all parties involved to come to an agreement and to avoid taking any unilateral action. The Foreign Secretary spoke to Egyptian Foreign Minister Shoukry on these terms on 8 June, as did the Minister for Africa with Ethiopian Foreign Minister Gedu on 20 May. We welcome the resumption of talks between the Sudan, Ethiopia and Egypt to work towards a peaceful resolution.

12th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, how many UK nationals are awaiting repatriation as a result of the covid-19 pandemic.

Helping British nationals who need and want to return to the UK is one of the Government's highest priorities. Since the outbreak in Wuhan, we estimate that over 1.3 million people have returned to the UK via commercial routes - the majority supported by our work to keep vital routes open. Additionally we have brought home over 31,000 people on 146 flights organised by the Foreign Office from 27 countries and territories.

We estimate that low tens of thousands of British travellers remain overseas. We continue to work round the clock to keep them informed of options to return and support them where necessary when they choose to take those options, whether that is commercial routes or special Her Majesty's Government charter flights.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
12th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, how many EU Civil Protection Mechanism flights the UK has participated in since the start of the covid-19 pandemic.

The UK has activated the EU's Civil Protection Mechanism (CPM) on several occasions, as part of our international response to coronavirus, which has helped repatriate British travellers and EU citizens. As of 24 April, the EU estimated that around 2,000 UK citizens had been repatriated under the CPM.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
12th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, how many EU Civil Protection Mechanism flights the Government has agreed to participate in since the start of the covid-19 outbreak.

The UK has activated the EU's Civil Protection Mechanism (CPM) on several occasions, as part of our international response to coronavirus, which has helped repatriate British travellers and EU citizens. As of 24 April, the EU estimated that around 2,000 UK citizens had been repatriated under the CPM.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
12th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, how many repatriation flights for UK nationals have been arranged since the start of the covid-19 pandemic.

Since 31 January, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office has repatriated over 31,000 people on 146 flights from 27 countries and territories. We estimate that over 1.3 million people have returned to the UK via commercial routes - the majority supported by our work to keep vital routes open.

The UK Government continues to work with the airline industry and host governments across the world to help bring back British travellers to the UK as part of the plan announced by the Foreign Secretary on 30 March - with up to £75 million available for special charter flights to priority countries, focused on helping the most vulnerable travellers.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
12th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, how many UK nationals have been repatriated since the restrictions on travel during the covid-19 pandemic were introduced.

Since 31 January, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office has repatriated over 31,000 people on 146 flights from 27 countries and territories. We estimate that over 1.3 million people have returned to the UK via commercial routes - the majority supported by our work to keep vital routes open.

The UK Government continues to work with the airline industry and host governments across the world to help bring back British travellers to the UK as part of the plan announced by the Foreign Secretary on 30 March - with up to £75 million available for special charter flights to priority countries, focused on helping the most vulnerable travellers.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, how many UK nationals have contacted UK embassies and consulates for help since covid-19 related travel restrictions were introduced.

Since 16 March, FCO staff in Embassies, Consulates, and our consular contact centres, together with our commercially contracted call centres, have handled almost 105,000 telephone enquiries. In addition they have dealt with over 3,500 written enquiries per week.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what representations he has made to the Chief Executive of Hong Kong on the potential use of national security legislation to suspend the Hong Kong Legislative Council; and what assessment he has made of the compatibility of the use of that legislation with the Sino-British Joint Declaration.

Under Article 23 of the Hong Kong Basic Law, the Hong Kong SAR Government has an obligation to enact national security legislation, however, the Basic Law does not provide a deadline for such legislation to be enacted. While it is a matter for the Hong Kong authorities to decide when and how to bring forward the legislation, we note the risk that any attempt to introduce it before wider concerns about rights and freedoms in Hong Kong have been addressed could further unsettle the situation in Hong Kong. Any legislation introduced in Hong Kong should be consistent with both the letter and the spirit of the Joint Declaration and the Hong Kong Basic Law. The UK Consul General in Hong Kong meets the Chief Executive and her team on a regular basis, and frequently raises the rights and freedoms guaranteed under the Joint Declaration.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, how many flights the Government has sponsored in response to the covid-19 outbreak.

The British Government is working with the airline industry and host governments across the world to help bring back British travellers to the UK as part of the plan announced by the Foreign Secretary on 30 March - with up to £75 million available for special charter flights to priority countries, focused on helping the most vulnerable travellers. Through the work that our teams have done with airlines or foreign governments to keep vital routes open we estimate that over 1.3 million people have returned to the UK via commercial routes since the outbreak began.

