Earl of Sandwich Portrait

Earl of Sandwich

Crossbench - Excepted Hereditary

5 APPG memberships (as of 17 Nov 2021)
Immigration Detention, Kosovo, Nepal, Prescribed Drug Dependence, Sudan and South Sudan
2 Former APPG memberships
Afghanistan, Commonwealth
EU External Affairs Sub-Committee
2nd Jul 2019 - 23rd Apr 2020
European Union Committee
22nd Jun 2010 - 30th Mar 2015
Constitution Committee
8th Jun 2005 - 8th Apr 2006
Standing Orders (Private Bills) Committee (Lords)
6th Dec 1999 - 18th Nov 2004
Information Committee (Lords)
25th Nov 2002 - 18th Nov 2004


Select Committee Meeting
Wednesday 8th December 2021
16:00
International Agreements Committee - Oral evidence
Subject: UK-New Zealand trade negotiations
8 Dec 2021, 4 p.m.
At 4.00pm: Oral evidence
George Riddell - Director of Trade Strategy at Ernst & Young LLP
Dr Emily Lydgate - Deputy Director at UK Trade Policy Observatory, University of Sussex
Anna Sands - Trade Policy Specialist at WWF
View calendar
Division Votes
Tuesday 23rd November 2021
Armed Forces Bill
voted No
One of 5 Crossbench No votes vs 44 Crossbench Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 210 Noes - 190
Speeches
Thursday 25th November 2021
China: Genocide

My Lords, I thank my noble friend for this chance to discuss one of the most pressing matters of today, …

Written Answers
Monday 22nd November 2021
Palestinians: Third Sector
To ask Her Majesty's Government what representations they have made to the government of Israel following the designation, on 22 …
Early Day Motions
None available
Bills
None available
Tweets
None available
MP Financial Interests
None available

Division Voting information

During the current Parliamentary Session, Earl of Sandwich has voted in 106 divisions, and never against the majority of their Party.
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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
Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon (Conservative)
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
(22 debate interactions)
Lord True (Conservative)
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
(8 debate interactions)
Baroness Sugg (Conservative)
(6 debate interactions)
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Department Debates
Cabinet Office
(7 debate contributions)
Home Office
(6 debate contributions)
Department for International Trade
(6 debate contributions)
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View all Earl of Sandwich's debates

Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Earl of Sandwich, 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.


Earl of Sandwich has not been granted any Urgent Questions

Earl of Sandwich has not been granted any Adjournment Debates

Earl of Sandwich has not introduced any legislation before Parliament

Earl of Sandwich has not co-sponsored any Bills in the current parliamentary sitting


62 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
9th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what action, if any, they (1) have taken, or (2) intend to take, in response to the School of Advanced Study’s proposal to close the Institute of Commonwealth Studies; and what assessment they have made of the importance of that institute to students from Commonwealth countries.

Universities are independent, autonomous organisations and are therefore responsible for their decisions relating to research priorities and which activities to support. We would expect universities to regularly review and develop their strategic research priorities, and that this may result in some internal restructuring to better support these priorities.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
19th Dec 2019
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many least developed countries are benefiting, or will benefit, from the Ayrton Fund, announced at the UN General Assembly in September; and what forms of climate change in those countries will be addressed.

The Ayrton Fund is a commitment that the UK Government has made to spend £1bn on Official Development Assistance (ODA)-funded research, development and demonstration (RD&D) in clean energy technology and business models for developing countries over five years from April 2021. The commitment will address development challenges in low-carbon energy (supply), low-carbon societies (demand), and smart and flexible energy delivery and storage to meet a range of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), such as Goals 7 and 13. Tangible examples of areas that the Ayrton commitment will seek to impact include:

  • providing affordable access to electricity for some of the 1 billion people in ODA-eligible countries who are still off the grid, including through innovative solar technology for their homes
  • enhancing large-scale energy technology to replace polluting diesel generators and ensure clean energy can be stored and not lost
  • designing clean stoves like electric pressure cookers for some of the 2.7 billion people who still rely on firewood – with the smoke damaging their health as well as the environment
  • working with energy-intensive industries and governments to achieve industrial decarbonisation
  • supporting the development of technologies and business models for sustainable cooling – residential air conditioning alone is expected to raise global temperatures by 0.5°C in the years ahead
  • designing low-emission and electric vehicles to cut pollution and make transport systems cleaner and greener.

The Ayrton Fund will be delivered through a series of expanded and new programmes and platforms, which will be available to all ODA-eligible countries, depending on the specific programme. Since some of these programmes and platforms are still to be developed, and since many will use open competitions to allocate the support, it is not possible to state at this stage exactly how many least developed countries will benefit (although they will all be potentially eligible).

30th Apr 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of whether horticulture is as critical to the national economy as agriculture; and whether they plan to treat horticulture equally to agriculture in their plans for economic recovery.

The Government recognises the crucial role that all agricultural sectors are playing during this time.

As horticulture is part of the agricultural sector, impacts of COVID-19 on the horticulture industry are being overseen by the UK Agricultural Market Monitoring Group, which meets weekly to monitor UK agricultural markets and to provide forewarning of any atypical market movements. During the coronavirus outbreak, this has allowed Defra and the devolved administrations to share the latest stakeholder information and data to ensure we have an evidence base to assess the effects of COVID-19 on the agricultural industry, in specific markets, or geographical regions.

Officials are having regular meetings with the different agricultural sectors to understand the specific issues affecting each sector. It is clear that the coronavirus pandemic is having an impact on horticulture businesses up and down the country and the Government is acutely aware of the challenges facing parts of the industry at this time. We have been working closely with the Horticultural Trades Association (HTA) on reviewing when and how garden centres can reopen safely and as of May 13th 2020, garden centres have been allowed to reopen. This will allow businesses to sell their products directly to the public once again and in doing so bring about the wider benefits to consumers, especially for physical and mental wellbeing, which gardening can bring. There is extensive ongoing engagement being undertaken by the department with representatives from the horticulture supply chain to capture emerging issues and to identify what short-term and long-term support the sector, as a whole, needs.

We will continue to monitor the situation and to work closely with the sector as restrictions are removed and recovery begins.

29th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what additional support they have given to the Bidi Bidi refugee camp in Uganda as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, DFID has worked with partners like the United Nations World Food Programme to ensure continuity of life-saving services, such as the delivery of food assistance, to the population of Bidibidi, Uganda’s largest refugee settlement. Additionally, we have supported specific programmes in Bidibidi through Mercy Corps, an International Non-Governmental Organisation, including:

• a campaign - through public address systems, bulk text messages, posters, song and radio – to raise awareness about prevention of the virus, focused on community “hot spots” including shops, bill boards, markets, water points, and food distribution points;

• payments in vouchers or via mobile money to more than 1,850 farmers (57% of whom were women) to purchase high quality seeds from local dealers to ensure they did not miss the planting season; and

• support to small businesses to continue, providing access to basic hygiene supplies, agricultural inputs, and mobile money services. The local dealers that were selected to support the seed distribution referred to above received business development training on topics including business plan development, marketing and record keeping, as well as cash grants to strengthen their business.

