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Proportional Voting

Baroness David asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Williams of Mostyn): Legislation will be brought forward this session to enable the 1999 European elections to be conducted by a regional list electoral system.

Welsh Assembly Referendum

Lord Merlyn-Rees asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Williams of Mostyn: Subject to the approval of a Motion in another place, to disagree with the amendment on dates of referendums inserted into the Referendums (Scotland and Wales) Bill in this House, the agreement of this House and subject to Royal Assent, the referendum in Wales will be held on 18 September 1997.

17 Jul 1997 : Column WA131

Isle of Man: Prison Conditions

Lord Lester of Herne Hill asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will establish an independent inquiry into prison conditions on the Isle of Man to consider questions relating to international human rights law and best practice.

Lord Williams of Mostyn: The committee of inquiry set up in January 1996 to consider the circumstances relating to the death of two inmates has made a number of recommendations for changes in the staffing and organisation of the Isle of Man prison. The Isle of Man Government do not consider that a further inquiry is needed at this stage.

Isle of Man Prison Suicides: Inquiry Report

Lord Lester of Herne Hill asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether the inquiry into the suicide of two inmates of the Isle of Man Prison has been completed; and, if so, whether the Government will publish the report of the inquiry.

Lord Williams of Mostyn: I understand that the inquiry has been completed and that the Isle of Man Government announced on 14 July that the segregation unit in the Isle of Man prison would be closed later this month. At the same time they published a summary of the report's recommendations. Any decision about publication of the full report would be for the Isle of Man Government.

Isle of Man: Detention of Child Offenders

Lord Lester of Herne Hill asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Answers given by Lord Williams of Mostyn on 18 June 1997 (WA 117), whether (a) the secure juvenile unit for the detention of child offenders in the Isle of Man is an annex to the main prison, designed also to house adult offenders and (b) they consider it satisfactory that child prisoners are being detained in the Isle of Man in close proximity to an adult prison.

Lord Williams of Mostyn: The provision of prison accommodation in the Isle of Man is a matter for the Manx authorities. I understand that the secure juvenile unit is on the same site as the Isle of Man prison but is a separate institution. As there is no communication between the two institutions, the Manx authorities consider that there is no objection to young detainees being placed in the secure unit.

17 Jul 1997 : Column WA132

Lord Lester of Herne Hill asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Answers given by Lord Williams of Mostyn on 18 June 1997 (WA 117), whether international responsibility for compliance with the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child in the provision of prison accommodation in the Isle of Man rests with the United Kingdom.

Lord Williams of Mostyn: Her Majesty's Government are responsible for the Isle of Man's compliance with international obligations under international conventions into which the United Kingdom has entered on its behalf, including the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Lord Lester of Herne Hill asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Answers given by the Lord Williams of Mostyn on 18 June 1997 (WA 117), whether they consider the fact that, in the Isle of Man, a child over the age of 10 can be remanded in custody or sentenced to a term of custody, is compatible with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child as interpreted by the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child.

Lord Williams of Mostyn: Her Majesty's Government do not consider that the law of the Isle of Man, which provides that a child or young person may not be detained in custody unless the court is of the opinion that the circumstances are so exceptional that it would be inappropriate to deal with him by any other method, contravenes the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Isle of Man: Age of Criminal Responsibility

Lord Lester of Herne Hill asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will give urgent consideration to raising the age of criminal responsibility in the Isle of Man in accordance with the recommendation of the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child in January 1995.

Lord Williams of Mostyn: This is a matter for the Isle of Man Government. I understand that they have no present plans to review the age of criminal responsibility, which is the same in the Isle of Man as in England and Wales.

Lord Lester of Herne Hill asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether the age of criminal responsibility in the Isle of Man is lower than elsewhere in the United Kingdom and its islands.

Lord Williams of Mostyn: The age of criminal responsibility in the Isle of Man is 10. This is the same as in England and Wales, and in the Bailiwicks of Guernsey and Jersey.

17 Jul 1997 : Column WA133

Extensions to Stay in the UK: Applications

The Earl of Haddington asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether there has been an increase in the number of applications for extensions to stay in the United Kingdom being declared invalid, and an increase in the number of such applications being refused without the right of appeal, following the introduction in November 1996 by the Immigration and Nationality Directorate of compulsory application forms for extensions of stay in the United Kingdom.

Lord Williams of Mostyn: Following the reintroduction of compulsory application forms, the initial number of applications declared invalid was approximately 50 per cent. Since that time it has fallen to approximately 35 per cent. No separate figures are available for the number of applications that are initially invalid, but are subsequently resubmitted, accepted as valid and later refused without the right of appeal.

In-country Asylum Applications

Lord Mackay of Ardbrecknish asked Her Majesty's Government:

    In relation to each month so far in 1997, how many people applied for asylum (a) in-country, (b) at point of entry and (c) in total; and what were the corresponding figures for each month in 1996 and 1995.

Lord Williams of Mostyn: The information requested is given in the table and takes into account recent revisions to the number of in-country asylum applications lodged between September 1996 and May 1997.

17 Jul 1997 : Column WA134

Applications(1) received for asylum in the United Kingdom, excluding dependants, by location of application, January 1995 to June 1997

Asylum applications
Applied at portApplied in-countryTotal
1995
January1,0452,5253,570
February8752,1503,030
March1,0252,2853,310
April9601,8502,810
May9902,4603,450
June1,0902,5403,630
July9802,4353,415
August1,0852,8053,890
September1,3602,6604,020
October1,5053,0904,595
November1,8502,8604,715
December1,6401,8953,540
Total 199514,41029,55543,965
1996
January1,0702,2403,310
February9751,8802,850
March9852,1603,145
April7601,3102,070
May7401,0101,755
June8059251,730
July8351,6802,515
August9051,2302,140
September1,205980(R)2,185
October1,2701,540(R)2,810
November1,1801,270(R)2,450
December1,710975(R)2,685
Total 199612,44017,205(R)29,640
1997
January1,2101,505(R)2,715
February1,1351,340(R)2,475
March1,210950(R)2,160
April1,3851,280(R)2,665
May1,3651,230(R)2,590
June1,2851,3002,585
Total 1997 (to date)6,3106,300(R)12,605

(R) = Revised.

(1) Provisional figures rounded to the nearest 5.




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