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Volume 405: debated on Wednesday 14 May 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what latest estimate he has of the death toll from current hostilities in Iraq among (a) UK forces, (b) US forces, (c) Iraqi forces, (d) Iraqi civilians and (e) other civilian non-combatants. [110267]

As of 6 May, 34 United Kingdom Service personnel had died during coalition military operations against Iraq.The number of fatalities suffered by US forces is a matter for the US authorities.We make every effort to minimise any impact on the Iraqi civilian population. We have no means of ascertaining the numbers of Iraqi military personnel or civilians, or other civilians who were killed or injured during the coalition's military action.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what efforts his Department is making to assure the employers of TA soldiers serving in Iraq that their employees will return at the earliest opportunity. [112649]

As my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Defence stated on 30 April 2003, Official Report, columns 15–16WS, we will continue to withdraw assets and personnel from the region where possible, but we will maintain an appropriate military presence for as long as is necessary. The requirement for Reservists will match this pattern. Where possible, Regional Reserve Forces' and Cadets' Associations (RFCAs), in concert with the Regional Brigade Chain of Command, have kept local employers of TA and Regular Army Reservists informed of the situation.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will ensure that reservists on duty in Iraq are kept informed by their commanding officers of how long they will be required to remain in Iraq. [112877]

On mobilisation, reservists are informed of the likely length of their mobilised service. This is usually 6 months in theatre plus a further 1½ months made up of pre-deployment training and post-deployment admin and leave (a total of 7½ months). Should there be any changes to the period of mobilised service, reservists would be informed by their commanding officer as a matter of course.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many UK civilians have been deployed in Iraq by his Department since the end of the war; from what department of government they have been drawn; and what the expected (a) cost and (b) length of their deployment is. [113236]

[holding answer 13 May 2003]: The number of Ministry of Defence civilian personnel deployed into theatre is in excess of 180. Of those personnel, the number deployed into Iraq varies daily, but is in the order of 12. In addition, some 50 civilians from other Government Departments have deployed, or are deploying into Iraq with the Office of Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance. The Coalition, including civilian personnel, will stay in Iraq only as long as is necessary to help the Iraqi people to build their own political institutions and reconstruct their country. It is too early to predict how long this is likely to take and therefore, how much the deployment of United Kingdom civilians to Iraq will cost.