As the pandemic continues to evolve, we are closely monitoring the situation across Uganda, including in the refugee settlements, and prioritising our support accordingly.

29th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what funding they have allocated for mental health programmes in South Sudan.

The UK is the leading provider of health services in South Sudan, through the Health Pooled Fund (HPF) (£175m 2018-2023). Through the HPF, UK Aid is improving capacity to identify and manage mental health illnesses in health facilities and hospitals; last year HPF trained 412 health workers on mental health across South Sudan.


UK Aid is also supporting specialised mental health services in areas heavily impacted by violence, through our partnerships with Humanity and Inclusion (£3.7m 2018-2021) and Medair (£16m 2016-2021). We also provide psycho-social support to survivors of gender-based violence as part of a five-year £22 million programme with the International Medical Corps. Finally, UK Aid is working in partnership with the UN’s International Organisation for Migration (IOM) to provide mental health and psychosocial services in protection of civilian sites, with services targeted particularly at vulnerable groups including women and girls.

12th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to ensure that (1) malaria, and (2) non-COVID-19 epidemic, services and programmes in Africa are adequately resourced during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The UK Government recognises that COVID-19 will have significant direct and indirect impacts on health in Africa. Indirect impacts will be the result of disruption to, and a reduction in, health service delivery.

In response, we are flexing our funding and programming. We are building on our long-term investments to mitigate the threat of indirect impacts on various services and goods. These include reproductive health services and commodities as well as essential primary health care services, such as immunisation. We also aim to increase access and reduce prices for essential health commodities.

The UK Government is working with governments to ensure that essential malaria services continue, malaria patients are protected from COVID-19 and malaria programmes make good decisions about redeploying resources to national COVID-19 programmes in a sustainable way. We continue to be the second largest country donor in the global fight against malaria.

19th Dec 2019
To ask Her Majesty's Government what research they have conducted into the effects of climate change on pastoral communities in Africa.

DFID has conducted a series of research studies on pastoralism, including on the effects of climate change and environmental stresses. Papers and reports from this research are published here: https://www.gov.uk/dfid-research-outputs?keywords=pastoralism+and+climate+change.

DFID has recently announced a new programme the “Supporting Pastoralism & Agriculture in Recurrent & Protracted Crises (SPARC)” programme (2020 - 2026) which aims to assist poor and vulnerable people to better cope with and build their resilience to climate change and recurring shocks, delivering evidence which will improve DFID programmes and policies supporting pastoral communities. The programme builds on a number of previous programmes which have focused on improving the resilience of pastoralist communities, including the Karamoja Resilience programme in Northern Uganda, and the Building Resilience and Adapting to Climate Extremes and Disasters (BRACED) programme in the Sahel.

19th Dec 2019
To ask Her Majesty's Government what humanitarian resources they have committed, bilaterally and multilaterally, to victims of terrorism in northern Syria since the withdrawal of the United States from that territory.

The UK remains committed to providing vital humanitarian support to the victims of conflict and terrorism in Northern Syria. To date, the UK has committed £40 million in humanitarian aid to North East Syria and another £40 million to North West Syria for financial year 2019/20. This forms part of an overall UK commitment of £400 million to the regional Syria crisis this financial year. This funding includes £72 million spent by DFID in humanitarian projects inside Syria between January and June 2019, which has provided: 26,676 food rations, each covering the food needs of one individual for one month; 144,745 people with clean drinking water; 1,177,930 vaccines; 352,598 people benefitted from relief packages; 7,993 people benefitted from cash-for-work activities and 27,960 people benefitted from psychosocial support.

UK support to Northern Syria is provided on the basis of humanitarian need and delivered through United Nations agencies and non-governmental organisations. It focusses on providing life-saving supplies such as food, water, shelter, mental health services and healthcare, as well as helping communities recover from life under Daesh rule, for example by supporting farmers and local businesses. In consultation with partners, my Department keeps under constant review what additional support might be needed to support those affected by recent fighting.

25th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to use free trade agreements as a means of furthering climate change objectives; and what examples they can provide of having done so in recently-concluded trade agreements, including rollover trade agreements.

In our outline approaches to free trade agreements (FTAs) with the US, New Zealand, and Australia, we have committed to securing provisions that will help trade in low carbon goods and services, supporting innovation in sectors such as offshore wind, smart energy systems, low-carbon advisory services, and energy from waste. Our FTAs will also underpin international cooperation in research and development, and reaffirm the United Kingdom’s sovereign right to regulate in pursuit of net zero by 2050.

The recently concluded United Kingdom-EU trade agreement confirms both Parties’ commitments to key international climate agreements and includes other important commitments, such as promoting trade-related aspects of climate change policies in international fora. Our continuity FTAs have sought to replicate the effects of the EU’s agreements too, including provisions on climate change.

Lord Grimstone of Boscobel
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
28th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many prescriptions have been issued for (1) antidepressants, (2) anxiolytics, (3) sedatives and hypnotics, and (4) antipsychotics, in each month from April to June 2020; and how these figures compare with the same month last year.

The information requested is provided by the NHS Business Services Authority in the following tables.

Number of items

Month and Year

Antidepressants

Anxiolytics

Barbiturates and Hypnotics

Antipsychotics

April 2019

6,035,028

518,035

679,445

1,010,050

May 2019

6,450,150

553,508

716,259

1,073,853

June 2019

6,017,455

511,088

661,151

1,002,933

Number of items

Month and Year

Antidepressants

Anxiolytics

Barbiturates and Hypnotics

Antipsychotics

April 2020

6,481,166

521,162

692,160

1,119,597

May 2020

6,244,952

490,061

659,233

1,051,130

June 2020

Not yet available

Not yet available

Not yet available

Not yet available

Notes:

The time periods covered are April 2020 – May 2020 and April 2019 – June 2019 inclusive for comparison.

The term ‘items’ refers to the number of times a product appears on a prescription form, and not the quantity prescribed. The NHS Business Services Authority does not have enough information to determine if a prescription is ‘new’ for a particular patient.

Any secondary indications or unlicensed uses of any of these medicines will not be apparent from the data.

The data provided is for prescriptions prescribed and dispensed in England only.

The data provided is based on English dispensed prescription that were processed by the NHS Business Services Authority; excluding items ‘not dispensed’, ‘disallowed’ and ‘items referred back to the contractor for further clarification’. Items prescribed but not presented for dispensing or not submitted to NHS Business Services Authority by the dispenser are also excluded.

11th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many prescriptions have been issued for (1) antidepressants, (2) anxiolytics, (3) sedatives and hypnotics, and (4) antipsychotics, in the last six months; how many prescriptions in each of these categories were new prescriptions; and how these figures compare with the same period last year.

