HC Deb 25 March 1996 vol 274 c405W
Mr. Vaz

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he last visited India; at what cost to public funds; which places he visited in India and for what reasons; and if he will list the names of officials who accompanied him. [18575]

Mr. Howard

I visited India and Pakistan between 29 December 1995 and 9 January 1996 at a total cost of £34,201. The officers who accompanied me were my private secretary, a press officer and the head of the immigration policy division. The guidelines in "Questions of Procedure for Ministers" were followed. The necessary approval was sought in advance of the visit and full official programmes were followed which had been drawn up with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

In India, I visited Jodhpur, at the invitation of the Indian high commissioner for Great Britain, Delhi, Bombay and Amritsar. In Pakistan, I visited Lahore, Peshawar and Islamabad.

The purpose of my visit was to visit the entry clearance operations run by the Home Office in these countries, to discuss drugs issues with both Governments, to further my understanding of community relations issues and to help improve relations between countries.