As of 0800 on 27 April, more than 18,630 people on 90 flights organised by the British Government have been brought back from 20 different countries and territories. The Government has also assisted more than 19,000 passengers on board cruise ships to return home, either by providing consular assistance, or by working with local authorities and cruise operators to allow ships to dock.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, how many UK nationals have been repatriated since the travel restrictions were introduced in response to the covid-19 outbreak.

The British Government is working with the airline industry and host governments across the world to help bring back British travellers to the UK as part of the plan announced by the Foreign Secretary on 30 March - with up to £75 million available for special charter flights to priority countries, focused on helping the most vulnerable travellers. Through the work that our teams have done with airlines or foreign governments to keep vital routes open we estimate that over 1.3 million people have returned to the UK via commercial routes since the outbreak began.

As of 0800 on 27 April, more than 18,630 people on 90 flights organised by the British Government have been brought back from 20 different countries and territories. The Government has also assisted more than 19,000 passengers on board cruise ships to return home, either by providing consular assistance, or by working with local authorities and cruise operators to allow ships to dock.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, how many UK embassies are open as of 20 April 2020.

On 20 April 2020, 98.6% of our Posts were open. 113 of these Posts are British Embassies (this number does not include British High Commissions, Overseas Territories or Posts which are subordinate to Embassies). Four Posts have closed because of the Covid-19 pandemic: our Consulate Generals in Wuhan and Chongqing and the Embassy offices (which do not hold Embassy status) in N'djamena and Goma.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, how many UK consulates remain open during the covid-19 pandemic.

On 20 April 2020, 98.6% of our Posts were open. 37 of these are British Consulate Generals and 16 are British Consulates. These numbers include only those Posts classed as Consulate Generals or Consulates, and do not include other types of overseas office or representation, such as Honorary Consulates.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, how many UK embassy and consulate staff are self-isolating as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

The FCO does not hold data centrally on the number of Embassy and Consulate staff who are self-isolating because of COVID-19 symptoms.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, how many EU Civil Protection Mechanism flights the Government has signed up to participate in as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

The UK has activated the EU's Civil Protection Mechanism (CPM) on several occasions, as part of our international response to coronavirus, which has helped repatriate British Nationals and EU citizens. As of 16 April, the EU estimates that 1,837 British Nationals have been repatriated under the CPM.

Stranded British travellers and their families are our priority. One of the conditions of activating the CPM is to allow EU nationals on board as well. In regions where there have been a large number of British people who wish to return to the UK that has not always been possible. The CPM would, therefore, not be relevant as we haven't been able to offer seats to EU nationals.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, how many UK nationals are awaiting repatriation as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

The British Government is working with the airline industry and host governments across the world to help bring back British travellers to the UK as part of the plan announced by the Foreign Secretary on 30 March - with up to £75 million available for special charter flights to priority countries, focused on helping the most vulnerable travellers. As of 0800 on 27 April, we estimate around 57,500 British Nationals (BN) are still wanting to return to the UK, with 1 British national passenger still to return from cruise ships.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, with reference to the covid-13 outbreak, how many EU Civil Protection Mechanism flights the UK has participated in to date.

The UK has activated the EU's Civil Protection Mechanism (CPM) on several occasions, as part of our international response to coronavirus, which has helped repatriate British Nationals and EU citizens. As of 16 April, the UK has activated 6 flights.

Stranded British travellers and their families are our priority. One of the conditions of activating the CPM is to allow EU nationals on board as well. In regions where there have been a large number of British people who wish to return to the UK that has not always been possible. The CPM would, therefore, not be relevant as we haven't been able to offer seats to EU nationals.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
20th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what representations he has made to his Saudi Arabian counterpart on on the human rights of women's rights activists in that country.

We remain concerned about the continued detention of women's rights activists in Saudi Arabia, and about the allegations that women's rights activists have been subject to torture during their detention in Saudi Arabia. We have consistently called for them to have access to legal representation, raised concerns about the use of solitary confinement and allegations of torture, and have pressed for due process. During his visit to Riyadh on 4 and 5 March, the Foreign Secretary raised our concerns about the continued detention of women's rights activists. We will continue to monitor the situation closely and raise these cases.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
20th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what assessment has he made of the effect of the continued detention of female activists in Saudi Arabia on human rights in that country; and if he will make a statement.

