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House of Commons
Session 2006 - 07
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Supplement to the House of Commons Votes and Proceedings
1 December 2006

SUPPLEMENT TO THE VOTES AND PROCEEDINGS

PETITION FROM BBC RADIO SUFFOLK AND THE EAST ANGLIA DAILY TIMES

23rd November 2006

To the House of Commons.

The Petition of BBC Radio Suffolk and the East Anglia Daily Times,

Declares that St Edmund should be reinstated as the true and original patron saint of England.

The Petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons backs them by formally supporting proceedings to reinstate St Edmund as patron saint of England.

And the Petitioners remain, etc.


SUPPLEMENT TO THE VOTES AND PROCEEDINGS

PETITION FROM RESIDENTS OF HUNTINGDONSHIRE AND CAMBRIDGESHIRE

23rd November 2006

To the House of Commons.

The Petition of residents of Huntingdonshire and Cambridgeshire,

Declares that we, the undersigned, being residents of Huntingdonshire and Cambridgeshire, deplore the consideration being given to the reduction of services at, or the closure of, Hinchingbrooke Hospital.

That Huntingdonshire and Cambridgeshire are areas that require more health facilities, not less; and that we call on the Government to honour its commitments to our Health Service by retaining all the existing services at Hinchingbrooke Hospital.

The Petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons takes note of their views and ask the Government to act accordingly.

And the Petitioners remain, etc.


SUPPLEMENT TO THE VOTES AND PROCEEDINGS

PETITION FROM RESIDENTS OF BINGLEY AND THE SURROUNDING AREAS

27th November 2006

To the House of Commons.

The Petition of residents of Bingley and the surrounding area,

Declares that the Petitioners are extremely concerned at the closure of the post office in Bingley and believe that this is a pressing public service priority within the Bradford district.

The Petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons call upon the Government to recognise the importance of the post office to the local community and to other businesses in Bingley and to ensure that the Post Office honour their promise to maintain a post office in Bingley.

And the Petitioners remain, etc.


SUPPLEMENT TO THE VOTES AND PROCEEDINGS

PETITION FROM RESIDENTS OF THE BOROUGH OF HARTLEPOOL AND OTHERS

27th November 2006

To the House of Commons.

The Petition of residents of the Borough of Hartlepool and others,

Declares that the Petitioners' serious concerns about the Secretary of State for Health's recent decision to refer maternity and paediatric services in Teesside to an independent reconfiguration panel.

The Petitioners further declare that this decision undermines entirely the review of acute services in Teesside undertaken by Professor Sir Ara Darzi, which provided an excellent means of securing a viable future for the University Hospital of Hartlepool, as well as other hospitals in the area.

The Petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urge the Secretary of State for Health to use her powers to implement Professor Darzi's recommendations in full, and without delay.

And the Petitioners remain, etc.


SUPPLEMENT TO THE VOTES AND PROCEEDINGS

PETITION FROM RESIDENTS OF WEST DORSET

27th November 2006

To the House of Commons.

The Petition of Residents of West Dorset

Declares that the post office network provides a vital service which is now threatened by Government proposals.

The Petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urges the Government to maintain the Post Office Card Account and the rural post office network..

And the Petitioners remain, etc.


SUPPLEMENT TO THE VOTES AND PROCEEDINGS

PETITION FROM NORTH HERTFORDSHIRE FREE TIBET SUPPORT GROUP

28th November 2006

To the House of Commons.

The Petition of the North Hertfordshire Free Tibet Support Group,

Declares that they are concerned over the Chinese occupation of Tibet.

The Petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urges the Government to support all initiatives to highlight the appalling human rights abuses in Tibet and encourage meaningful dialogue between the Tibetan government in exile and the Chinese government.

And the Petitioners remain, etc.


SUPPLEMENT TO THE VOTES AND PROCEEDINGS

PETITION FROM PEOPLE LIVING AROUND THUNDERSLEY

28th November 2006

To the House of Commons.

The Petition of People living around Thundersley,

Declares that we the residents of South Essex and surrounding areas call for the reopening of the Thundersley public toilets, which remain closed, locked and padlocked, whilst other areas within Castle Point such as Hadleigh, retain the use of their public facilities, and notes that a new Neighbourhood Watch initiative aims to solve the problem of vandalism to public property through more visible police presence, and should protect our children and the public from inappropriate use of public toilets.