The information requested is provided in the following tables by the NHS Business Services Authority:

Number of items

Month and Year

Antidepressants

Anxiolytics

Barbiturates and Hypnotics

Antipsychotics

October 2018

6,242,966

559,541

738,497

1,059,542

November 2018

6,105,746

538,508

715,005

1,030,777

December 2018

6,043,242

527,892

704,835

1,022,515

January 2019

6,279,989

547,545

743,385

1,052,933

February 2019

5,680,329

492,331

656,344

955,569

March 2019

6,153,299

527,789

699,736

1,021,958

Number of items

Month and Year

Antidepressants

Anxiolytics

Barbiturates and Hypnotics

Antipsychotics

October 2019

6,574,909

547,721

720,362

1,091,403

November 2019

6,324,255

515,711

683,198

1,045,301

December 2019

6,428,992

525,749

698,338

1,067,155

January 2020

6,701,671

539,735

733,003

1,098,917

February 2020

6,097,134

490,517

653,315

997,909

March 2020

6,828,732

529,601

704,071

1,080,136

The data provided is for prescriptions prescribed and dispensed in England only. The time periods covered are October 2019 – March 2020 inclusive and also October 2018 – March 2019 for comparison. March 2020 is the most recent dataset available.

The term ‘items’ refers to the number of times a product appears on a prescription form, and not the quantity prescribed. Any secondary indications or unlicensed uses of any of these medicines will not be apparent from the data.

The NHS Business Services Authority does not have enough information to determine if a prescription is ‘new’ for a particular patient.

11th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many referrals have been made to Improving Access to Psychological Therapies services in the last six months; how many appointments have been made for Improving Access to Psychological Therapies services in the last six months; and how these figures compare to the same period last year.

The Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) data requested are shown in the following table:

IAPT Referrals

IAPT Appointments

October 2019 – March 2020

834,978

3,543,965

October 2018 – March 2019

841,006

3,377,787

Source: Psychological Therapies: reports on the use of IAPT services, NHS Digital


30th Apr 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the UK has continued membership of the EU’s Early Warning and Response System for pandemics.

Infectious diseases such as COVID-19 do not respect borders and we are working closely with the European Union, European countries and global partners to tackle this global pandemic.

The United Kingdom continues to access all EU health security alerting systems, databases and networks during the transition period, including the EU’s Early Warning and Response System (EWRS). We continue to use the EWRS system as part of our response to the pandemic, to share information with the EU and Member States relating to COVID-19.

Our responses will continue to benefit from this international cooperation, and we are committed to continuing to work with countries and partners from all across the world, as we move into future stages of the COVID-19 pandemic.

30th Apr 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of whether garden centres, gardens and public spaces are important for mental health, and whether they plan to prioritise the re-opening of such spaces when restrictions in place to address COVID-19 are being lifted.

The benefits of being outside are noted in the Government’s Guidance for the public on mental health and wellbeing aspects of coronavirus (COVID-19) which is available in an online only format on GOV.UK. On 18 April, the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government (Rt. Hon. Robert Jenrick MP) said in his statement on COVID-19 that parks must remain open and people should be able to safely enjoy fresh air and green space.

On 13 May, we confirmed that garden centres could reopen. Our decision to reopen garden centres and nurseries in a safe way, will allow businesses to sell their products directly to the public and in doing so bringing about wider benefits to consumers, especially for physical and mental wellbeing, which gardening can bring.

8th Nov 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what representations they have made, if any, to the government of Sudan  regarding the detention of civilians working for the previous transitional government; and what plans they have to support a future coalition government involving civil society.

We strongly condemn the actions of the Sudanese military on 25 October, including to detain Prime Minister Hamdok and members of the civilian government and declare a State of Emergency. The Foreign Secretary made a statement on 5 November calling for the release of all those unlawfully detained and restoration of the civilian-led transitional government, which followed a similar statement made with our Sudan Quad partners (Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and US) on 3 November. We expressed our condemnation at a UN Security Council meeting on 26 October, as well as during a Special Session at the UN Human Rights Council we secured on 5 November which also adopted a resolution making clear that Sudan's civilian-led government must be restored, detainees freed, and human rights respected. Our Ambassador to Khartoum and other members of the diplomatic community in Khartoum have met with Prime Minister Hamdok to demonstrate UK support for his release. On 9 November Troika (UK, Norway and US) ambassadors met with General Burhan to urge the military to reverse their actions.

Sudanese civil society played an important role in the 2019 protests and we welcome their continued efforts towards ensuring the success of the transition since the revolution. It is crucial that the prominent role of civil society in Sudan's democratic transition continues. With our international partners we continue to maintain public international pressure on the military to return to the democratic transition in order to deliver the freedom, peace and justice called for by the Sudanese people.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
8th Nov 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what representations they have made to the government of Israel following the designation, on 22 October, of six Palestinian civil society groups as terrorist organisations; and what assessment they have made of the consequences of the government of Israel's actions for the UK's support for civil society in the West Bank and Gaza.

We are aware of the decision by the Israeli authorities to designate six Civil Society Organisations. We are in contact with the Government of Israel to understand the basis of the designations. We have made clear that human rights and civil society organisations have a vital role to play in the development of thriving, open societies. Israel's long-standing commitment to democratic values is one of its great strengths as a fellow democracy, and we continue to make clear that a strong, vibrant civil society is in Israel's own interest. As a friend of Israel, we are concerned by any developments that may undermine this commitment.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
16th Sep 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made, if any, of (1) the rate, and (2) the character, of migration north from Sudan, Mali, Niger, Libya and the Mediterranean; and if so, what are the implications for the UK’s foreign and development policy of this assessment.

In the year up to June 2021, overall detections of irregular border crossings at the external land and sea borders of Europe were fairly stable compared with the previous year, up 11% to 151,150.

The UK has been a major contributor in the humanitarian response to the Mediterranean migration crisis, having allocated over £175 million since October 2015. We remain committed to engaging with European and other partners on a 'whole of route' approach to tackling the challenges and risks posed by irregular migration.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
16th Sep 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have, if any, to revive peace agreements in South Sudan following President Salva Kiir Mayardit’s withdrawal from talks in Rome.

The UK has consistently urged all armed groups in South Sudan to bring an end to conflict and to abide by their commitments to the 2017 Cessation of Hostilities Agreement. This includes via longstanding support to, and engagement at, peace talks convened by the Community of Sant'Egidio in Rome. We are however deeply concerned by continued incidents of violence, including an attack in August on the Juba-Nimule highway, which triggered President Kiir's decision to withdraw from talks.

Our Ambassador in Juba publicly condemned this incident and we continue to engage with all sides to press them to meet their commitments and end such violence. We remain in contact with Sant'Egidio to support their efforts to revive talks as part of our wider efforts to drive progress on the implementation of the 2018 Peace Agreement.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
16th Sep 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the consequences of the reduction of the French military actions in Mali for (1) the UK, (2) the UK’s joint military operation with France, and (3) the UK's contribution to the United Nation’s action in the Sahel.

