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Driving Licence Penalty Points

Viscount Simon asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Whitty: The Convention on Driving Disqualifications (Council Act of 17 June 1998) does not extend to the mutual recognition of penalty points and there are no current moves towards such recognition. Not all European Union member states have penalty points systems, and among those systems which exist there is considerable variation in how they operate, what offences they cover, and how they affect the licence holder.

Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990: Review of Consent Provisions

Baroness Gould of Potternewton asked Her Majesty's Government:

3 Dec 1998 : Column WA51

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Baroness Hayman): We are pleased to announce that the report of the Review of the common law provisions relating to the removal of human gametes (sperm or eggs) and of the consent provisions in the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990 has been published today. Copies have been placed in the Library. The review, announced in February 1997, was conducted by Sheila McLean, Professor of Law and Ethics in Medicine at the University of Glasgow, and followed the Court of Appeal judgment in the case of R v. Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority ex parte Diane Blood.

In September 1997 Professor McLean conducted a public consultation on the issues raised in the course of her review. Over 600 copies of her discussion document were issued, with 116 responses being received.

We welcome Professor McLean's report, which, following a thorough and comprehensive review of the complex issues involved, has delivered sensible and well argued recommendations. These include:


    in terms of the common law provisions relating to the removal of human gametes the report recommends that the current requirement for formal consent following adequate disclosure of information, should remain;


    the courts should be asked to determine whether the removal of gametes is lawful where there is any doubt about such removal in cases where consent cannot be given in the usual way;


    the requirement in the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990 for consent to certain treatment provided under the Act (such as in-vitro fertilisation and donor insemination) to be given in writing should remain, and be extended to all treatment provided under the Act; and


    that the 1990 Act should be amended to remove from the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority any discretion to permit the export of human gametes that have been removed unlawfully;


    recommendations about the status of children born after the death of the gamete provider and the need for gamete providers to take account of succession rights of such children when storing gametes.

Following Mrs. Blood's case, there was considerable public and parliamentary interest in such issues and in particular as to whether the existing provisions in the common law and the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990 reflected clinical and lay opinion. We have decided, therefore, to seek public and professional views on the recommendations. These will be requested by the end of April, when we will consider the best way of taking the recommendations forward.

We are very grateful to Professor Sheila McLean for having produced such a carefully considered report.

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Mental Health Act 1983: Revised Code of Practice

Baroness Gould of Potternewton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will lay a revised version of the Code of Practice on the Mental Health Act 1983 before the House.[HL 189]

Baroness Hayman: We have today laid copies of a revised version of the Code of Practice on the Mental Health Act 1983 before the House, in accordance with Section 118(4) of the Act. Copies are available in the Library.

Human Reproductive Cloning

Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether the ethical implications of cloning human tissue by injecting human DNA into the egg cells of cows are being examined in the United Kingdom; and, if so, by whom.[HL9]

Baroness Hayman: Research or treatment involving human reproductive cloning is not permitted in the United Kingdom. Mixing human gametes (sperm or eggs) with the gametes of any animal is strictly controlled by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990.

The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990 provides:


    that no person shall mix human gametes with the live gametes of any animal without a licence (S4)


    that no person shall place any live gametes other than human gametes in any woman or place a human embryo in any animal (S3)


    no person shall alter the genetic structure of any cell while it forms part of a human embryo (Sch 2)

Research involving the cloning of human DNA is not new. In their joint Consultation Document on Cloning Issues in Reproduction, Science and Medicine, the Human Genetics Advisory Commission and the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority pointed out that "there are some routine techniques long practised by the scientific and medical communities... [including]...generating multiple identical copies of genes or gene fragments...(DNA and RNA)".

Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What international instruments or other justiciable texts, if any, preclude the cloning of human beings; and, if none, what steps are being considered to establish one.[HL10]

Baroness Hayman: The Protocol to the Council of Europe Convention on Human Rights and Biomedicine and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation Universal Declaration on the human genome and human rights both preclude the cloning of human beings. The United Kingdom has played an active role in developing both the Protocol

3 Dec 1998 : Column WA53

and the Declaration, and support the principles that they both enshrine.

In the United Kingdom, we regard the deliberate cloning of human individuals as ethically unacceptable and such cloning is effectively banned under the terms of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990. The 1990 Act expressly prohibits nuclear replacement of a cell of an embryo. Other forms of cloning cannot take place because the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority has made it clear that it will not licence any treatment involving such techniques or any research to develop cloning for human reproductive purposes.

Road Traffic Accidents: Insurance Payments for Treatment Costs

Lord Clement-Jones asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What amounts of money have been collected by hospital trusts from insurance companies in respect of road traffic accidents under the Road Traffic Act since new guidelines were issued in December 1997.[HL57]

Baroness Hayman: Figures for part years are not available. Audited figures for 1997-98 show that trusts in England collected £16.64 million under the terms of Sections 157 and 158 of the Road Traffic Act 1988. This compares to £13.863 million in 1996-97.

Personal Social Services: Capital Allocations

Baroness Pitkeathley asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What capital resources they are making available to local authorities for the personal social services in 1999-2000, 2000-01 and 2001-02.[HL172]

Baroness Hayman: Capital resources of £61.9 million will be made available to local authorities as follows:

£ million

1999-002000-012001-02
Secure accommodation grant 6.26.26.2
Basic credit approvals37.037.037.0
Supplementary credit approvals:
Mental Health15.615.615.6
AIDS/HIV3.13.13.1

The figures shown for 2000-01 and 2001-02 are provisional amounts at this stage.


Old Palace Yard: Granite Setts

Lord Cocks of Hartcliffe asked the Chairman of Committees:

    Whether he will give an undertaking that the granite used in the refurbishment of Old Palace Yard will be British.[HL138]

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The Chairman of Committees (Lord Boston of Faversham): No. Provenance cannot be taken into account in choosing the granite to be used: the appearance of the granite and value for money must be considered. I can, however, give an assurance that British granites will be examined by the designers. I shall share in the noble Lord's happiness if a British granite is used.

Iraq: Enforcement of Sanctions

The Earl of Carlisle asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What steps they have taken, are taking and will take, to enforce the sanctions regime on Iraq; and[HL47]

    What range of measures they are taking further to reduce breaches of the United Nations embargo on trade with Iraq.[HL48]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean): Since August, we have participated in a series of occasional intensified maritime operations into Iraqi waters. These operations have significantly reduced the volume of illegal oil transiting the Gulf. Trade in smuggling oil is the most lucrative source of illegal income for the Iraqi regime.

We have made formal representations to Iraq's immediate neighbours to encourage tighter enforcement of the UN embargo, most recently with other members of the EU Troika, on behalf of the EU.

We have sent messages to other regional governments, EU partners and Security Council members stressing the importance of sanctions enforcement in keeping the pressure on Iraq to comply with its obligations under the UN resolutions.

We continue to raise individual cases of suspected breaches of the embargo with foreign governments. We also investigate allegations of sanctions breaking activities by UK companies.


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