We are concerned about the continued detention of women's rights activists in Saudi Arabia, and allegations that activists have been subject to torture during detention. The Foreign Secretary raised our concerns about the ongoing detention of political detainees, including women's rights defenders, during his visit to Riyadh on 4 and 5 March. We will continue to raise concerns.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
20th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent assessment he made of the risk to female British tourists visiting Saudi Arabia.

We welcome Saudi Arabia's recent reforms supporting greater female participation in Saudi society, including through the expansion of education and employment opportunities. However, women's rights in Saudi Arabia still fall short of international standards. We continue to raise our concerns about women's rights with the Saudi authorities along with broader human rights issues, most recently by the Foreign Secretary during his visit earlier this month. We have not issued any travel advice specifically for British women visiting Saudi Arabia.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
20th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what representations he has made to his Saudi counterpart on the detention of Prince Turki bin Abdullah.

We continue to monitor the cases of political detainees in Saudi Arabia, including Prince Turki bin Abdullah. We regularly raise human rights issues with Saudi Arabia, most recently by the Foreign Secretary during his visit earlier this month.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
20th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what estimate he has made of the value of the UK assets and investments of those implicated in the murder of Jamal Khashoggi.

We do not comment on individual cases.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
18th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what assessment he has made of the potential for British journalists to be expelled from (a) mainland China, (b) Hong Kong, and (c) Macau, following the decision by the Chinese Foreign Ministry to expel US citizens working for the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post and the New York Times from those regions.

As Lord Ahmad said in the Lords on 19 March, we have consistently stated our concern about media freedoms in China. The Chinese Government's announcement that they will prevent certain American journalists from working in China and Macao further restricts transparency at a particularly important time. The suggestion by the Chinese MFA that this measure may apply in Hong Kong is deeply concerning. The Sino-British Joint Declaration is clear. It sets out that immigration decisions are the sole responsibility of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government, and freedom of the press is guaranteed. It is imperative that these rights and freedoms are fully respected.

We are concerned about the implications this decision could have upon British Journalists. We will continue to monitor the situation and work with the Chinese and Hong Kong Governments on this issue.

We remain fully committed to upholding Hong Kong's high degree of autonomy and rights and freedoms underpinned by the legally binding Joint Declaration, and the 'One Country, Two Systems' framework set out in the Hong Kong Basic Law.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
18th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what assessment he has made of the potential for US citizens working for British news publications to be expelled from (a) mainland China, (b) Hong Kong, and (c) Macau, following the decision by the Chinese Foreign Ministry to expel US citizens working for American news publications from those regions.

As Lord Ahmad said in the Lords on 19 March, we have consistently stated our concern about media freedoms in China. The Chinese Government's announcement that they will prevent certain American journalists from working in China and Macao further restricts transparency at a particularly important time. The suggestion by the Chinese MFA that this measure may apply in Hong Kong is deeply concerning. The Sino-British Joint Declaration is clear. It sets out that immigration decisions are the sole responsibility of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government, and freedom of the press is guaranteed. It is imperative that these rights and freedoms are fully respected.

We are concerned about the implications this decision could have upon British Journalists. We will continue to monitor the situation and work with the Chinese and Hong Kong Governments on this issue.

We remain fully committed to upholding Hong Kong's high degree of autonomy and rights and freedoms underpinned by the legally binding Joint Declaration, and the 'One Country, Two Systems' framework set out in the Hong Kong Basic Law.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
18th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with his US counterpart on introducing sanctions in response to the decision by the Chinese Foreign Ministry to expel US citizens working for the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post and the New York Times from mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau.

We have announced our intention to establish a UK autonomous Global Human Rights ('Magnitsky-style') sanctions regime. It would be inappropriate to comment on potential designations before the regulations come into force.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
18th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent assessment his Department has made of the effect on human rights of the use of the death penalty in Saudi Arabia.

We regularly make clear, using a range of Ministerial and diplomatic channels, that the British Government opposes the death penalty in all circumstances and in every country. This is especially the case for crimes other than the most serious and for juveniles. This is in line with the minimum standards set out in the EU Guidelines on the Death Penalty of 2008 and the provisions of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Arab Charter on Human Rights. We regularly raise human rights issues with Saudi Arabia, most recently by the Foreign Secretary during his visit earlier this month.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
9th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent representations he has made to the Togo Government on the benefits of independent domestic election observation.

