Skip to main content

Tony Blair

Volume 503: debated on Thursday 7 January 2010

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many (a) civil servants and (b) others are available on a (i) full-time and (ii) part-time basis to support Tony Blair in his role as Middle East peace envoy; what criteria were used to select them; by whom they were appointed; what their salary band is in each case; and if he will make a statement. (309244)

There are four members of the Office of the Quartet Representative who are directly linked to the Government.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) provides the following full time secondees to the Office of the Quartet Representative (OQR): one higher executive officer equivalent (salary range £23,157 to £31, 495); and one senior civil servant (salary range £57,300 to £116,000). Standard FCO procedure was followed for advertising, recruiting and appointing to these posts. Mr. Blair held final interviews.

The Department for International Development (DfID) also funds a secondee to provide expert governance analysis (Grade 6 equivalent, salary range £55,814 to £66,873).

A locally engaged secondee to the OQR in Jerusalem was also funded through the Conflict Prevention Pool from October 2007 to August 2008 at a cost of £30,874. After that, this position has been funded by the UN Development Programme Trust Fund.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will itemise how the £400,000 funding allocated by his Department to the United Nations Development Trust Fund in support of Tony Blair in his role as Middle East peace envoy is broken down by (a) salaries, (b) expenses and (c) other costs in the current financial year. (309245)

The Department for International Development made a contribution to the Office of the Quartet Representative of £400,000 in financial year 2008-09. This was disbursed between security, accommodation, project management, support staff and general support (IT, office equipment, insurance, etc).

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many officials of his Department are presently seconded to support Tony Blair in his role as Middle East peace envoy; what procedure is in place for those officials to report formally to their home Department; and whether they remain subject to the Civil Service Code. (309246)

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) provides two secondees to the Office of the Quartet Representative (OQR). Officials from the OQR and FCO meet regularly. The secondees remain subject to the Civil Service Code.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs on what date (a) he and (b) other Ministers in his Department last met Tony Blair in his capacity as Middle East peace envoy. (309248)

My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary meets with Mr. Blair in his capacity as the Quartet Representative and regularly speaks to him on the telephone. Their last meeting was on 14 October 2009. Other Foreign Office Ministers have not met Mr. Blair recently in his capacity as Middle East peace envoy.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what checks are in place to ensure that monies made available to the United Nations Development Trust Fund to support the work of the Middle East peace envoy are not used for unauthorised or unconnected purposes. (309250)

The work of the Office of the Quartet Representative is set within the context of a UN Development Programme (UNDP) programme and is managed by the UNDP office based in Jerusalem according to UN procedures.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what proportion of the United Nations Development Trust Fund's budget to fund the office of the Quartet Representative was used to meet the office costs of Tony Blair in the current financial year. (309251)

This is a matter for the UN Development Programme and the Office of the Quartet Representative to answer.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what objectives Tony Blair has set in his capacity as Middle East peace envoy; and what the role of his Department was in setting those objectives. (309253)

The Quartet Representative's following aims were set out in a statement from the Quartet:

Mobilise international assistance to the Palestinians, working closely with donors and existing co-ordination bodies;

Help to identify, and secure appropriate international support in addressing, the institutional governance needs of the Palestinian state, focusing as a matter of urgency on the rule of law;

Develop plans to promote Palestinian economic development, including private sector partnerships, building on previously agreed frameworks, especially concerning access and movement; and

Liaise with other countries as appropriate in support of the agreed Quartet objectives.

While the Foreign and Commonwealth Office had no formal role in setting these aims, it has continued to be closely involved in the middle east peace process and supports these aims.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether his Department has authorised the registration of any company in connection with the work of Tony Blair has set in his role as Middle East peace envoy. (309254)

Government funding to the Office of the Quartet Representative is handled by UN Development Programme not by a company.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has not authorised the registration of a company in connection with the work of the Quartet Representative, which is a matter for the Office of the Quartet Representative not the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent assessment he has made of the effectiveness of Tony Blair in his role as Middle East peace envoy. (309255)

The UK supports the aims of the Quartet, which are aligned with UK interests. Mr. Blair has made a significant contribution to these aims through his work as Quartet Representative. I refer the hon. Member to my answer to parliamentary question 309256.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will list the achievements of Tony Blair in his role as Middle East peace envoy. (309256)

We fully support the efforts of the Quartet Representative. He has brought important focus on efforts to create economic development.

We have seen some real progress on the ground. There has been an estimated 5 per cent. real growth in gross domestic product in 2008. This increase is due to a combination of factors especially a strong lead from the Palestinian Authority and strong donor support, but we judge that the Quartet Representative has made a valuable contribution.

The Quartet Representative has also played a strong role on a number of specific projects including the recent launch of Wataniya, the second telephony operator in the Palestinian Territories.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs on how many occasions Tony Blair has provided a written briefing to his Department pursuant to his role as Middle East peace envoy since 1 January 2009. (309257)

The Office of the Quartet Representative regularly reports to Quartet members and donors. The Quartet Representative is also in regular contact with my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary, as are his officials with our officials at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.