HC Deb 17 September 2003 vol 410 cc749-51W
Matthew Taylor

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will estimate(a) the length of time in training that British army units require before deployment in Iraq and (b) the ratio of deployed personnel to total personnel absorbed by operations in Iraq. [130278]

Mr. Ingram

The duration of pre-deployment training for military forces deploying on operations depends on two factors: firstly, the existing level of training, which is closely aligned to readiness, and, secondly, the operational task the force is required to undertake. The amount of pre-deployment training required is therefore dictated by the extent to which the troops need to raise their military capability, and it is not meaningful to specify set periods of time.

As at 11 September there were approximately 10,000 British servicemen and women in the Gulf region. Following the deployment of the balance of the forces announced by the Secretary of State on 8 September this figure will shortly rise to approximately 10,500. Beyond this it is not possible to quantify accurately the total number of people within the Department whose work touches on current operations in Iraq. This information is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Adam Price

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what steps are being taken by the Government to ensure that an effective trial-or-release system for Iraqi prisoners is operating in Iraq. [130347]

Mr. Hoon

The Coalition is working with the Iraqi people to establish a fair and just legal system, and estimates that some 100 courts are now in operation across the country.

Mr. Llwyd

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when the results of the inquiry into the al Majarr al Kabir incident will be published; and if he will make a statement. [123420]

Mr. Ingram

[holding answer 4 July 2003]: The Ministry of Defence is determined to do all we can to establish the facts, and to bring to account those responsible for the deaths of the six RMP soldiers killed so tragically in Iraq in June. It is not possible to say how long this investigation will take.

Mr. Amess

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to his answer of 8 September 2003,Official Report, column 46W, on civil servants working in Iraq, if he will report on a weekly basis how many civil servants are searching for weapons of mass destruction. [130770]

Mr. Ingram

The number of civilian staff working for the Iraq Survey Group on a weekly basis is as follows:

Week ending Number of staff
13 June 2
20 June 6
27 June 7
4 July 7
11 July 7
18 July 15
25 July 15
Week ending Number of staff
1 August 15
8 August 15
15 August 18
22 August 19
29 August 19
5 September 19
12 September 19