The UK is in contact with our French partners on their planned changes to operations in the Sahel. We have had assurances that France will retain the critical support functions such as force protection, medical and logistical support, which allow the UK to effectively contribute to operations in the Sahel.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
22nd Jul 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what arrangements they have made with the government of Vietnam to provide for British nationals over 65 years of age in that country to receive COVID-19 injections.

The Government of Vietnam has confirmed that British nationals resident in Vietnam will be offered COVID-19 vaccines as part of the national vaccination programme. The programme is currently focused on priority groups, including those over 65 years of age and those with chronic diseases. Information on how British nationals aged over 18 can register for the programme is available on the FCDO's Vietnam Travel Advice pages on gov.uk.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
24th Jun 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of how many people have been displaced as a result of the volcanic eruption on St Vincent island in April; and what financial contribution they have made so far to the relief efforts.

According to the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO), 24,651 people have been displaced as a result of the eruption of La Soufrière.

The UK pledged an initial £200,000 to the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) response teams to help address the immediate humanitarian impact of the eruptions. This provided urgent technical expertise to help co-ordinate the relief effort, including the provision of lifesaving emergency supplies, the restoration of telecommunications and transport links and other immediate needs including around the provision of water and electricity and in the health and agriculture sectors. This assistance was also key for undertaking critical sectoral damage and needs assessments to help inform the recovery effort.

With the launch of the UN funding appeal the UK allocated a further £550,000 to the World Food Programme (WFP) to provide cash and voucher assistance to help an estimated 13,000 affected people to meet their immediate food, nutrition and other essential needs for an initial period of 3 months. WFP is a trusted and proven partner with whom we have a strong long-term relationship and established systems for delivering support in the Caribbean. This allocation built on previous humanitarian assistance and social protection work supported by the UK in St Vincent and the Grenadines.

UK bilateral support to the immediate emergency response totalled £750,000 (approximately US$1,043,000). This came from the ODA crisis reserve. In addition, prior to the eruption the UK provided funding of £51,000 for helicopter support for surveillance and equipment installation. This boosted early warning of the impending eruption therefore allowing for a timely evacuation.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
24th Jun 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what technical support, if any, they have offered to Nabil Adeeb and the inquiry he leads in investigating the June 2019 massacres in Sudan, particularly regarding the analysis of video evidence.

The UK is taking a leading role with Sudan to help ensure the democratic transition is a success. As part of this we have been clear that accountability for crimes committed before, and during, the revolution is essential. The Minister for Africa reinforced this message at the international conference on Sudan in Paris on 17 May, as did the Foreign Secretary at the highest levels during his visit to Khartoum on 21 January.

We continue to urge the Sudanese to deliver their commitment to an independent and transparent investigation into the attacks on peaceful protesters on 3 June 2019, and to hold those responsible to account. The Foreign Secretary demonstrated support for the work of the investigation at a round-table discussion on transitional justice during his visit, alongside the head of the investigation commission Mr Nabil Adib. We remain in contact with those in charge of the investigation to support progress on this important work.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
11th May 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they provide support for reforestation in Nepal in response to climate change; and if so, how this support is divided between (1) the government of Nepal, (2) Nepalese non-governmental organisations (NGOs), and (3) international NGOs.

The UK government does not currently have a dedicated forestry programme in Nepal. We do however support forestry in the climate vulnerable west of Nepal through our £50 million Climate Smart Development programme. This programme includes work to increase afforestation, protect slopes and remove CO2. This support is provided through Nepal's local governments but the implementation is mainly by community user groups and community forestry groups (both local NGOs). In addition, the UK is supporting the British Council to work with local NGOs to develop tree planting toolkits and campaigns to offset emissions.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
11th May 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will continue to support community forest enterprises in Nepal in order to create employment and eradicate poverty.

The UK Government does not currently have a dedicated forestry programme in Nepal. We are however a significant contributor to World Bank programmes in forestry in Nepal, including the recently agreed $24 million 'Forests for Prosperity' programme.

We also support forestry in the climate vulnerable west of Nepal through our £50 million Climate Smart Development programme. This programme includes work to increase afforestation, protect slopes and remove CO2, often working with local community forestry groups.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
14th Apr 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what support they have (1) offered, and (2) provided, to engineers in St Vincent and the Grenadines to help with (a) the restoration of water and electricity supplies, and (b) the construction of shelters for evacuees, following the volcanic eruptions.

We are monitoring the situation in St Vincent and the Grenadines closely and our thoughts are with those affected by the eruptions.

Urgently needed technical experts will support relief efforts on the ground, support emergency telecommunications, and restore critical lifeline facilities, such as water, health, agriculture and electricity. UK funding of £200,000 to the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) is helping fund such work. We will continue to work with CDEMA the UN Agencies, and Red Cross Societies to provide further support if required.

The UK stands ready to extend further technical support to St Vincent and the Grenadines as it grapples with the longer-term impacts of the eruptions.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
14th Apr 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what (1) humanitarian assistance, and (2) emergency supplies, they have provided to St Vincent and the Grenadines following the volcanic eruptions.

We are monitoring the situation in St Vincent and the Grenadines closely and our thoughts are with those affected by the eruptions.

To address immediate needs, on 12 April we pledged an initial £200,000 to the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) to help address the humanitarian impact of the eruptions. Urgently needed technical experts will support relief efforts on the ground, support emergency telecommunications, and restore critical lifeline facilities, such as water, health, agriculture and electricity. We have provided technical advice from the UK Government Office of Science (GO Science) and the British Geological Survey on how to deal with the significant ash fall (including on its impact on livestock).

The UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) have allocated $1m in response to the eruptions in St Vincent and the Grenadines. The UK is a longstanding supporter of the CERF. In 2020, the UK was one of the largest donors to the Fund, providing £66m ($88.6m) to support responses to humanitarian need across the globe.

Finally the UK is also a contributor to the International Federation of the Red Cross Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) which has allocated funding of some £209,000 to the St Vincent and the Grenadines Red Cross response.

We will continue to work with CDEMA and other appropriate agencies to scope further UK support following assessment of needs.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
14th Apr 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what contribution they have made to UK non-governmental organisations to support those organisations to provide assistance to those affected by the volcanic eruptions in St Vincent and the Grenadines.

The UK has pledged an initial £200,000 to the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) to help address the humanitarian impact of the eruptions.

The UK is also a contributor to the International Federation of the Red Cross Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) which has allocated funding of some £209,000 to the St Vincent and the Grenadines Red Cross response.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon, Minister of State for South Asia and the Commonwealth, spoke to the Prime Minister of St Vincent and the Grenadines and his High Commissioner to the UK on 14 April. They discussed initial and ongoing UK support for the recovery following the volcanic eruption.