The Petitioners therefore call on the House of Commons to request that the Government impress upon Castle Point Borough Council the need to reopen the Thundersley public toilets and to ensure public safety, as well as bringing to justice those who use inappropriately or would seek to deface public property with the full force of the law.

And the Petitioners remain, etc.


SUPPLEMENT TO THE VOTES AND PROCEEDINGS

PETITION FROM RESIDENTS OF THE BOROUGH OF WELLINGBOROUGH AND OTHERS

28th November 2006

To the House of Commons.

The Petition of residents of the Borough of Wellingborough and others,

Declares that although the Highway Code states that under the rules for cyclists 'you should wear a cycling helmet which conforms to current regulations', it is not compulsory. Last year 5691 children were injured whilst cycling. Of these 28 were killed.

The Petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons charge the Secretary of State for Transport to bring in proposals to make it compulsory for children to wear a cycle helmet when riding their bikes.

And the Petitioners remain, etc.


SUPPLEMENT TO THE VOTES AND PROCEEDINGS

PETITION FROM COVENTRY BRITISH PENSIONERS AND TRADE UNION ASSOCIATION

29th November 2006

To the House of Commons.

The Petition of Coventry British Pensioners and Trade Union Association,

Declares that under a reform of widows' benefits, introduced in April 2001, a woman who is widowed under the age of 60 is now classed as a single woman and as such receives no pension, only bereavement benefit for one year. After this period she becomes a "jobseeker" receiving jobseekers allowance of 55-65 per week. Any private pension her husband may have paid into is deducted from this amount. This new benefit system means that these "non widows" are living in poverty. These are the women that have brought up today's working generation. This system was introduced by a government that supposedly promotes "family values", yet it is penalising the person who is the lynchpin of a family.

The Petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urge the Government to rectify this injustice.

And the Petitioners remain, etc.


SUPPLEMENT TO THE VOTES AND PROCEEDINGS

PETITION FROM RESIDENTS OF BENFLEET, CANVEY ISLAND, AND OTHERS

29th November 2006

To the House of Commons.

The Petition of residents of Benfleet, Canvey Island, and others,

Declares that the Petitioners are deeply concerned about the demise of post offices and believe that the withdrawal of public business from post offices, is an example of uncaring Government policy. Further hopes that individuals can preserve the right to receive their pension, benefits or family allowance paid weekly at their local Post Office through the Post Office Card Account.

The Petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons call upon the Department for Work and Pensions to reconsider its decision not to renew the contract for post office Card accounts and to change its policy on the withdrawal of public business from post offices.

And the Petitioners remain, etc.


SUPPLEMENT TO THE VOTES AND PROCEEDINGS

PETITION FROM THE PEOPLE OF WEST CORNWALL AND THE ISLES OF SCILLY

29th November 2006

To the House of Commons.

The Petition of the People of West Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly

Declares that our support for the cross-party (and non-party political) campaign to:

  • Oppose any plans to reduce or close hospital services at St Michael's or Penzance;

  • Express our dismay that NHS money is being used to build up and support private hospitals while the Trust is contemplating the closure of the excellent St Michael's Hospital;

  • Object to the waste of money on administrative gimmicks rather than frontline public services;

  • Demand an Independent Review of hospital services and for fair funding;

  • Support an increase in emergency as well as acute and diagnostic services in the West of Cornwall.

The Petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons expresses its support of this campaign to save two of west Cornwall's most crucial public services.

And the Petitioners remain, etc.


SUPPLEMENT TO THE VOTES AND PROCEEDINGS

Observations by the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs on the Petition [1st November] from residents of Brighton and others for the investigation of attacks on and killing of gay people in Iraq by the Badr Death Squads.

    I appreciate the Petitioners' concerns about attacks on the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community in Iraq. We are not aware of laws specifically prohibiting homosexuality in Iraq. However, terrible violence is being perpetrated against many innocent civilians, and I am aware of reports about the persecution of various groups, including LGBTs. I condemn all of these crimes.

    The democratically elected Government of Iraq has full responsibility for decision-making affecting all communities in Iraq. The UK is supporting the Government of Iraq in two key areas to ensure long term protection for all members of Iraq's diverse society. We are focusing on these two areas because we believe they provide the best long-term basis for protecting the rights of all groups in Iraq, including the LGBT community.

    Firstly, we are supporting the Government of Iraq in developing the legislation, policies and legal frameworks to implement the important provisions of the Constitution promoting secular and inclusive Government.

•     The Iraqi Constitution guarantees rights and freedoms to all Iraqis and we regularly raise the importance of this with Iraqi politicians at all levels.

