|Previous Section||Back to Table of Contents||Lords Hansard Home Page|
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Scottish Office (The Earl of Lindsay): The inquiry will be established under the Tribunals of Inquiry (Evidence) Act 1921. This procedure, which was followed in the case of the Aberfan inquiry, will enable evidence to be taken on oath, as Lord Cullen wishes, and will attract the provisions of the Contempt of Court Act 1981. My right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Scotland proposes that the inquiry's terms of reference should be:
"To inquire into the circumstances leading up to and surrounding the events at Dunblane Primary School on Wednesday 13th March 1996, which resulted in the deaths of 18 people; to consider the issues arising therefrom; to make such interim and final recommendations as may seem appropriate; and to report as soon as practicable."
It is important that adequate preparation time is allowed as this will enable the inquiry itself to be shorter and more focused. My right honourable friend anticipates that, after initial procedure, the inquiry will begin to take evidence in public in June with a view to reporting by about the end of September.
Meanwhile work will be carried forward within Government to review relevant aspects of firearms legislation, school security and the supervision of adults working with children so that we will be in a position to respond promptly to recommendations from the Inquiry.
Lord Lucas: The European Commission's document VI/3080/93 Rev 7 is the latest version of a European Commission proposal to introduce limits for nitrate in lettuce and spinach. Earlier versions of this proposal were considered unacceptable because the proposed limits were unachievable in the UK owing to our climate. However, the main provisions of the most recent draft are more realistic and achievable, with
The Council had before it three proposals relating to beef hormones, which together re-enacted the ban on growth promoting hormones and the import of meat treated with such hormones; introduced rules on the use of so-called beta-agonists; and strengthened controls on the illegal use of these substances. On behalf of the UK, my honourable friend the Minister of State argued against enacting these proposals in view of the imminent negotiations in the World Trade Organisation framework between the European Union on the one hand, and the United States and other complainants on the other. However all other member states were able to agree. He indicated our intention to vote against the measures when formally adopted for the reasons which he had stated in the Council.
The Agriculture Commissioner introduced a proposal to amend the Council regulation on the common organisation of the market in bananas, principally to increase the tariff quota to provide for the market requirements of the new member states of the EU, but also to introduce other changes. My honourable friend the Minister of State made clear the UK's willingness to remedy operational deficiencies in the present banana regime, but not to accept fundamental changes to the regime to the detriment of ACP banana producers. Work will now begin on this proposal at technical level.
The Presidency and Commission conducted bilateral meetings with member states on the proposals for reform of the common organisation of the market in fruit and vegetables and in products processed from fruit and vegetables. My honourable friend the Minister of State made clear the importance which the UK attaches to reform of these regimes. He stressed the need for measures to reduce dependence on intervention, to allow specialist producer groups to flourish, and to prevent market arrangements of an anti-competitive nature. The Presidency indicated that these proposals would be discussed further at the Council in April in the light of conclusions drawn from bilateral contacts.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Earl Howe): Work has commenced to trawl for suitably qualified volunteers from the Army Reserve and Territorial Army who are willing to be called out for service in former Yugoslavia, and also to identify those reservists currently called out who are prepared to extend their period of service.
Earl Howe: Seven officials of Recruitment and Assessment Services (RAS) have applied for transfer to other posts in the Civil Service since 1st January 1996. Their grades are: Three Administrative Officers; One Executive Officer; One Personal Secretary; One Senior Personal Secretary; and One Grade 7.