We will continue to work in partnership with the authorities and our trusted humanitarian partners, including the Red Cross Societies and UN Agencies, to ensure that the basic needs of the affected communities are met.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
14th Apr 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with non-governmental organisations and churches in St Vincent and the Grenadines which are supporting evacuees following the volcanic eruptions.

The UK is a contributor to the International Federation of the Red Cross Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) which has allocated funding of some £209,000 to the St Vincent and the Grenadines Red Cross response.

I spoke to the Prime Minister of St Vincent and the Grenadines and his High Commissioner to the UK on 14 April. I discussed initial and ongoing UK support for the recovery following the volcanic eruption.

We will continue to work in partnership with the authorities and our trusted humanitarian partners, including the Red Cross Societies and UN Agencies, to ensure that the basic needs of the affected communities are met.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
14th Apr 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what urgent steps they are taking in response to the volcanic eruptions in St Vincent and the Grenadines.

We are monitoring the situation in St Vincent and the Grenadines closely and our thoughts are with those affected by the eruptions.

To address immediate needs, on 12 April we pledged an initial £200,000 to the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) to help address the humanitarian impact of the eruptions. Urgently needed technical experts will support relief efforts on the ground, support emergency telecommunications, and restore critical lifeline facilities, such as water, health, agriculture and electricity. We have provided technical advice from the UK Government Office of Science (GO Science) and the British Geological Survey on how to deal with the significant ash fall (including on its impact on livestock).

The UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) have allocated $1m in response to the eruptions in St Vincent and the Grenadines. The UK is a longstanding supporter of the CERF. In 2020, the UK was one of the largest donors to the Fund, providing £66m ($88.6m) to support responses to humanitarian need across the globe.

Finally the UK is also a contributor to the International Federation of the Red Cross Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) which has allocated funding of some £209,000 to the St Vincent and the Grenadines Red Cross response.

I spoke to the Prime Minister of St Vincent and the Grenadines and his High Commissioner to the UK on 14 April. I discussed initial and ongoing UK support for the recovery following the volcanic eruption.

We will continue to work with CDEMA and other appropriate agencies to scope further UK support following assessment of needs.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
14th Apr 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government how, and through which channels, they have coordinated the international response to the volcanic eruptions in St Vincent and the Grenadines.

The UK has pledged an initial £200,000 to the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA), which is directly supporting the National Emergency Management Organisation (NEMO) of St Vincent and the Grenadines, to help address the humanitarian impact of the eruptions. Urgently needed technical experts will also support relief efforts on the ground, support emergency telecommunications, and restore critical lifeline facilities, such as water, health, agriculture and electricity.

The UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) have allocated $1m in response to the eruptions in St Vincent and the Grenadines. The UK is a longstanding supporter of the CERF. In 2020, the UK was one of the largest donors to the Fund, providing £66m ($88.6m) to support responses to humanitarian need across the globe.

The UK is also a contributor to the International Federation of the Red Cross Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) which has allocated funding of some £209,000 to the St Vincent and the Grenadines Red Cross response.

We will continue to work with CDEMA, the UN Agencies, and Red Cross Societies to provide further support if required.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
17th Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answers by Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon on 12 March (HL13839 and HL13840), what plans they have to reduce the level of funding to the Conflict, Stability and Security Fund in South Sudan; and what assessment they have made of the impact of changes to their conflict strategy on African countries in conflict, in particular South Sudan.

As announced to Parliament last year, the impact of the global pandemic on the UK economy has forced us to take the tough, but necessary decision to temporarily reduce the Official Development Assistance budget. The FCDO is reviewing all individual country allocations as part of the Country Business Planning process, including specific implications for all spend in South Sudan. These will be communicated to Parliament in due course. The UK is steadfast in our commitment to supporting victims of conflict worldwide. We will continue to press for full, inclusive implementation of the 2018 Peace Agreement, which remains South Sudan's best chance for long-term peace and stability.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
12th Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the report by Save the Children Defenceless: The Impact of Israeli Military Detention on Palestinian Children, published on 29 October 2020; and what representations they have made to the government of Israel.

With reference to the answer to question HL10992 given to the noble Lord on 15 December:

We are concerned by the findings of the Save the Children's report entitled,

'Defenceless: The impact of the Israeli military detention system on Palestinian children'.

We remain committed to working with Israel to secure improvements to the practices surrounding children in detention. Our Embassy in Tel Aviv have a regular dialogue with Israel on this issue. We also fund projects providing legal aid to minors and capacity building to local lawyers. We continue to call on the Israeli authorities to comply with their obligations under international law.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
2nd Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have, if any, to make changes in funding to the South Sudan Council of Churches; and what assessment they have made of the effects of any such change.

The UK is steadfast in our commitment to supporting victims of conflict worldwide. We will remain a leading donor in South Sudan, providing vital assistance in one of the world's worst humanitarian crises. We will also continue our political engagement in Juba, the region, through the UN Security Council, and with organisations such as the South Sudan Council of Churches, to deliver shared goals on bringing a lasting end to the conflict. In particular, we will continue to press for full implementation of the 2018 Peace Agreement, which remains South Sudan's best chance for long-term peace and stability.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
2nd Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have, if any, to make changes in funding to the Conflict, Stability and Security Fund in South Sudan.

The UK is steadfast in our commitment to supporting victims of conflict worldwide. We will remain a leading donor in South Sudan, providing vital assistance in one of the world's worst humanitarian crises. We will also continue our political engagement in Juba, the region, through the UN Security Council, and with organisations such as the South Sudan Council of Churches, to deliver shared goals on bringing a lasting end to the conflict. In particular, we will continue to press for full implementation of the 2018 Peace Agreement, which remains South Sudan's best chance for long-term peace and stability.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
25th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to urge G7 countries (1) to spread awareness of, and (2) to increase technical assistance regarding, new ways of addressing climate change, including trade in environmental goods and investment in green technologies.

On 17 January, the Prime Minister launched the UK's G7 Presidency in 2021. We are in consultation with our G7 partners on plans for coordinating our objectives and work on climate change issues. We are committed to placing climate and nature at the heart of the multilateral agenda, and plan to mainstream climate and environmental policy across the G7. This will include supporting the transition to a low carbon economy through increased investment and cooperation in green technologies; as well as looking at ways to enhance and promote sustainable trade as we seek to join forces to protect the planet. The UK has itself taken an important first step towards more sustainable trade by lowering tariffs on environmental goods under the UK Global Tariff. The Foreign Secretary regularly speaks with G7 countries as part of his overall engagement on climate issues, including most recently Japan and the US.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
25th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they (1) are providing, or (2) intend to provide, technical assistance to any oil-rich less economically developed country in order for any such country to develop its non-oil private sector.

We cannot meet Sustainable Development Goal 7 or the temperature goals of the Paris Agreement without a clean energy transition that leaves no-one behind. It is vital that oil-rich developing countries are able to make the clean energy transition and the UK Government is helping them to achieve that.