We welcomed the largely peaceful conduct of Togo's presidential election on 22 February, and the deployment of election observers from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the African Union. The UK participated in an unofficial election monitoring mission with the UN in Lomé. We were however deeply concerned that Togo's Electoral Commission revoked the election observer license of the National Consultation of Civil Society of Togo on 18 February, preventing 600 independent observers from participating.

15th Oct 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps he is taking to improve his Department's response times to correspondence from members of the public.

The Government recognises the importance of responding to members of the public in an effective and timely manner, and the Cabinet Office published an updated Guide to Handling Correspondence for government departments and agencies in July 2021.

The guidance reasserts the standards for handling correspondence, including a 20 working day deadline for departments to respond to members of the public, criteria outlining when a response to a member of the public is required, and when a piece of correspondence from a member of the public should be transferred to another department. Following publication of the updated guidance, all departments have been reminded that they must follow the processes outlined in the guidance.

In April 2021, 72% of Treasury replies were answered within 20 working days. This has increased to 77% as of October 2021 and we are continuing to make improvements to response times.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
16th Sep 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what additional funding has been provided to the NHS as a result of the UK’s departure from the EU and statements made during the 2016 referendum campaign.

The NHS is a key spending priority for the government and that is why it committed in 2018 to a historic settlement that provides a cash increase of £33.9 billion a year by 2023-24. The announcement was clear that “some of the extra funding will come from the money the government will no longer spend on the annual membership subscription to the European Union after Britain has left”

Since then, we have gone even further, and announced a new Health and Social Care Levy which will provide a further £15.7bn to the NHS over the next 3 years.

Simon Clarke
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
9th Mar 2021
If his Department will make an assessment of the potential merits of making permanent the five per cent reduced rate of VAT for the tourism and hospitality sector.

The temporary reduced rate of VAT was introduced on 15 July to support the cash flow and viability of about 150,000 businesses and to protect over 2.4 million jobs in the hospitality and tourism sectors. As announced at Budget, this relief will now run until 31 March 2022, with a staggered return to the standard rate. Applying this relief permanently would come at a significant cost to the Exchequer, and that cost would have to be balanced by increased taxes elsewhere, or reductions in Government spending.

25th Nov 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, how many people who have been in settlement discussions with HMRC on the Loan Charge have settled their case.

About 5,600 employers and individuals settled their use of disguised remuneration tax avoidance schemes in the period to 30 September 2020, in addition to the about 11,000 employers and individuals who settled their use of disguised remuneration schemes between Budget 2016 and 31 March 2020.

Further information on settlements is available in HMRC’s report to Parliament on the implementation of the recommendations of the independent Loan Charge Review, which was published on 3 December: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/independent-loan-charge-review-hmrc-report-on-implementation.

25th Nov 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what estimate he has made of the number of people who will be declared bankrupt as a result of the implementation of the Loan Charge.

HMRC do not want to make anybody bankrupt, and insolvency is only ever considered as a last resort. HMRC will work with individuals to reach sustainable and manageable payment plans wherever possible. In line with current practice, HMRC will pause recovery action where a taxpayer has no ability to pay, until there is a significant change of circumstance.

HMRC are not always the only creditor and some individuals may choose to enter insolvency themselves based on their overall financial position.

Anyone who is worried about being able to pay what they owe is encouraged to get in touch with HMRC as soon as possible on 03000 599110.

1st Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what information her Department holds on where the Cardiff model of violence prevention has been implemented in the UK.

The Government's 2018 Serious Violence Strategy for England and Wales sets out the expectation that, in line with the Cardiff Model for violence prevention, Community Safety Partnerships (CSPs) work with local hospitals to implement the sharing of appropriate health data to tackle serious violence. Information standard ISB1594, which applies to all Accident and Emergency departments, sets out the details of the minimum dataset to be provided.

To support local areas in the delivery of their response to serious violence, from 2019-2022 we have invested £105.5 million into the development of 18 Violence Reduction Units (VRUs) in the police force areas worst affected by serious violence, which account for 80% of all hospital admissions for injury with a sharp object in England and Wales. A list of all 18 funded areas is included here: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/355m-to-support-young-people-at-risk-of-involvement-in-serious-violence

VRUs combine the collective expertise of local agency partners, including those from health settings, to identify the drivers of serious violence and agree a multi-agency response to them. This includes the proactive sharing of data between health and other partners, emulating the Cardiff Model. The Home Office holds significant management information pertaining to VRU progress across a number of key priorities, including effective sharing of data with partners. As per the published 2019/20 VRU Evaluation, all 18 areas have made good progress in generating and sharing data across numerous partners to inform their direction of travel.

