§ Mr. Alex Carlile
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what progress has been made towards opening a prison on the site of RAF Finningley; and if he will make a statement. 
§ Miss Widdecombe
[holding answer 13 January 1997]: Responsibility for this matter has been delegated to the Director General of the Prison Service, who has been asked to arrange for a reply to be given.
Letter from A. J. Pearson to Mr. Alex Carlile, dated 16 January 1997:The Home Secretary has asked me, in the absence of the Director General from the office, to reply to your recent Question about the opening of a temporary prison on the RAF Finningley site.In order to respond to the increase in prisoner population currently being experienced, several options have been considered. As part of this approach the Home Secretary asked the Secretary of State for Defence about sites no longer needed by the Ministry of Defence. RAF Finningley was found to be suitable for conversion into a temporary prison, particularly in the light of the immense pressure on other prisons in the north.The planning application for part of the Finningley site to be converted into a temporary prison was lodged with Doncaster Metropolitan Borough Council on 15 November 1996. The Council considered our proposal at a planning meeting on 23 December 1996 and has made clear its objections to our plans.We are now considering whether to pursue further out planning application for use of part of Finningley as a temporary prison.