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The Prime Minister: As First Secretary of State the Deputy Prime Minister continues to deputise for me as required, drawing on the resources of other parts of the Cabinet Office as necessary. He oversees the work of the Social Exclusion Unit, which reports to me through him. He is also responsible for the Regional Co-ordination Unit and the nine Government Offices for the Regions. I have also asked him to be responsible for a White Paper on Regional Governance, in close liaison with my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions and in co-operation with other Cabinet colleagues.
On international matters the Deputy Prime Minister supports me. He continues to play a role in international climate change discussions and negotiations on my behalf. More recently, I have also asked the Deputy Prime Minister to take on a similar role in preparation for the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) to be held in Johannesburg in September 2002. In addition he sees visiting dignitaries and undertakes overseas visits on my behalf; and oversees the work of the International Public Service Group. He also carries ministerial responsibility for the British-Irish Council and will deputise for me as necessary at meetings of the Council.
The Deputy Prime Minister chairs Cabinet Committees on domestic affairs and on the nations and regions; and Sub-Committees on social exclusion and regeneration and on energy policy. He also chairs the newly established Ministerial Group (MISC18) on WSSD and continues to chair the Committee on the environment.
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The Prime Minister: The relevant Ministers and officials meet stakeholders in the railway industry, including the RMT, as appropriate. All such contacts are conducted in accordance with the Ministerial Code and the Civil Service Code.
Mr. George Howarth: To ask the Prime Minister what criteria he uses to appoint (a) lords-lieutenant and (b) deputy lords-lieutenant; if he will list the names of deputy lords-lieutenant for each county; and what his estimate is of the average number of official engagements per week of (i) lords-lieutenant and (ii) deputy lords- lieutenant undertaken for each county. 
The Prime Minister: In England, consultations which help to inform the appointment area are carried out by the Prime Minister's Secretary for Appointments. In Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland consultations are carried out by the relevant Administration or Department. Those appointed as lords-lieutenant are people of standing in their local communities, most frequently on account of their record of voluntary activity for the good of the community.
Deputy lieutenants are appointed by the lord-lieutenant at his or her discretion, subject only to Her Majesty not disapproving of the grant of the commission. As of July 2001 there were approximately 2,720 deputy lieutenants
It is not possible to estimate the number of official engagements for each lord-lieutenant or deputy lieutenant, which will reflect such matters as the size and population of the county or area concerned, the demand for such engagements, and the views and judgment of the lords- lieutenant themselves.
The Prime Minister: Lords-lieutenant are appointed under current legislation by Her Majesty the Queen on the advice of the Prime Minister of the day. In the case of Scotland and Wales the Prime Minister is himself advised by the relevant First Minister and in Northern Ireland by the Secretary of State. Since 2 May 1997 31 lords- lieutenant have been appointed.
The Prime Minister: I am pleased to be able to announce that Dame Rennie Fritchie has been reappointed for a further term of three years when her current appointment comes to an end on 28 February. Dame Rennie has fulfilled her role as regulator of the public appointments system in a resolute and distinguished manner over the last three years. She has made a major
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The Prime Minister: I have asked the Performance and Innovation Unit (PIU) to carry out a joint study with the Department for Culture, Media and Sport examining long-term sports policy. The project team will consider the roles and responsibilities of Government, and the private and voluntary sectors in helping sport better achieve the objectives of increased grassroots participation in sport and elite sporting excellence. The project team will clarify the roles and responsibilities and interventions of Government to help sport better achieve its own objectives. They will develop an overall strategy for guiding Government's decisions on sports policy (including major events), and review the existing institutional and financial arrangements, in the context of Government's own wider objectives. The initial scoping note for the project is available on the PIU website http:///www.piu.gov.uk/2001/sport/scope.shtml. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport will be the Sponsor Minister for the project. The unit aims to complete its study by summer 2002.
Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what the total external spend by his Department was on Private Finance Initiative consultants in each of the last four years; how many full-time equivalent consultants were employed over this period; how many billed consultancy days there were per year; what the implied average cost of each PFI consultant was; how many consultancy firms were used by his Department over this period; and if he will make a statement. 
In the period from April 1998 to July 1999 the former Welsh Office spent some £770,000 on consultancies relating to the PFI aspect of the A55 road in North Wales; there were also two secondees into the Welsh Office during that period advising on PFI matters.
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Mr. Llwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what plans he has (a) to help promote the National Assembly for Wales, (b) to help improve communications between the National Assembly for Wales and Whitehall Departments and (c) to make the National Assembly for Wales work more effectively and efficiently; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Paul Murphy: I refer the hon. Gentleman to the Wales Office's Departmental Report (Cm 5121) in respect of parts (a) and (b) of his question; and to the Assembly's Performance Report in respect of part (c).
Mr. Paul Murphy: Until August 2000 the leave entitlement for Welsh Office or National Assembly for Wales staff (including those seconded to my Department) was a minimum of 22 days a year rising to a maximum of 30 days. Since August 2000 it has been a minimum of 25 days rising to the same maximum of 30 days.
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