FCDO funds a portfolio of programmes supporting investment climate reform, which is one of the biggest barriers to business growth and job creation in developing countries. The Manufacturing Africa (MA) programme aims to increase foreign direct investment into manufacturing in a range of African countries, including countries with proven oil reserves such as Kenya, Ethiopia and Uganda. Over the next decade, the programme will help create an estimated 90,000 jobs and generate £1.2bn of additional foreign direct investment.

The Cities and Infrastructure for Growth (CIG) programme is supporting national and city governments, including in Uganda, to identify, develop and unlock finance for infrastructure projects that are key to enhance urban productivity and remove critical constraints to businesses growth and competitiveness. Examples include supporting the prioritisation, design and development of infrastructure projects in Kampala, including the Kampala Industrial Park.

In Nigeria, the UK is supporting the Nigerian government's Solar Power Naija scheme which aims to achieve 5m new off-grid solar energy connections by 2023 and develop Nigeria's manufacturing capacity.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
25th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they are discussing climate and environment issues with any less economically developed country with the aim of increasing any such country's investment in clean energy and green technologies.

We cannot meet Sustainable Development Goal 7 or the temperature goals of the Paris Agreement without a clean energy transition that leaves no-one behind. As COP26 President, the UK has made clean energy transition one of the five thematic campaigns underpinning COP26. We want to ensure that developing countries are able to access the investment and assistance they need to transition to clean power, which will be crucial in helping those countries achieve more ambitious Nationally Determined Contributions. The COP26 Energy Transition Council is facilitating dialogue between countries seeking energy transition support and the major international actors offering that support, to find and implement solutions more rapidly.

The doubling of the UK's International Climate Finance (ICF) to £11.6 billion between 2021/22 and 2025/26 includes up to £1 billion for developing and testing new technology in areas such as energy storage, renewable energy, low carbon and electric transport, and industrial decarbonisation. This funding for innovation is targeted at driving forward the clean energy transition in developing countries, by creating and demonstrating new technologies and business models to deploy them.

As part of a wider ICF energy portfolio, FCDO is also investing £38 million in the Climate Compatible Growth (CCG) research programme to support developing countries to accelerate their transition to green energy while growing their economies. CCG will provide data, tools and evidence to inform country policies and investments in clean energy and transport infrastructure, helping to ensure that developing countries adopt a growth path that is sustainable for decades to come.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
1st Dec 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the report by Save the Children Defenceless: The impact of the Israeli military detention system on Palestinian children, published on 29 October; and what response they have made to that report.

We are concerned by the findings of the Save the Children's report entitled, 'Defenceless: The impact of the Israeli military detention system on Palestinian children'. We remain concerned about the treatment of Palestinian children detained in Israeli prisons. Reports of the heavy use of painful restraints and the high number of Palestinian children who are not informed of their legal rights, in contravention of Israel's own regulations, are particularly concerning, as is the continued transfer of Palestinian child and adult detainees to prisons inside Israel in violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention. We remain committed to working with Israel to secure improvements to the practices surrounding children in detention. Our Embassy in Tel Aviv have a regular dialogue with Israel on this issue. We also fund projects providing legal aid to minors and capacity building to local lawyers. We continue to call on the Israeli authorities to comply with their obligations under international law.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
24th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of reports of the demolition of Humsah Al Bqai'a on 3 November; and what representations they have made, if any, to the government of Israel about the support being provided to any children left without accommodation.

We are seriously concerned by increasing rates of demolition of Palestinian property by the Israeli authorities. In all but the most exceptional of circumstances demolitions are contrary to International Humanitarian Law. The Minister for the Middle East and North Africa raised our concern about demolitions with the Israeli Ambassador to the UK on 29 October, and issued a statement outlining the UK's concern about the demolitions of structures in Humsa Al-Baqai'a on 6 November. Officials from the British Consulate General Jerusalem visited Humsa Al-Baqai'a on 6 November to reiterate UK support for the community. The UK provides funding to the West Bank Protection Consortium, which is coordinating with the Palestinian Red Cross and the United Nations to provide emergency shelter to the community of Humsa Al-Baqai'a, and determine the community's long-term needs. 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.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
9th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of (1) the number of refugees in the Ethiopia-Sudan border region, (2) the nationality of these refugees, and (3) the impact of the Tigray conflict on refugee numbers in that area.

According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) there are almost 162,200 refugees in regions of Ethiopia adjoining Sudan from Eritrea, Sudan and South Sudan. Owing to telecommunications outages across Tigray region and limited access for humanitarian agencies due to insecurity we are not able to accurately determine the impact of the conflict on refugee numbers.

We await confirmation from UNHCR about the movement of Ethiopians into Sudan but Sudanese media have reported that an estimated 6,000 asylum seekers from Ethiopia have crossed into Sudan in recent days. Prior to the fighting in Tigray, Sudan hosted approximately 13,000 Ethiopian refugees who reside in official camps as well as in towns and cities across the country.

9th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of whether South Sudanese refugees are returning to South Sudan from Ugandan camps; and what assistance they are providing to South Sudanese refugees still in Uganda.

According to data from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), 8,347 refugees returned to South Sudan in September 2020. Of these, 3,023 individuals (36%) returned from refugee settlements in Uganda.

There are currently more than 1.4 million refugees in Uganda; about 938,000 (more than 65%) of these are from South Sudan. The UK is one of the largest supporters of refugees in Uganda, providing life-saving protection and assistance. Under our current 5 year, £210 million programme, the UK helps to safely deliver food assistance to more than one million people; provide emergency nutritional and psycho-social support for children traumatised by conflict in their home countries; ensure livelihood opportunities to enable people to build their resilience and become self-reliant; and prevent and control the spread of COVID-19 among vulnerable refugee and host communities.

29th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of any EU plans for future enlargement.

The European Union adopted new methodology on Enlargement in February 2020, designed to offer incentives for progress and to create disincentives for backsliding on the key reforms candidate countries are required to implement. As and when candidate countries meet the requirements set by the EU for accession, it will be for EU members at the time to decide whether to grant membership.

29th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have made representations to facilitate dialogue between the governments of Serbia and Kosovo; if so, what progress they have made; and what plans they have to make such representations alongside the EU after January 2021.

The UK Government welcomes the recent resumption of the Dialogue between Serbia and Kosovo facilitated by HRVP Josep Borrell and EU Special Representative Miroslav Lajcák. We support the Dialogue process as the best way of reaching a comprehensive, sustainable and legally binding normalisation agreement that enhances regional stability and benefits the people of both countries. Following our exit from the EU, our active involvement has continued. We are in regular contact with the Dialogue facilitators, international partners, and the governments of Serbia and Kosovo, working to support the negotiations in Brussels.

29th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many EU development projects they support in the Western Balkans; and what plans they have to support such projects after January 2021.