Beyond the 18 areas in receipt of VRU funding, we will also be introducing the Serious Violence Duty through the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, which will require authorities and bodies delivering public services, including health, to collaborate in preventing and reducing serious violence in all areas across England and Wales.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps she is taking to improve her Department's response times to correspondence from members of the public.

Correspondence within the Home Office is subject to a 20-day service level agreement. Yet there has been a very significant increase in the volume of correspondence following COVID lockdown periods and also more recently following the Afghanistan crisis.

To address these increases in operational/casework correspondence an action plan has been implemented, which includes recruiting additional staff, to clear backlogs and drive up performance.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
18th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what visiting rights are planned for the proposed new immigration removal centre for women at Hassockfield for (a) the legal profession, (b) chaplaincy, and (c) friends and family.

The rights of all detained individuals are protected by the Detention Centre Rules 2001 (DCR), published Operating Standards for immigration removal centres (IRCs) and individuals under escort and Detention Services Orders (DSO). This framework includes specific guidance on visits, as set out in DSO 04/2012 ‘Visitors and visiting procedures’.

In addition to the DCR and Operating Standards for IRCs, the provision of religious services is mandated in relevant sections of the service provider contracts and service level agreements relating to religious affairs. All IRCs have a number of appointed religious chaplains in place.

Hassockfield will be operated in line with these provisions.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
10th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many officials were employed with responsibility for examining and making decisions on asylum applications in December 2020.

The number of officials who were responsible for examining and making decisions on asylum applications in December 2020 is not recorded and held in a reportable format. To obtain this information would require detailed reporting against multiple cost centres and could only be obtained at disproportionate costs.

However, the Home Office are able to provide the number of asylum case working staff for 2019/2020. This data can be found in ASY_04 of the published Transparency data:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/immigration-protection-data-February-2021

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
8th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment her Department has made of the implications for her policies of recommendation 33 of the Law Commission's September 2020 report, Protection of Official Data.

As set out in the Queen’s Speech, the Government will be introducing new legislation to tackle the evolving threat of hostile activity by states. As part of this work, we are considering a range of powers, including reviewing the Official Secrets Acts.

We welcome the work of the Law Commission in their review on the Protection of Official Data, and are carefully considering their recommendations. This work is ongoing and has not yet reached a conclusion.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
21st Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many people have been granted visa extensions under the scheme of free one-year visa extensions for health workers during the covid-19 outbreak.

Since the free extension was introduced in March 2020 we have extended the visas of more than 7000 eligible healthcare professionals, and their dependants.

More details of the scheme can be found at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/thousands-more-health-workers-to-benefit-from-visa-extensions

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
21st Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many people there are whose employers have told UK Visas and Immigration that they are eligible for the free one-year visa extensions for health workers during the covid-19 outbreak.

Since the free one-year extension scheme was introduced in March 2020, we have extended the visas of more than 7000 eligible healthcare professionals, and their dependants. This work remains ongoing.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/thousands-more-health-workers-to-benefit-from-visa-extensions

The available published data shows the numbers of visas granted in each work route but does not provide any data on the specific numbers that have been granted on this scheme nor the number of notifications received by UKVI from employers.

Data on visas granted by category can be found in Vis_D02 at:

entry-clearance-visa-outcomes-datasets-sep-2020.xlsx

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
21st Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many people's biometric residence permits UK Visas and Immigration has received with respect to the free one-year visa extensions for health workers during the covid-19 outbreak.

Since the free extension was introduced in March 2020 we have extended the visas of more than 7000 eligible healthcare professionals, and their dependants.

The available published data shows the numbers of visas granted in each work route but does not provide any data on the specific numbers that have been granted on this scheme nor the number of Biometric Residence Permits received by UKVI.

Data on visas granted by category can be found in Vis_D02 at:

entry-clearance-visa-outcomes-datasets-sep-2020.xlsx

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
19th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many women were deprived of citizenship on the grounds that it was conducive to the public good in (a) 2016, (b) 2017 and (c) 2018.

