§ Mr. Chope
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions in which negotiations about new air services between London and the United States(a) he and (b) other Ministers in his Department have been involved since 1997; and what criteria determined the level of ministerial involvement in each case. 
§ Mr. Mullin
Negotiations between the UK and other countries are conducted by officials after consultation with Ministers. The level of ministerial involvement in any instance is determined having regard to the circumstances of the case. In the case of negotiations with the United States, Ministers have taken a close interest.