The UK contributes towards EU development projects in the Western Balkans, through the Heading IV section of the EU's 2014-2020 Multi-Annual Financial Framework Budget (MFF). Over the 2014-2020 MFF, the EU has allocated funding totalling around €6.5 billion for the Western Balkans, and the UK has contributed on average approximately 12.5% towards the costs of these programmes.

The Withdrawal Agreement commits the UK to continue to make payments to the EU from 01 January 2021, as part of the UK's Reste-a-Liquider (RAL) contributions to the EU budget. We anticipate that this will include continued funding to support programmes in the Western Balkans until approximately 2025. The UK will not be contributing to EU programming under the 2021-2027 MFF.

29th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what contribution, if any, they have made to skills training for young people in the Western Balkans in response to continuing youth migration.

Through the Conflict, Stability and Security Fund, the Government is spending over £10m over three years on the projects that provide skills training for young people in the Western Balkans. This includes the "21st Century Schools" project which delivers digital skills, critical thinking and problem solving training for up to 1 million young people across all six Western Balkan countries to provide them with better opportunities for employment in the region in the future.

In North Macedonia, one project provides training to young people in digital skills and another is providing skills training in the textiles and construction industries. Another project in Kosovo, North Macedonia and Bosnia and Herzegovina delivers journalism training and internships in media outlets to young people.

2nd Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of (1) how much time staff of the Independent Commission for Aid Impact (ICAI) have, or will need to, set aside for the Integrated Review of foreign policy, defence, security and development announced in February; (2) who in the ICAI has or will contribute to the Review; and (3) the extent to which the Review will require a postponement of ICAI's planned programme for 2020/21.

The Independent Commission for Aid Impact is an advisory non-departmental public body sponsored by the FCDO, but is operationally independent of government.

On the Integrated Review, the Government is engaging with experts beyond Whitehall and wider stakeholders with an interest in our nation's security and prosperity, and the global challenges the UK will face over the coming years.

The Government has issued a Call for Evidence to help inform the Integrated Review, which is open to all organisations with an interest and role in our nation's security and prosperity, and in tackling the global challenges the UK will face over the coming years.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
2nd Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how they intend to (1) identify the 0.7 per cent of Gross National Income committed to spending on aid within the merged accounts of the Department for International Development and Foreign and Commonwealth Office; and (2) account for combined inter-departmental projects for the purposes of the commitment to spending 0.7 per cent of Gross National Income on aid.

The FCDO's Statistics on International Development publications will continue to report on the UK's Official Development Assistance spend, all of which contributes to the 0.7 commitment. Sufficient spending plans are in place to meet the 0.7 commitment in 2020.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
29th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what representations they have made to the government of Israel about the detention of Rania Elias and Suhail Khoury; and what plans they have to raise those detentions with international partners.

Our Consul General in Jerusalem has publicly expressed his concern. We continue to call on the Israeli authorities to comply with their obligations under international law and either charge or release detainees. We also continue to support the Palestinian cultural presence and identity in East Jerusalem, as well as Palestinian physical presence there.

29th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what recent assessment they have made of (1) the freedom of the press in South Sudan, and (2) the case of Peter Biar Ajak.

Freedom of expression has an essential role to play in the establishment of peace and stability in South Sudan. We are deeply concerned at any closing of political space and restrictions on freedom of expression in the country, both for activists and for local and international journalists. This is incompatible with the Government of South Sudan's expressed desire to see a successful resolution to the nation's crises. We continue to lobby the Government of South Sudan to ensure that journalists, human rights activists and civil society are free to operate without fear of retribution. Through our Media Freedom Campaign we are providing support to journalists inside the country including continued funding for local media associations

The UK lobbied the Government of South Sudan on political detainees including during Peter Biar's imprisonment in 2018-19. This included calling for due process, access to legal representation and for his release from detention as part of the 2018 peace agreement. We welcomed his eventual release alongside other prisoners in January and are aware of his recent arrival in the US. Our officials remain in contact with him.

29th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what recent assessment they have made of intercommunal violence in South Sudan.

There has been a recent rise in severe violence in several states in South Sudan resulting in killings, displacement and disruption to livelihoods and humanitarian access. Severe violence is tipping South Sudan into further humanitarian crisis with 6.5 million people already facing acute food insecurity, many in areas recently devastated by flooding and facing the possibility of new locust swarms. In Jonglei alone, 157,000 people have been displaced since February this year and an estimated 87,000 people are in need of urgent assistance. The violence in Jonglei and other parts of South Sudan underlines that, despite the 2018 peace agreement and a reduction in overall political conflict, many South Sudanese continue to live with terrible violence. South Sudan's best chance of a more stable and prosperous future remains the full implementation of the peace agreement.

The creation of a peace committee by Presidential decree is a welcome step, but it and the Government of South Sudan need to act urgently to stop violence, facilitate humanitarian access and ensure ceasefire monitors are enabled to conduct accurate and timely investigations. Our Ambassador and other officials continue to meet the most senior representatives of the Government of South Sudan to urge action. The UK will continue to promote efforts to halt the violence, address the root causes of conflict and build lasting peace.

30th Apr 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the UK is participating in all EU meetings that may be dealing with the survival of UK citizens from COVID-19 or other similar threats.

Covid-19 is a major priority for the Government and we are engaging constructively with the EU and with our European and global partners to respond to the outbreak.

We continue to access all EU health security alerting systems, databases and networks during the transition period, including the Early Warning and Response System (EWRS), which we have used to share information in response to the pandemic, and to attend EU Health Security Committee meetings where it is in our interests to do so.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
30th Apr 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether all EU meetings which concern the wellbeing and security of UK citizens will be attended by a minister until the end of 2020.

Following the UK's departure from the European Union, we continue to engage and cooperate with the EU, and with European Member States, through normal diplomatic channels - as with our other global partners.

We continue to access all EU health security alerting systems, databases and networks during the transition period, including the Early Warning and Response System (EWRS), which we have used to share information in response to the pandemic, and to attend EU Health Security Committee meetings where it is in our interests to do so.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
27th Feb 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have made representations to the UN Human Rights Council and other UN bodies about the government of India’s Citizenship (Amendment) Act 2019; if so, when; and what was the outcome.

I discussed the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) with a senior member of India's Ministry of External Affairs on 25 February, while in Geneva for the UN Human Right Council. We continue to closely monitor developments over the CAA and related protests, and we will continue to raise any concerns with the Government of India.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
27th Feb 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether UK High Commission staff and their families in New Delhi have been affected by protests about the government of India's Citizenship (Amendment) Act; and if so, what support such people have received from the High Commission.

No British High Commission staff have been directly caught up in the violence, though the broader disruption has affected some of our local staff, who live or travel close to areas where violence occurred. The safety and security of all our staff is of paramount importance. Our advice to staff mirrors our Travel Advice, which we keep under constant review.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
19th Dec 2019
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to encourage opposition factions in South Sudan led by Riek Machar to form and maintain a unity government; and what protection is provided to such factions by the international community alongside the government of Salva Kiir.