Figures for numbers of conducive deprivation orders, which are made under Section 40(2) of the 1981 British Nationality Act, have been published as part of the HM Government Transparency Report: Disruptive and Investigatory Powers. Four reports have been published to date in 2015, 2017, 2018 and 2020.

Figures are provided on an annual basis and we do not break those figures down further.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
19th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether she has made an assessment of whether any of the people subject to orders to deprive UK nationals of citizenship on the grounds that it was conducive to the public good for the years 2016, 2017 and 2018 were victims of trafficking.

The UK has an obligation to identify victims of modern slavery and human trafficking who are in the UK, and fulfils this obligation through the National Referral Mechanism.

First Responder Organisations, including certain parts of the Home Office, are responsible for identifying possible victims and making referrals into the National Referral Mechanism, as set out in the ‘Modern Slavery: Statutory Guidance for England and Wales (under s49 of the Modern Slavery Act 2015) and Non-Statutory Guidance for Scotland and Northern Ireland’.

Figures for conducive deprivation orders, which are made under Section 40(2) of the 1981 British Nationality Act, have been published as part of the HM Government Transparency Report: Disruptive and Investigatory Powers. Four reports have been published to date in 2015, 2017, 2018 and 2020.

Figures are provided on an annual basis and we do not break that figure down further.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
19th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, when she plans to publish the annual report on Disruptive and Investigatory Powers for the year 2019.

The Government is committed to publishing the annual Transparency Report on Disruptive Powers. The 2018 to 2019 report was published on 19 March 2020. The 2020 report will be published in due course.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
19th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps she has taken to open a review into citizenship-deprivation powers, as required by section 40B of the British Nationality Act 1981 and which her Department’s 2018-19 report on Disruptive and Investigatory Powers described as anticipated to be conducted during 2019.

The first review of the power to deprive an individual of British citizenship under section 40(4A) of the British Nationality Act 1981, as provided for by section 40B of the Act, was conducted by David Anderson QC, Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation. His report was published in April 2016, (https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/518120/David_Anderson_QC_-_CITIZENSHIP_REMOVAL__web_.pdf).

The next review of these powers will be commissioned once a suitable reviewer has been identified. To date the power in section 40(4A) has not been used.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
14th Dec 2020
What steps she is taking to ensure that people can enrol their biometric data while covid-19 restrictions are in place.

We acknowledge the impact of global travel and health restrictions on people in, or seeking to come to, the UK.

As restrictions eased, commercial partner immigration services reopened in a phased and COVID secure way. UK capacity now exceeds pre-covid levels.

UKVI began reusing existing fingerprint biometrics, for certain UK customer cohorts across summer 2020, allowing customers to progress their applications.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
22nd Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether she plans to bring forward legislative proposals to enact the Hong Kong British National (Overseas) visa announced on 22 October 2020.

The Hong Kong British National (Overseas) (BN(O)) Visa route will open from 31 January, and will allow BN(O)s and their family members to come to the UK to live, work and study.

The Immigration Rules for the route were put before Parliament on 22 October which set out further details of the route.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
16th Jan 2020
To ask the Minister for the Home Department, whether the 2018 Annual Report of the Investigatory Powers Commissioner has been submitted to the Prime Minister; and what the timetable is for its publication.

The 2018 Annual Report of the Investigatory Powers Commissioner will be formally submitted to the Prime Minister shortly, and is expected to be published and laid before Parliament.

Brandon Lewis
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what steps he is taking to improve his Department's response times to correspondence from members of the public.

The Government recognises the importance of responding to members of the public in an effective and timely manner, and the Cabinet Office published an updated Guide to Handling Correspondence for government departments and agencies in July 2021.

The guidance reasserts the standards for handling correspondence, including a 20 working day deadline for departments to respond to members of the public, criteria outlining when a response to a member of the public is required, and when a piece of correspondence from a member of the public should be transferred to another department. Following publication of the updated guidance, all departments have been reminded that they must follow the processes outlined in the guidance.

Leo Docherty
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (jointly with the Ministry of Defence)
20th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, with reference to his oral contribution of 24 May 2021, Official Report, Column 16, if he will publish the statistical evidential basis for Northern Ireland veterans having been subject to vexatious claims and prosecutions; and how (a) vexatious claims and (b) vexatious prosecutions are defined in his Department's analysis.

