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19 May 1999 : Column WA31

Written Answers

Wednesday, 19th May 1999.

Treaty of Amsterdam: Entry into Force

Lord Davies of Coity asked Her Majesty's Government:

    When they expect the Treaty of Amsterdam to come into force.[HL2521]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean): An administrative error led to a mistake in my Answer of 28 April 1999 (WA 35). The correct answer follows.

The process of ratification of the Treaty of Amsterdam was completed on 30 March, when France deposited its instruments of ratification with the Italian Government.

The Treaty entered into force on 1 May 1999 in accordance with Article 14(2) of the Treaty of Amsterdam.

General Pinochet

Lord Lamont of Lerwick asked the Leader of the House:

    Further to her intervention in a question from Lord Lamont of Lerwick on 21 April (H.L. Deb., cols. 1161-4) concerning the application of the sub judice rule to the case of General Pinochet, whether she will reconsider her statement that the Home Secretary's decision on authority to proceed with extradition proceedings was sub judice at that time.[HL2499]

The Lord Privy Seal (Baroness Jay of Paddington): The Home Secretary's decision on authority to proceed with extradition proceedings was not, on the date of the exchange to which the noble Lord refers, sub judice. The guidance I gave to the House was that the case of Senator Pinochet itself remained sub judice but that it was in order for Members to raise "matters relating to Senator Pinochet not affecting the issues to be determined by the courts, including the Home Secretary's role in the proceedings."

Lord Lamont of Lerwick asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether the reply by Lord Burlison on 4 May (WA 72-73) to Written Question HL2135 tabled by Lord Lamont of Lerwick means that the Secretary of State is entitled to consider whether there is evidence sufficient to warrant the trial of Senator Pinochet in making any future decisions on this matter.[HL2426]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Williams of Mostyn): There is no restriction on the matters that Senator Pinochet can include in any representations that he may wish to make to the Secretary of State following a committal by the Bow Street Magistrate. It is a matter for the Senator whether he wishes to advance any representations at that

19 May 1999 : Column WA32

time relating to whether there is evidence sufficient to warrant his trial. The Secretary of State is under a statutory duty to consider any such representations.

Lord Lamont of Lerwick asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether the Archbishop of Canterbury has made any formal or informal verbal or written representations, either to the Prime Minister or to any other government Minister, at any time about the effects of the detention of Senator Pinochet in this country on the prospects for reconciliation in Chile.[HL2427]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: We are not aware of any representations made by the Archbishop of Canterbury to the Prime Minister or to any other government Minister about the effects of the detention of Senator Pinochet in this country on the prospects for reconciliation in Chile.

Lord Lamont of Lerwick asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether the United States Government has made any representations to them at any level and at any time about the arrest of Senator Pinochet in the United Kingdom.[HL2428]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: The US Secretary of State discussed the implications of Senator Pinochet's arrest with my right honourable friend the Foreign Secretary (Mr. Cook) on 21 November and 8 December 1998. We are not aware of any representations from the United States Government about the arrest of Senator Pinochet in the United Kingdom.

Immigration and Nationality Department: Casework System

Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty's Government:

    On what dates, since 25 March 1999, the Home Office gave press briefings on the progress of the private finance initiative partnership with Siemens Business Services on the Immigration and Nationality Department's casework system; whether the full computer system is still to be made available for testing in June 1999 and, if so, on what date; whether they can now give a more precise date than "early 2000" for the system to be in full operation; and whether they will give the latest available figures to correspond with those given by the Lord Williams of Mostyn in the Official Report on 25 March (H.L. Deb., col. 1418).[HL2418]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: The Home Office Press Office is in daily close contact with staff in the Croydon Immigration and Nationality Directorate (IND) offices and provides regular briefing assistance to the media as well as specific factual responses. The number of such occasions is not recorded. In addition, Ministers have undertaken upon request on-the-record briefings and interviews for home and overseas newspapers and broadcast media which have focused either exclusively or in part upon the situation in the IND offices. We

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expect within the next few weeks to be able to provide more accurate estimates of caseworking outputs.

Testing of the new computer system is expected to begin on 14 June. Implementation of the system will not begin until it has been thoroughly tested by IND and will be planned so as to minimise any further disruption to IND's business. It is therefore not possible to be any more specific about when implementation will be complete.

As of 13 May, a total of 143,735 cases were waiting to be determined in the Integrated Casework Directorate and special units dedicated to clearing the oldest asylum cases. Of these cases, 76,132 were asylum applications, nearly 10,000 of which were in the Case Allocation Unit.

Immigration Act Detainees

Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many Immigration Act detainees were held in each of the prisons or detention centres in use for this purpose on 28 February, 31 March and 30 April respectively.[HL2419]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: The information requested for 28 February and 31 March 1999 is given in the tables. I regret that comprehensive information is not yet available for 30 April 1999.

Persons recorded as being in detention(1) in the United Kingdom solely under Immigration Act powers as at 28 February 1999, by place of detention

LocationTotal Detainees
Immigration detention centres
Campsfield181
Dover Harbour14
Harmondsworth90
Heathrow's Queen's Building15
Manchester Airport14
Tinsley House148
Prison establishments
Aberdeen4
Bedford2
Belmarsh15
Blakenhurst3
Bristol2
Brixton8
Brockhill2
Bullingdon3
Canterbury7
Cardiff2
Doncaster3
Dorchester2
Edinburgh2
Haslar128
High Down30
Holloway20
Holme House2
Leeds2
Liverpool4
Longport3
Longriggend16
Magilligan4
Manchester9
Norwich3
Pentonville5
Perth2
Rochester187
Swansea2
Wandsworth5
Woodhill2
Wormwood Scrubs13
Other prison establishments10
Total964

(1)Excluding persons detained in police cells (other than at Dover).


19 May 1999 : Column WA34

Persons recorded as being in detention(2) in the United Kingdom solely under Immigration Act powers as at 31 March 1999, by place of detention

LocationTotal Detainees
Immigration detention centres
Campsfield178
Dover Harbour10
Harmondsworth90
Heathrow's Queen's Building15
Manchester Airport12
Tinsley House145
Prison establishments
Aberdeen4
Bedford2
Belmarsh11
Birmingham3
Bristol2
Brixton9
Brockhill2
Bullingdon3
Canterbury5
Chelmsford2
Edinburgh4
Elmley3
Felixstowe8
Haslar139
High Down34
Highpoint5
Holloway21
Holme House2
Lancaster Farms2
Liverpool2
Longriggend13
Magilligan3
Manchester7
Norwich2
Pentonville 6
Rochester189
Styal2
Wandsworth4
Winchester2
Woodhill2
Wormwood Scrubs14
Other prison establishments11
Total968

(2)Excluding persons detained in police cells (other than at Dover).


Highpoint Prison

Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What was the publication date of the last annual report of the Board of Visitors of HM Prison Highpoint; on what date the Board of Visitors first recommended that internal sanitation should be provided in the female segregation unit; and when it is planned to carry out this work.[HL2420]

19 May 1999 : Column WA35

Lord Williams of Mostyn: The Highpoint Board of Visitors' last annual report was widely distributed in April 1999. The board first recommended that integral sanitation be installed in the female segregation unit in its previous annual report covering the period December 1996 to September 1997.

Although money was made available in April 1998, and equipment purchased, the prison was not able to proceed with the work at that time because of a lack of plumbing staff.

Work to provide integral sanitation in the segregation unit began in the first week of May this year. It is estimated that it will take 10 weeks to complete.


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