The UK continues to urge all parties to the September 2018 ‘Revitalised Agreement on the Conflict in South Sudan’ to make the progress necessary for a government of national unity to form and to uphold the associated ceasefire. The DFID/FCO Minister for Africa (Andrew Stephenson) wrote to both parties in November to urge them to make such progress for the sake of the people of South Sudan. Following agreement by the parties to extend the ‘pre-transitional’ phase to February 2020 we have welcomed meetings in Juba between President Kiir and opposition leader Dr Machar but call for further dialogue to deliver progress so that a government of national unity can form and for implementation of the next phase of the peace agreement to begin. This messaging was reinforced at the recent UN Security Council on 18 December 2019. Security in Juba and elsewhere in South Sudan is an important part of building the confidence for opposition parties to participate in a government of national unity. Most recently alongside Troika partners (US and Norway) we issued a statement on 2 January urging the parties to engage in a spirit of compromise on outstanding tasks. As a member of the UN Security Council the UK supports the UN Mission In South Sudan (UNMISS), including through the deployment of UK troops. UNMISS plays a crucial role in supporting the peace process and protection of civilians. Security for political figures to participate in government in Juba is critical but part of the wider peace agreement implementation and for the parties to progress.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
24th Jun 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have launched a pilot scheme to gather data on the needs of migrant victims of domestic violence; if so, when it will conclude; and when they expect to ratify the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence.

The Support for Migrant Victims Scheme launched in April this year and is intended to run until March 2022. The scheme was set up in order to provide protection and support for migrant victims of domestic abuse who are unable to access public funds and to enable the Government to take evidence based decisions on how best to protect these victims in the long term.

When we are satisfied that we are compliant with the Convention then we will, in line with section 1(3) of the Preventing and Combatting Violence Against Women and Domestic Violence (Ratification of Convention) Act 2017, make a statement to Parliament confirming this and set out the timetable for ratification.

This Government remains committed to ratifying the Convention as soon as possible.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
10th Feb 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many asylum seekers given leave to remain in the UK over the last five years have committed (1) minor, and (2) serious, offences; and of this number, how many ultimately applied for and received indefinite leave to remain.

Asylum seekers who are granted refugee status or humanitarian protection will usually be granted a period of limited leave (for 5 years) along with any dependants included on the claim. When their leave is due to expire, they must apply for further leave for themselves and any qualifying dependants if they want to remain in the UK.

After 5 years limited leave, an individual becomes eligible to apply for settlement in the UK (which constitutes indefinite leave to remain) but this is a privilege and not an automatic right.

Settlement may be refused where protection is no longer required; or where there is evidence of criminality or concerns about their character, conduct or associations such that they should be denied the benefits of permanent residence in the UK. Those who no longer need protection can return home in safety or apply to stay under other provisions of the Immigration Rules. Those who are still at risk of serious harm in their country are not expected to return there and where appropriate they will be granted limited leave if they do not qualify for settlement.

The available published data on asylum-related grants of settlement (indefinite leave to remain) are published in settlement tables se_02_q and se_02 in the ‘Immigration Statistics Quarterly Release’. The published data do not show whether the applicant had previously committed 1) minor, and (2) serious, offences.

To capture the numbers requested would require a manual trawl of data and to do so would incur disproportionate cost. There are no plans to identify these individuals separately within our published statistics.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
12th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many (1) prisoners, and (2) prison officers, have died from COVID-19; and what plans they, if any, to (a) increase testing, and (b) introduce further safeguarding measures, for COVID-19 in prisons.

We are working hard to contain the spread of COVID-19 in the prison system as part of the national plan to protect the NHS and save lives. We are implementing a range of measures to reduce the spread of the transmission of the virus and the numbers of lives sadly lost.

As of 5pm on Thursday, 14 May, we are aware of 21 prisoners and 8 prison staff who sadly have died with COVID-19

NHS England and Improvement is responsible for testing for COVID-19 both in the community and in secure settings. As such, we do not hold data on staff and prisoner testing. On 24 April, the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, announced the rollout of COVID-19 testing for all essential workers and symptomatic members of their household, including prison staff, those working in Approved Premises (APs) and probation staff (including private sector service providers) in England. We have referred over 3,000 HMPPS staff for testing to date.

In Wales, testing for prison, AP and probation staff and symptomatic members of their household is being delivered through local resilience forum arrangements and through Local Health Boards.

For prisoners, tests will be conducted on symptomatic prisoners on site. The testing capacity and availability can vary between establishments, depending on local circumstances at the time.

We are continuously working with Public Health England and Public Health Wales to improve our safeguards in prisons. Our strategy has shown early signs of success in limiting the transmission of COVID-19.

12th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what (1) health checks, and (2) tests, are conducted on staff working in prisons on a routine basis.

HM Prison and Probation Service makes sure that it fully complies with the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 in providing a safe place of work and safe systems of work for all of our staff working in prisons.

Prior to employment of a prison officer, a trained nurse will carry out a medical assessment and upon employment, mandatory physical fitness tests are conducted for prison officers on an annual basis. Fitness tests must be passed for the prison officer to remain fit for work.

Wellbeing days are delivered across prison, probation and HQ sites and includes weight, body fat percentage, blood pressure, blood glucose and cholesterol checks.

Staff receive occupational vaccinations programmes and vaccine history checks, including blood tests, to ensure prison and probation staff are protected at work. This includes Hepatitis B immunisation, the annual flu vaccine and a 24-hour helpline for suspected and actual body fluid exposure incidents in prisons and at probation sites.

In respect of Covid-19, occupational health is able to give clinical advice to managers on fitness to work. Testing is currently offered to all prison staff through a national programme delivered by the Department of Health and Social Care.

12th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many prisoners have been released due to the COVID-19 pandemic; and how many of any such prisoners have been in prison due to committing sexual offences and released from (1) open, and (2) closed, prisons.

On 31 March, we announced that pregnant women and prisoners with their babies in custody will be considered for Release on Temporary Licence (ROTL) on compassionate grounds during the COVID-19 pandemic. As of Friday 15 May, 21 pregnant women and mothers with babies in custody have been released.

In addition, prisoners identified as ‘extremely vulnerable’ as defined in the NHS guidelines will merit consideration for ROTL on compassionate grounds during the COVID-19 pandemic. As of Friday 15 May, 5 extremely vulnerable individuals have been released.

On 4 April, we announced the End of Custody Temporary Release scheme. This scheme enables risk-assessed prisoners, who are within two months of their release date, to be temporarily released from custody, as part of the national approach to managing public services during this challenging period. As of Friday 15 May, 66 offenders have been released under this scheme.

54 offenders were released from closed prisons and 38 were released from open prisons. None of the offenders released were serving sentences for sexual offences.