It is clear that the current system for addressing the legacy of Northern Ireland's past is not working well for anybody, most importantly victims and survivors. If our focus remains on achieving criminal justice outcomes, we will fail almost every family, as well as wider society. We have therefore put forward bold proposals which focus on information recovery and reconciliation, measures which are most likely to produce tangible benefits for victims and wider society, to effectively address legacy issues and help Northern Ireland to look to the future. The Northern Ireland Office Command Paper of July 2021 sets out some relevant statistics that have informed this proposed approach.

Leo Docherty
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (jointly with the Ministry of Defence)
16th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, with reference to the report by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Democracy and Human Rights in the Gulf, entitled The cost of repression, published on 6 July 2021, what assessment the Government has made of the implications for its policies of the findings of that report that the Royal Saudi Air Force and the Joint Incident Assessment Team, beneficiaries of the Gulf Strategy Fund (GSF), have been accused of perpetrating illegal drone strikes against civilians in Yemen and conducting inadequate investigations into potential war crimes in Yemen; and if the Government will suspend GSF programmes pending an independent inquiry into their human rights implications.

All training and assistance to both the Royal Saudi Air Force (RSAF) and the Joint Incident Assessment Team (JIAT) - as well as any programmes funded by the Gulf Strategy Fund (GSF) - are subject to an Overseas Security Justice and Assistance Assessment (OSJA). These OSJAs consider human rights concerns about the institution/unit that will receive the assistance, are refreshed on a yearly basis, and are endorsed by Ministers.

GSF funded assistance to the Royal Saudi Land Forces is intended to support Saudi Arabia's efforts to protect their national security while improving their compliance with international humanitarian law.

James Heappey
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Defence)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what steps he is taking to improve his Department's response times to correspondence from members of the public.

The Government recognises the importance of responding to members of the public in an effective and timely manner, and the Cabinet Office published an updated Guide to Handling Correspondence for government departments and agencies in July 2021.

Following publication of the updated guidance, all departments have been reminded that they must follow the processes outlined in the guidance. The guidance reasserts the standards for handling correspondence, including a 20 working day deadline for departments to respond to members of the public, criteria outlining when a response to a member of the public is required, and when a piece of correspondence from a member of the public should be transferred to another department.

James Cartlidge
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Ministry of Justice) (and Assistant Government Whip)
2nd Feb 2021
What progress the Government has made on the UK's accession to the Lugano Convention 2007.

The UK applied to re-join the Lugano Convention on 8 April 2020. The next steps are for the existing contracting parties to consider the UK’s application and to provide their unanimous agreement. Switzerland has already agreed to the UK’s accession and Norway and Iceland publicly declared their support over a year ago.

UK participation in Lugano is in the mutual interest of the UK and the EU. It establishes clear rules around which country’s courts will hear a case and enables the recognition and enforcement of judgments between different countries’ courts in civil commercial and family maintenance cases.

Now that negotiations have successfully concluded, we encourage the EU to approve the UK’s application with all appropriate urgency.

Alex Chalk
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
8th Dec 2020
What steps he is taking to ensure the equitable treatment of freedom of information requests by his Department.

It is important that freedom of information requests are handled in the correct manner and it is equally important to ensure that there are steps in place to achieve this.

A freedom of information request is a valuable means to obtain information that is not otherwise publicly available and to increase government transparency in line with the legislation.

The MoJ is proudly leading the way across Government on performance handling freedom of information requests. The Department have met the Information Commissioner’s Office performance target of responding to at least 90% of FOI requests in time for over thirty-six months consecutively.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
3rd Nov 2020
What discussions he has had with Cabinet colleagues on bringing forward legislative proposals to regulate the use of facial recognition technology as evidence.

The Lord Chancellor or Ministers have not held specific meetings on this but regularly discuss a broad range of criminal justice matters with Cabinet colleagues and others.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
29th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, with reference to the Answer of 23 January 2020 to Question 4315 on Justice and Security Act 2013, if he will make it his policy to consult (a) civil society and (b) the legal profession on scope of the planned review of the operation of sections 6 to 11 of the Justice and Security Act 2013.

As the answer provided to the Honourable Member’s earlier questions on the planned review of the operation of sections 6 to 11 of the Justice and Security Act 2013 advised, discussions are ongoing and an announcement will be made in due course.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
16th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, with reference to the Answer of 11 April 2019 to Question 240976 on the Justice and Security Act 2013, when he plans to announce the review of the operation of sections 6 to 11 of the Justice and Security Act 2013.

