§ Mr. Byers
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list the countries visited by a spouse accompanying a Minister on overseas visits since 1 October 1993; which Minister was accompanied; what was the cost of each visit; and what were the dates and the duties undertaken by the spouse during such visits.
§ Mr. Howard
Since 1 October 1993 there have been three occasions when the spouse of a Home Office Minister has accompanied the Minister on public duties overseas.
From 1 January 1994 to 7 January 1994 I was accompanied by my spouse on a trip to the United States of America at a cost of £2,919.35. From 20 August 1994 to 2 September 1994 I was again accompanied by my spouse on a trip to Latin America, which included visits to Argentina, Bolivia and Colombia, at a cost of £5,397.65.
On both occasions the necessary approval was sought in advance of the visit and full official programmes were followed which had been drawn up by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. These concentrated on charity work relating to Home Office interests, particularly drugs.
My hon. Friend the Minister for Bexhill and Battle (Mr. Wardle) undertook a trip to Greece from 17 November to 19 November 1993 when he was Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department. He was accompanied by his spouse at own cost.