•     We support the Iraqi Ministry of Human Rights, which is responsible for safeguarding human rights for all Iraqis. The Ministry defines strategies to promote and protect human rights at the national level and co-ordinates with the other branches of government to ensure policy and legislation is consistent with human rights principles and the Iraqi Constitution. We have helped to establish the framework of a human rights training institute within the Ministry, including funding a training needs assessment and provided training curricula about women and minority groups, human rights in the formation of government policies and rights of the individual. We expect the Ministry to use this material to educate officials in other government departments and institutions. We raise the human rights abuses we are aware of with the Ministry wherever possible. We will continue to do this and support the Ministry so it is able to take steps to bring abuses to an end.

•     The UK has trained over 250 judges, prosecutors and investigators in human rights, international humanitarian law and independence of the judiciary in order to develop a robust judiciary and courts system in Iraq. We supplied the libraries at the Ministry of Justice and Central Criminal Court in Basra with extensive international human rights texts and are working with international partners to address the shortage of judges in Iraq. We will continue to work to strengthen the legal system in Iraq.

    Secondly, we are working to develop the capacity and professionalism of the Iraqi police, enabling it to protect ordinary Iraqis, investigate crimes and bring those responsible for them to justice.

•     Multi national forces in Iraq have trained and equipped approximately 128,000 Iraqi policemen to date. All received instruction in human rights as part of their basic training. The UK has also provided some 100 police advisors who provide advice and training to the Iraqi authorities and police recruits and mentor police officers in police stations.

•     The UK has developed a human rights in-service training programme for the Iraqi police and we are working with them to implement this in Basra and Baghdad. We are also helping to supply human rights education materials to all Iraqi policemen, that sets out the Government of Iraq's commitment to high standards of human rights in policing.

•     The UK is assisting with the development of effective Departments of Internal Affairs in Basra and nationally, to investigate allegations of corruption and violence by people in police uniforms.

    The Government of Iraq has put tackling insecurity at the top of its agenda, and Prime Minister Maliki is focused on how to deal with Shia militias and death squads.

    Iraqi security forces are increasingly taking responsibility for security in Iraq with training and assistance from multi-national forces. The Iraqi Army and police increasingly take the lead in action against criminals and terrorists. Prime Minister Maliki has made it clear that those that commit offences should expect to be prosecuted. Recent Iraqi Army action in Diwaniyah has demonstrated that attacks by militias will not go unanswered. Separately, the Government of Iraq is working towards national political reconciliation, which would engage militias in the national political process on the condition that they lay down their weapons.

27th November 2006


SUPPLEMENT TO THE VOTES AND PROCEEDINGS

Observations by the Secretary of State for Defence on the Petition [24th July] from residents of Southend, Rochford, Great Wakering, Little Wakering, Barling and Foulness Island, Essex, against the disposal of radioactive waste on Foulness.

    The public consultation by the Environment Agency, in respect of authorisation transferring from the MOD to AWE plc in connection with the transportation of material to MOD Foulness, represents essentially no change in terms of process. It is a simple transfer of responsibility from the MOD to the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) contractor and nuclear site licensee. We are transferring these approvals to AWE plc because it is convenient to do that while the company is seeking the routine renewal of the Environment Agency authorisations for AWE sites. This is being done with complete transparency.

    Materials previously transferred from AWE to Foulness between 1998 and 2003-comprising componentry and ordnance from the weapons programme, which was contaminated with low levels of tritium, a weak beta-emitting radioisotope of hydrogen-were transported and disposed of safely, strictly according to criteria prescribed by the Environment Agency and in accordance with authorisations issued under the Radioactive Substances Act 1993.

    There has been no danger to the general public as a result of these operations, which were conducted under strictly controlled conditions. Any material released to the atmosphere as a consequence of burning operations was within safe, prescribed limits, and posed no threat to health.

    It is operationally essential to keep open the option to use Foulness as a safe disposal route for any future arisings of such contaminated material. Thus the authorisations to dispose of such material must be kept current too. However, the Environment Agency is proposing to reduce the permissible volumes of waste that could be disposed of via this route. Any unavoidable future such operations would be conducted, as in the past, under the independent scrutiny and authorisation of the Environment Agency.

    Safety is at the very top of the agenda both at the Atomic Weapons Establishment itself and in respect of its waste disposal requirements. This embraces the protection of public health and the environment, and we remain committed to ensuring that this imperative persists in all associated operations.

29th November 2006



 
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Revised 1 December 2006