HC Deb 06 November 1997 vol 300 cc264-5W
Mr. Edward Davey

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1) how many former employees of GCHQ remain eligible for reinstatement as a result of the Government's decision to restore trade union rights at this establishment; and if he will make a statement; [14100]

(2) how many of those eligible for reinstatement at GCHQ have applied; and how many of those applications were approved. [14101]

Mr. Robin Cook

About 130 staff left GCHQ as a result of the 1984 union ban, of whom 14 were actually dismissed. The remainder fell into various categories—for example, transfer to other Government Departments and early or normal retirement. I informed the House on 19 May of the procedures needed to restore normal trade union rights to the staff of GCHQ and a copy of this statement was sent to those who had been dismissed, together with an invitation to contact GCHQ's Head of Personnel to discuss re-joining on reinstatement terms. It is open to any former civil servant to apply for reinstatement, though there is no right to be reinstated, and applications are considered in terms of existing vacancies and the suitability of an applicant for a particular vacancy. Of the 14 who were dismissed, only seven were still below retirement age by the time initial discussions on the procedure for people to rejoin had taken place; discussions with these have reached varying stages. It is not known how many of the roughly 115 people who were not dismissed but who left GCHQ by other means are still below normal retirement age but GCHQ has received a total of five expressions of interest in reinstatement or transfer back to GCHQ and discussions have again reached varying stages.

Mr. McNamara

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many sub-bases of GCHQ are presently maintained in Northern Ireland. [13082]

Mr. Robin Cook

It is long-standing practice not to disclose the details of the operations of the security and intelligence services.