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Earl Attlee asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: Figures are available for the last five years and are shown in the table below. As from 1 April 1997 districts were no longer responsible for arranging courts-martial, and under the Armed Forces Act 1996, the Court-Martial Administration office accepted responsibility for arranging all courts-martial. In June 1998 five new assizes centres were formed within the UK, and three in Germany in August 1998.


Earl Attlee asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: Over the period 1995 to 9 November 1999, 235 soldiers have been found other than guilty at courts-martial. The annual breakdown is outlined in the table below.


Earl Attlee asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: Over the last six years there have been no records kept that show how many soldiers elect trial by court-martial. Once a soldier elects trial rather than summary dealing, the papers go direct to the Army Prosecuting Authority (APA) with no recorded differentiation between a soldier who elects and one who is forwarded for court-martial by a commanding officer. The APA currently estimate, however, that 5 per cent of all cases are from soldiers who have elected trial by courts-martial. In 1998, the total number of individuals tried by court-martial was 468, and based on an estimate of 5 per cent

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this would mean that approximately 23 were as a result of election. Work is in hand to ensure that records will be kept in future to reflect the requirement to monitor developments once the Armed Forces Discipline Bill passes into law.


Earl Attlee asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What use is made of the UNICOM computer system in administering summary jurisdiction.[HL407]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: Following the summary dealing process, the charge sheet and trial results are entered on a computer generated conduct sheet. The summary dealing results are forwarded via the UNICOM link to the Army Personnel Centre where the results are acted upon to implement a fine, stoppage of pay, or detention. All company level entries remain on the unit level UNICOM until they are spent. Regimental level entries are entered on a mainframe computer at Worthy Down which records a soldier's pay and record of service.

Earl Attlee asked Her Majesty's Government:

    When development of the army's current UNICOM computer system was first started; and what has been the cost of the system to date.[HL408]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: Following successful feasibility studies and trials, the development of the Army's current UNICOM computer system began in March 1994. The cost of the system in terms of introduction, support and maintenance, to date, is £107 million.

UNICOM is a computerised Information System providing administrative support to the Army. For example, the pay of everyone in the Army is calculated on the basis of data fed into UNICOM. It has around 20,000 users and has been deployed to over 500 sites worldwide.

Army Marriage Break-up Statistics

Lord Swinfen asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What is the incidence of marriage break-up in the Army compared to the rest of the population.[HL246]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: The Army does not hold centrally figures on the incidence of marriage break-up. Various changes in marital status are recorded on an individual's personal file to reflect separation, the status of dependent children, and the stages of divorce. To compare this information with statistical data on the wider population would require analysis of individual files and against an agreed definition of marital break-up. This could only be achieved at disproportionate cost.

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Coalition Government

Lord Lamont of Lerwick asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether the Deputy Prime Minister was informed in advance, or if not when, about the meeting on 21 October 1997 at which the Prime Minister and Mr Paddy Ashdown are alleged to have discussed among other matters the possibility of a coalition Government; and[HL154]

    Whether Mr Peter Mandelson was present at the meeting on 21 October 1997 at which the Prime Minister and Mr Paddy Ashdown are alleged to have discussed among other matters the possibility of a coalition Government.[HL153]

The Minister of State, Cabinet Office (Lord Falconer of Thoroton): As with previous governments, it is not the practice of the current Government to provide details of private meetings.

Referendums: Foreign Donations

Lord Shore of Stepney asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What articles in the European Treaties and what regulations, directives or decisions made with the authority of those Treaties, and what judgments made by the European Court of Justice require the United Kingdom to permit companies in the European Union, not incorporated in the United Kingdom, to donate funds in support of one or other side in a United Kingdom referendum campaign; and what they will do to mitigate or limit the effects of such foreign donations on domestic electoral affairs.[HL415]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Bassam of Brighton): Article 43 of the Treaty establishing the European Community (TEC) prohibits restrictions on the freedom of establishment of nationals of a member state in the territory of another member state. This right of establishment includes the right to choose the appropriate legal form of establishment. The European Court of Justice has held (in European Community Commission v France case 270/83) that any recourse by a national authority to the concept of public policy, under Article 46 of the TEC, in order to justify legislation departing from the principles of free movement would have to presuppose the existence of a genuine and sufficiently serious threat to the requirements of public policy affecting one of the fundamental interests of the society in question. The Government do not believe that donations by a business to political parties or to other organisations campaigning in a referendum fall into this category.

Under the provisions of the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Bill, incorporation in the European Union will not be sufficient on its own to bring a company within the list of permissible donors. In order to qualify as a permissible donor a company

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so incorporated must also carry on business in the United Kingdom. Such a company may be directly affected by the outcome of a referendum in this country and accordingly has a legitimate role to play in the conduct of the referendum.

Metropolitan Police: Chief Inspector of Constabulary's Report

Lord Dubs asked Her Majesty's Government:

    When they expect to publish Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Constabulary's Report on the recent inspection of the Metropolitan Police Service, which the Home Secretary directed as a result of Recommendation 4 of the Macpherson Inquiry.[HL504]

Lord Bassam of Brighton: My right honourable friend the Home Secretary has today published the Inspection Report and copies have been placed in the Library.

Delegated Legislation and Human Rights

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

    What are the practices and procedures for the scrutiny of proposed delegated legislation by government departments to secure compatibility with the obligations imposed upon the United Kingdom by the international human rights covenants and conventions to which the United Kingdom is party.[HL343]

Lord Bassam of Brighton: Each department is responsible for ensuring that any secondary legislation which it puts forward takes proper account of the relevant international obligations accepted by the United Kingdom.

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

    Whether they will introduce a procedure to ensure that, where secondary legislation amends primary legislation and is not subject to affirmative resolution, written statements made by Ministers as to whether they consider the secondary legislation to be compatible with the convention rights are published in a form which enables Members of each House of Parliament to be aware of Ministers' views when such legislation is laid before each House.[HL344]

Lord Bassam of Brighton: The Government have decided that, from the beginning of the current session, a Minister inviting Parliament to approve a draft statutory instrument or statutory instrument subject to affirmative resolution should always volunteer his or her view regarding its compatibility with the convention rights. The Minister's view should also always be given regarding the incompatibility of any secondary legislation to the extent that it amends

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primary legislation; and that statement should be made in writing where the secondary legislation which amends primary legislation is not subject to affirmative resolution. It is the intention of the policy that these written statements should be publicly available. Their precise form is a matter for the Minister concerned. What will be appropriate depends on the particular circumstances. However, we have suggested to departments that one option would be a letter to the Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments.

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