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The Minister of State, Ministry of Defence (Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean): With effect from 1 June 2000, all new recruits, other than re-engagements, will have a statutory right to apply to leave the Naval Service during a six-month period from date of entry, subject to having completed four weeks' effective service. Recruits will be entitled to be discharged no later than 14 days from the date of submitting notice in writing to their Commanding Officer. Currently, recruits have a period of three to six months, depending on their age at entry, during which they may exercise their right to leave the Service.
Aditionally, discharge fees applicable to Royal Navy Ratings and Royal Marine Other Ranks aged 17- years or over on entry, who take up their right to leave within the six-month period, are to be discontinued from 1 June 2000.
The two changes in Terms of Service will harmonise the Naval Service's discharge regulations for new recruits and mean that all new recruits, irrespective of their age on entry, will have an equal right to leave the Service in future.
Whether the 94-page document, dealing with British intelligence operations in South Eastern Europe which George Blake is alleged to have handed over to the Russians in the early 1950s is now available for public scrutiny.[HL2013]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Scotland of Asthal) . May I repeat to the noble Lord a statement made in another place by my right honourable Friend the Foreign Secretary, on 12 February 1998, Official Report, col. 323.
"The records of the Secret Intelligence Service are not released: they are retained under section 3 (4) of the Public Records Act 1958. Having reviewed the arguments, I recognise that there is an overwelmingly strong reason for this policy. When individuals or
Looking to the future, however, this Government believe that a well drafted Charter of Rights could make a valuable contribution to Europe's human rights culture by consolidating in one place fundamental rights from the ECHR and the EU/EC Treaties and setting them out clearly for the benefit of citizens and administrators alike.
Baroness Scotland of Asthal: At the 11 April EC-Turkey Association Council the Portuguese Presidency, on behalf of member states, read out an agreed text on EU/Turkey relations. This stated that the proposed EU-Turkey Accession Partnership should set out priorities for action to enable Turkey to meet the EU's membership criteria as agreed at the 1993 Copenhagen European Council. These criteria include democracy, the rule of law, human rights and the protection of minorities.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions (Lord Whitty): Legislation on the fitting of adult seat belts, which are used to secure child restraints, applies to most vehicles. The design and testing approvals of such seat belts and child restraints, and their fixings, are to approved standards. Therefore the methods to secure infants and children in ambulances match those used in cars. The legislation on the wearing of seat belts and child restraints applies where seat belts are fitted.
Seat belts are required to be fitted in the front seats of ambulances, but not in the rear. If an ambulance has 9 to 16 passenger seats, however, it is classed as a minibus. In that case, when three or more children aged between 3 and 15 years inclusive are travelling on an organised trip, a forward facing seat with a seat belt must be provided for each child. Consultation is currently under way on proposals to require the fitment of seat belts in all rear seats (whether forward of rearward facing) of new minibuses that do not carry standing passengers.
In minibuses, if the unladen weight is 2,540 kgs or less, seat belts in the rear must be worn. If an appropriate child restraint is available, it must be used where relevant. However, the law does not require seat belts or child restraints to be worn in minibuses over 2,540 kgs, but we strongly recommend that where they are fitted they should be used.
Lord Whitty: Yes, the current arrangements for advice on suitability to drive are satisfactory. The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency produces a booklet for medical practitioners entitled At a glance guide to current medical standards of fitness to drive. It is based on guidance from the Secretary of State's six Honorary Medical Advisory Panels. The guide is updated at least twice a year and it is available on the Internet. This guide includes material last published by the Medical Commission on Accident Prevention in 1995 and more recently updated by the panels.
Lord Whitty: The Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions (DETR) will continue to take advice on medical fitness to drive from the six Honorary Medical Advisory Panels, which are made up of eminent professionals in their field.
Lord Whitty: The regulations to introduce the new blue parking badge for disabled people came into effect on 1 April 2000 in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland. The blue badge will be introduced in Wales later this year.
In England, Scotland and Northern Ireland, the new blue badges are being phased in from 1 April over a three-year period as existing Orange Badges come up for renewal or applications are processed. Existing Orange Badges will therefore continue to be recognised in the usual way until 31 March 2003.
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