Below is the text of the written answers relating to Prime Minister’s Question Time from 17th February 1994.
Mr. Bermingham : To ask the Prime Minister what is Her Majesty’s Government’s policy on providing in full the information sought by hon. Members in parliamentary questions.
The Prime Minister : Except for matters which are confidential or on which successive Governments have refused to answer questions upon grounds of public policy, or when a reply is not given on grounds of disproportionate cost, answers should give the information sought and should be accurate and truthful and not misleading.
Ministerial Functions (Wales)
Mr. Wigley : To ask the Prime Minister if he will transfer the functions of the Home Secretary in Wales to the Secretary of State for Wales.
The Prime Minister : I have no plans to do so.
Mr. Wigley : To ask the Prime Minister if he will publish a list of all functions of Government whose administration in respect of Wales is vested in Ministers other than the Secretary of State for Wales ; which Minister is responsible in each case; and what total amount of public spending is attributable to each of those functions in Wales.
The Prime Minister : The responsibilities of each Minister of the Government are set out in the list of “Ministerial Responsibilities”, of which all Members have a copy. Where responsibility for matters in Wales does not lie with the Secretary of State for Wales, Ministers in charge of other Departments exercise their responsibilities in respect of England and Wales, or the United Kingdom, as appropriate.
Mr. Harry Greenway : To ask the Prime Minister if he will list his official engagements for Thursday 17 February.
Sir Peter Tapsell : To ask the Prime Minister if he will list his official engagements for Thursday 17 February.
The Prime Minister : This morning I presided at a meeting of the Cabinet and had meetings with ministerial colleagues and others. In addition to my duties in the House, I shall be having further meetings later today.
Mr. Llew Smith : To ask the Prime Minister if he will make a statement on his recent visit to Russia.
The Prime Minister : I visited Russia from 14 to 16 February as part of the regular practice of bilateral summits established by the partnership treaty which President Yeltsin and I signed in 1992. The Foreign Secretary accompanied me.
In Moscow I had talks with President Yeltsin and Prime Minister Chernomyrdin, and met a number of other Ministers, including Foreign Minister Kozyrev and Defence Minister Grachev. I talked to a cross-section of the newly elected parliamentarians. I also met British and Russian business men. I visited the city of Nizhny Novgorod, and announced new know-how fund projects.
President Yeltsin and I signed an agreement on the detargeting of nuclear missiles. We also agreed to hold military exercises, focused on peace- keeping, in the United Kingdom and Russia. My right hon. Friend the Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary and the Russian Foreign Minister signed agreements on double taxation and on cultural exchanges.
President Yeltsin and I agreed that we should build on the partnership between our two countries which is now based on shared democratic values. President Yeltsin has accepted my invitation to visit the United Kingdom this year. I have separately invited Prime Minister Chernomyrdin. I shall be recommending to Her Majesty the Queen that she should take up President Yeltsin’s invitation to visit Russia.
An important purpose of my visit was to give practical and political support to reform. President Yeltsin and Prime Minister Chernomyrdin assured me that economic reform would continue. But they did not underestimate the scale of the task which they face. It was clear that difficult decisions lie ahead.
I discussed a range of international issues with President Yeltsin, including Bosnia. These discussions underlined how important it is to maintain a close political dialogue with Russia. I told President Yeltsin that I would support closer political consultation between the Group of Seven and Russia.