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Written Ministerial Statements

Wednesday 15 October 2008



The Economic Secretary to the Treasury (Ian Pearson): The ECOFIN Council met informally in Nice on 12 September, and again formally in Luxembourg on 7 October 2008. The Chancellor of the Exchequer attended both meetings for the UK. The following items were discussed:

Preparation of the European Council on 15-16 October

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Home Department

G6 and United States Counter-Terrorism Symposium

The Secretary of State for the Home Department (Jacqui Smith): The informal G6 group of Interior Ministers from France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Poland and the United Kingdom met in Bonn, Germany on 26 and 27 September 2008, along with the United States State Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security. This was the third G6 plus US counter-terrorism symposium meeting (previous meetings took place in Venice in May 2007 and Schwielowsee in November to December 2007). I attended on behalf of the United Kingdom.

The symposium was divided into four substantive discussion sessions:

The discussions underlined the importance of transatlantic co-operation on counter-terrorism. We reflected on developments in the field of international terrorism, continued our exchanges on the development of effective countermeasures and recognised that it was important to be able to respond effectively to new challenges.

The symposium emphasised that all state responses to the threat of terrorism must fully respect the international legal framework on the protection of human rights and the rule of law.

Conclusions on the topics above were agreed and then presented at a press conference at the end of the symposium.

It was agreed that the G6 plus US CT symposium was a useful forum which should continue to meet (dates for future meetings have not been confirmed).


Anti-Corruption Champion

The Secretary of State for Justice and Lord Chancellor (Mr. Jack Straw): Having been appointed as the Government’s Anti-Corruption Champion this week, I am writing to inform the House of progress made in our anti-corruption efforts.

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For two years, the Government have undertaken a concerted programme of action to co-ordinate and to improve our anti-corruption systems through annual anti-corruption action plans driven forward by my predecessors, my right hon. Friends the Members for Barrow and Furness (John Hutton) and for Leeds, Central (Hilary Benn). The role of Anti-Corruption Champion is a personal appointment by the Prime Minister and the secretariat and support functions remain within BERR.

Government investment in dedicated police resources has led to a dramatic increase in the number of investigations into allegations of foreign bribery by UK nationals and companies, up from four investigations in 2006 to over twenty live cases this year. Investigations are feeding through into prosecutions and convictions of wrongdoers.

We will make further significant progress in the next few months on the reform of the law on bribery. The Law Commission is expected to report in November on the full range of structural options. As announced in the draft legislative programme, we propose to publish a draft bill in the next session of Parliament, which will be informed by the Law Commission’s review.

This week the working group on bribery at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) will publish a report on the UK’s progress against its recommendations. We have written to the OECD about our plans to develop a comprehensive UK strategy for tackling foreign bribery. This strategy will build on the solid foundation we have established for combating foreign bribery and strengthen our work with international partners, establishing a clear legal, regulatory and policy framework.

A copy of our note to the OECD will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses.


Post-Gallagher Update

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport (Jim Fitzpatrick): My noble Friend the Minister of State for the Department for Transport, Lord Adonis, has made the following ministerial statement:

Copies of the consultation have been placed in the Library of the House and are available in the Vote Office and the Printed Paper Office.

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