Further to the answer provided by Minister of State Lucy Frazer MP QC to the Honourable Member’s questions in April of last year on the Justice and Security Act 2013, I can advise discussions are ongoing and an announcement will be made in due course

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
16th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, with reference to the Answer of 11 April 2019 to Question 240976 on the Justice and Security Act 2013, whether he has appointed a reviewer to undertake the review of the operation of Sections 6 to 11 of the Justice and Security Act 2013.

Further to the answer provided by Minister of State Lucy Frazer MP QC to the Honourable Member’s questions in April of last year on the Justice and Security Act 2013, I can advise discussions are ongoing and an announcement will be made in due course

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, what steps he is taking to improve his Department's response times to correspondence from members of the public.

The Government recognises the importance of responding to members of the public in an effective and timely manner, and the Cabinet Office published an updated Guide to Handling Correspondence for government departments and agencies in July 2021.

The guidance reasserts the standards for handling correspondence, including a 20 working day deadline for departments to respond to members of the public, criteria outlining when a response to a member of the public is required, and when a piece of correspondence from a member of the public should be transferred to another department. Following publication of the updated guidance, all departments have been reminded that they must follow the processes outlined in the guidance.

The Northern Ireland Office receives a significant amount of correspondence across the Department’s wide and varied portfolio. The Department has a robust process in place to manage and respond to queries in line with our obligations.

Conor Burns
Minister of State (Northern Ireland Office)
16th Jun 2021
What discussions he has had with Cabinet colleagues on the potential contribution to easing trade flows between Northern Ireland and Great Britain of the UK securing veterinary and phytosanitary agreements with the EU.

The UK is working hard and in good faith to ensure the Protocol operates in a sustainable way that works for the people of Northern Ireland. We have proposed an ambitious veterinary agreement, based on our respective high standards, to reduce checks and controls. We need the EU to meaningfully engage with these proposals to ease burdens in Northern Ireland and provide a sustainable basis for the Protocol.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, what steps he is taking to improve his Department's response times to correspondence from members of the public.

The Government recognises the importance of responding to members of the public in an effective and timely manner, and the Cabinet Office published an updated Guide to Handling Correspondence for government departments and agencies in July 2021.

The guidance reasserts the standards for handling correspondence, including a 20 working day deadline for departments to respond to members of the public, criteria outlining when a response to a member of the public is required, and when a piece of correspondence from a member of the public should be transferred to another department. Following publication of the updated guidance, all departments have been reminded that they must follow the processes outlined in the guidance. The Office for the Secretary of State for Scotland’s correspondence response times are regularly monitored and internal processes have been improved to ensure members of the public are responded to in a timely manner.

Alister Jack
Secretary of State for Scotland
27th Jan 2021
What assessment he has made of the effect of the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement on the Scottish fishing industry.

Leaving the EU means we have left the Common Fisheries Policy and are now recognised as an independent coastal state – something the EU refused to recognise until very late in the negotiations.

The agreement allows for a transfer of 25% of quota, previously caught by EU vessels in our waters, to UK fishermen.

The agreement also provides for tariff-free access to the EU market for Scotland’s fantastic fisheries products.

11th Nov 2020
What discussions he has had with Cabinet colleagues and Scottish Government Ministers on a four-nations approach to tackling the covid-19 outbreak over Christmas 2020.

UK Government Ministers and officials are in close touch with their counterparts in all of the Devolved Administrations about the UK-wide approach to tackling the covid-19 outbreak over Christmas 2020.

15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Wales, what steps he is taking to improve his Department's response times to correspondence from members of the public.

The Government recognises the importance of responding to members of the public in an effective and timely manner, and the Cabinet Office published an updated Guide to Handling Correspondence for government departments and agencies in July 2021.

The guidance reasserts the standards for handling correspondence, including a 20 working day deadline for departments to respond to members of the public, criteria outlining when a response to a member of the public is required, and when a piece of correspondence from a member of the public should be transferred to another department. Following publication of the updated guidance, all departments have been reminded that they must follow the processes outlined in the guidance.

The Office of the Secretary of State for Wales has a 15 working day deadline to reply to correspondence where a response is required. Correspondence response times are regularly monitored and reported to the Departmental Board. Internal processes have been improved to ensure members of the public are responded to in a timely manner.

Simon Hart
Secretary of State for Wales