§ Mr. Duncan Smith
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) when he plans to withdraw HMS Fearless from service; 
(2) what the estimated cost is of the repair work to HMS Fearless; and when he expects her to return to service. 
§ Mr. Spellar
[holding answer 15 December 2000]: The cost of the repair work to HMS Fearless, needed as a result of the fire damage to her after machinery space, is under negotiation with Fleet Support Ltd. (FSL), the company that will undertake the work. I am therefore withholding this information in accordance with Exemption 7a(1) of the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information, which relates to the competitive position of a Department. HMS Fearless is expected to return to service in the first half of 2001. The exact date will not be known until a more accurate assessment of the work is completed by FSL by the new year.
On current plans, HMS Fearless is due to be withdrawn from service in 2003.