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Horserace Betting Levy Board

Mr. Paice: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if it is his policy that the Horserace Betting Levy Board will not be abolished until alternative funding arrangements are agreed by both the racing industry and the betting industry. [160673]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: Our stated intention is to abolish the statutory levy on horserace betting, on the basis that commercial agreements between horseracing and other industries, including bookmaking, are capable of producing sufficient income for racing to flourish as a national sport without the need for such a levy. We would expect to see discussions on future funding arrangements make progress, but introduction of the necessary legislation is not conditional on the conclusion of commercial agreements.

Mr. Paice: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what representations he has received regarding threats to deprive horserace tracks of payments made from Horserace Betting Levy Board money if such tracks sign media rights agreements not agreed by the British Horseracing Board. [160675]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: I am told we have received no representations on this matter.

Mr. Paice: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if payments to horserace tracks from Horserace Betting Levy Board money can be withdrawn other than by breach of the conditions of these payments. [160674]

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Mr. Mike O'Brien: The allocation of funds from the levy is a matter for the Horserace Betting Levy Board. However, I understand that the board has not given any consideration to withdrawing payments that have already been agreed.


Mr. Colman: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (a) when Tibetans were first classed as Chinese nationals for asylum purposes in the UK, (b) by which Government Department the decision was taken and (c) if Tibetans are classified as Chinese nationals by other EU member states; and if he will make a statement. [160504]

Mrs. Roche: The 1951 Refugee Convention requires that, unless stateless, a person's claim to refugee status be assessed in relation to the country of which they are a national. The United Kingdom does not recognise China's claims of sovereignty over Tibet, but recognises that Tibet is not independent, and Tibetans hold Chinese nationality. This has been the position argued by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office since the 1951 annexation of Tibet by China. Further, an individual may claim asylum on the basis of persecution by the Chinese authorities because of their Tibetan ethnicity, but at the time and place of their claimed persecution they are held to be Chinese nationals.

Therefore, the classification of Tibetan in the context of nationality is independent of the consideration of individual asylum claims. This has been the approach adopted in all available United Kingdom asylum statistics. No other European member state classes Tibetans as a separate nationality for asylum purposes.

Police Complaints System

Mr. Hope: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps he will take to ensure that the development of a new police complaints system takes account of the lessons to be learned from Operation Lancet. [160870]

Mr. Straw: We published the Government's proposed framework for a new police complaints system in December 2000. In developing the new arrangements we

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want to ensure that they are able to deal effectively and robustly with all cases including those where the investigation may be complex and wide-ranging. I have therefore asked Sir John Hoddinott, former Chief Constable of Hampshire, to carry out a review with the following terms of reference.

The review will consider the issues arising from the conduct and management of the investigation and will not re-consider any of the matters of substance which were the subject of the investigation. The review will not consider issues relating to the substance of allegations of misconduct about individuals or any such new allegations.

Sir John Hoddinott will begin work this month.

Police Complaints Authority

Mr. Hope: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what appointments to the Police Complaints Authority have been made since 1 March. [160871]

Mr. Charles Clarke: I have recently appointed Mr. Ian Bynoe to the second position of Deputy Chairman of the authority. His appointment is for two years with effect from 1 May 2001.

Ian Bynoe has served as a member of the authority since 1998, both reviewing investigations and disciplinary proceedings and supervising investigations. He comes from a legal background and, prior to joining the authority, he was a self-employed policy researcher and legal trainer.

Also, I have appointed five new full-time members to the Police Complaints Authority. Their appointments will be for three years. The five new members are:

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NameStart DatePrevious Position
David Petch5 March 2001 Ministry of Defence, with attachments to Northern Ireland Office and Cabinet Office
Diane Hughes2 April 2001Senior Lecturer in law at Manchester University
Deborah Glass2 April 2001Chief Executive of the Investment Management Regulatory Organisation
Susan Swindell2 April 2001Senior Crown Prosecutor
Lionel Pilkington2 April 2001Senior Crown Prosecutor

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Child Protection

Mr. Hepburn: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the aims and objectives are of the new task force on child protection on the internet; and if he will make a statement. [160688]

Mr. Straw: I met representatives from the industry involved in providing internet services in the United Kingdom, children's charities, law enforcement agencies

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and others on 28 March 2001, where it was agreed to form a Task Force on Child Protection on the Internet.

The task force is a partnership of representatives from: internet service providers (ISP); retailers and manufacturers; children's charities; representatives from the main opposition parties; law enforcement agencies; and academics. It has the following aims and objectives:

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The work will be underpinned by a new public awareness campaign later this year and by Government and industry leadership in international initiatives in the European Union and more widely.

I have today placed a copy of the full aims and objectives and list of organisations represented on the task force in the Library.



Mr. David Atkinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will apply greater pressure on the authorities in Khartoum to improve their human rights record. [160243]

Mr. Wilson: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Vale of York (Miss McIntosh) on 23 April 2001, Official Report, column 126W.

Mr. David Atkinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports he has received of the arrest of Christians in Khartoum on 10 April and their treatment by riot police; and if he will make a statement. [160145]

Mr. Wilson: We received a number of reports of the events on 10 April from our Embassy in Khartoum and Church organisations both within and outside Sudan. Our Ambassador in Khartoum has expressed our concerns to the Government of Sudan. We shall follow the Government's actions on the events in Green Square and at the Episcopal Cathedral, and on freedom of religious expression in general.

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