Results 101–120 of 4783 for speaker:Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean

Armed Forces Discipline Bill [H.L.] (24 Jan 2000)

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: My Lords, perhaps I may begin by assuring the noble Lord, Lord Burnham, that I should not in the least have minded discussing medical services or fuel for the Armed Forces, except that neither topic is relevant to the Bill before us. However, no doubt we shall be able to discuss those matters should the noble Lord decide at any point to table Questions on them. The noble Lord is seeking once...

Armed Forces Discipline Bill [H.L.] (24 Jan 2000)

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: My Lords, I appreciate that the amendments arise from a desire to ensure that the authority of the commanding officer and his ability to maintain discipline are not undermined. It is claimed that the undermining effect would result from the gap between the award of a sentence by the commanding officer and its commencement. I remind the House that there will be such a gap only where a sentence...

Armed Forces Discipline Bill [H.L.] (24 Jan 2000)

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: My Lords, I beg to move that the Bill do now pass. Moved, That the Bill do now pass.--(Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean.)

Armed Forces Discipline Bill [H.L.] (24 Jan 2000)

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: My Lords, I thank noble Lords for their kind words. The passage of the Bill through your Lordships' House has been an example of how the process of debate and scrutiny can illuminate the inner details of a piece of draft legislation. If I can dare to admit this--I think that I can; the noble Baroness, Lady Thomas, has done so already--my understanding of the Bill has increased enormously as a...

Written Answers — House of Lords: Iraq: Health Problems (26 Jan 2000)

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: Officials from the Department for International Development (DfID) have been in discussion with the World Health Organisation (WHO) concerning possible projects to improve epidemiological surveillance in Iraq, to establish links between medical teaching institutions in Iraq and similar institutions outside Iraq, and to improve Iraq's cancer registration system. It is understood that the...

Written Answers — House of Lords: Gulf War Illnesses: Research Proposals (26 Jan 2000)

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: Since 1997, the Medical Research Council (MRC) has received seven full proposals for research into whether the health of Gulf veterans has been adversely affected by their service in the Gulf conflict. Two proposals have been accepted for funding. Decisions to recommend proposals to MoD for funding are based on a full scientific assessment of the proposals through peer review. Scientific...

European Defence Initiative (26 Jan 2000)

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: My Lords, the Government are actively pursuing discussions with EU partners on the commitment made at Helsinki to strengthen military capabilities. This will mean that EU nations will be better able to assemble, deploy and sustain effective forces for NATO or EU-led operations. We are also taking forward discussions on the political and military structures necessary for the EU, where NATO as...

European Defence Initiative (26 Jan 2000)

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: My Lords, the noble Lord adroitly raised a huge range of issues in his supplementary question. On the question of some of the issues that have been aired in recent newspaper reports, perhaps I may point out that there is a good deal of exaggeration in what has been said regarding such matters as speed limits. There have been problems over the Clansman radio and a number of other issues which...

European Defence Initiative (26 Jan 2000)

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: My Lords, of course I believe that the United Kingdom's military capacity is very considerable and certainly very significant within Europe. I do not think that we need to look any further than the recent engagement in Kosovo. I know that many noble Lords will have heard what General Sir Mike Jackson had to say on this issue when he was recently interviewed during a radio programme. He said:...

European Defence Initiative (26 Jan 2000)

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: My Lords, obviously we are looking at all these questions carefully. As I indicated in my initial Answer to the noble Lord, Lord Blaker, these matters will be discussed under the Portuguese presidency. Over the next few months we shall have to consider not only what we in this country are doing but also what our allies are doing. The European nations will certainly need to spend defence...

European Defence Initiative (26 Jan 2000)

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: My Lords, we have repeatedly made it clear--and I have made it clear on innumerable occasions from this Dispatch Box in your Lordships' House--that NATO remains the cornerstone of the United Kingdom's defence policy. Nothing I have said today should in any way derogate from that principal undertaking. The noble Lord returns to what Strobe Talbott said. I quote the passage again, specifically...

European Defence Initiative (26 Jan 2000)

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: My Lords, I do not think that we have singularly failed to develop that pillar. I think that that is taking the argument a little further than we on this side of the House are prepared to do. As I have already indicated, I believe that Kosovo showed that the European alliance, the EU, can act on occasions when our American colleagues choose not to do so. Although I am not, sadly, quite as...

European Defence Initiative (26 Jan 2000)

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: My Lords, I did not hear what would give better value for money.

European Defence Initiative (26 Jan 2000)

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: My Lords, integration raises a whole range of other questions. We would wish to ensure that on this issue we move at a pace that is comfortable for all our allies. Everyone will know, for example, that for operational purposes our French colleagues are not as integrated into the NATO alliance as we are. It is important to bear in mind that all nations involved in NATO will want to ensure that...

European Defence Initiative (26 Jan 2000)

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: My Lords, I am happy to say that that is not necessarily a question entirely for me to answer. Over the next few months, under the presidency of our Portuguese allies, we shall be considering how to focus on the capabilities in order to define the headline goal that I detailed to your Lordships a moment or two ago. It is important that we look at what we are trying to achieve. We are all...

European Defence Initiative (26 Jan 2000)

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: My Lords, much of what we have dealt with recently have been humanitarian exercises. The noble Earl will be aware that the Strategic Defence Review concentrated very considerably on peacekeeping exercises and on conflict prevention. Recruitment--which I think was the question raised by the noble Earl--is running very well at the moment, particularly in the Army. The last calendar year was the...

European Defence Initiative (26 Jan 2000)

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: My Lords, I regret to say that the puzzlement is not so much in the minds of young people or others looking at this matter but is a basic confusion in the mind of the noble Lord, Lord Stoddart. We are not creating a standing European army. I have repeated that on many occasions when speaking from this Dispatch Box on behalf of both the Ministry of Defence and the Foreign Office. I do so...

Gulf War Veterans: Illnesses (26 Jan 2000)

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: My Lords, I, too, am very grateful to my noble friend Lord Morris of Manchester for providing the opportunity to debate the Government's policy on Gulf veterans' illnesses and in particular to explain the Government's position on a public inquiry. I hope to respond to as many of the points raised this evening as I can, but I shall write if I am unable to cover in detail all the very many and...

Gulf War Veterans: Illnesses (26 Jan 2000)

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: My Lords, as I understand it, a number of reasons have been put forward as the argument for a public inquiry. One has been to discover whether or not there are illnesses that are associated with serving in the Gulf. Certainly, another has been to look at the way in which the whole issue has been handled. Another is to try to unearth whether there are lessons to be learned for the future....

Gulf War Veterans: Illnesses (26 Jan 2000)

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: My Lords, on the latter point I shall have to write to the noble Countess. However, on her earlier point, the points that I was making to her relate to what has been the practice since 1997. If the noble Countess would be kind enough to tell me of any examples of practice before that date which are still cause for concern, I shall certainly look into the matter. However, as she will be aware,...


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