§ Mr. Keetch
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment has been made of the possible cost to his Department of retrospective claims for compensation following the ECHR ruling in the cases of Mr. Prean, Mr. Beckett, Miss Smith and Mr. Grady regarding discrimination in the armed forces; and if he will make a statement. 
§ Mr. Spellar
In light of the ECHR's judgment on 27 September 1999, the Secretary of State for Defence has authorised that settlement negotiations be entered into with those individuals discharged as a result of their homosexuality who have submitted Employment Tribunal applications.
As these negotiations are currently underway, I am withholding disclosure of my Department's financial provision for settling these claims under Exemption 7 of the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information (Effective Management and Operations of the Public Service) as this information could compromise the negotiations and delay settlement.