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18 Jul 2000 : Column WA73

Written Answers

Tuesday, 18th July 2000.

Strategic Export Controls: Report

Baroness Gould of Potternewton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    When their response to the Defence, Foreign Affairs, International Development and Trade and Industry Committees' Report (HC 225) on the 1997 and 1998 Annual Reports on Strategic Export Controls will be published.[HL3369]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Scotland of Asthal): The Government published the response to the Committees' Report (HC 225) on Friday 14 July. It was published as a Command Paper at 12 pm and copies are available in the Vote Office and in the Printed Paper Office in the House of Lords.

Sierra Leone: Arms Supply

Lord Burnham asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will reconcile the figures for arms exports to Sierra Leone given in the Written Answer by Baroness Ramsay of Cartvale to Lord Roberts of Conwy (WA 91) with those given in the Written Answer by Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean to Lord Hoyle (WA 99), both on 29 June.[HL3256]

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: The Written Answer given by Baroness Ramsay of Cartvale gave details of the equipment provided to the Sierra Leone army; and said the provision of further equipment was being considered. The Written Answer by Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean gave details of this further equipment.

The coincidence of the two Written Answers was because of internal delays in processing the Answer given by Baroness Ramsay of Cartvale.

Lord Burnham asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How they reconcile the Written Answer by Baroness Ramsey of Cartvale (WA 91) on the shipment of arms supplies to Sierra Leone stating that "the details were passed to the United Nations Sanctions Committee" with the Written Answer by Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean (WA 99) on the same subject which stated that "the shipment will be notified to the United Nations Sanctions Committee", both on 29 June.[HL3272]

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: In accordance with United Nations Security Council Resolution 1171 (1998), we notified the United Nations Sanctions Committee at the time of the export of the equipment listed in the Written Answer by Baroness Ramsey of Cartvale.

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The export from the UK of the equipment described in the Written Answer by Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean has now been notified to the United Nations Sanctions Committee, following formal agreement for the shipment from the ECOWAS Secretariat.

Chemical Weapons Convention: Compliance

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many states owning chemical weapons have complied with their obligations under the Chemical Weapons Convention (1993); how many have not; and whether they think that Russia will be able to meet its next deadline of 29 April 2002; with or without assistance.[HL3287]

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: All four declared possessor states are currently compliant with their obligations under the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC). Russia faces a challenging target for the next destruction deadline in April 2002. It would be premature at the present time to speculate on its prospects of meeting it.

Verulamium: Ploughing

Lord McNally asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What steps they are taking to ensure that the archaeological remains of the Roman City of Verulamium at St Albans are not damaged by ploughing and other activity likely to cause permanent harm to this site of national importance.[HL3271]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: The site is protected as a Scheduled Ancient Monument. Following a programme of archaeological evaluation and geophysical survey funded by English Heritage, discussions about the long-term management are now taking place between English Heritage and the site's owners. In the meantime, the depth of ploughing will be limited to ensure that the archaeological deposits are safeguarded.

EU Culture and Audiovisual Ministers' Meeting, 20-21 July

Baroness Anelay of St Johns asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Which Ministers will represent the United Kingdom at the meeting of European Union Culture Ministers in Lille, 20 to 21 July; and what issues are on the agenda for discussion.[HL3326]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: Mr Alan Howarth, Parliamentary Under-Secretary at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, will represent the United Kingdom at the the informal meeting of European Culture and Audiovisual Ministers in Lille. Ministers

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will discuss negotiations on the Media Plus programme; the future of public service television in the European Union; and the economy of the book industry.

Public Expenditure

Lord Jenkins of Putney asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will list public expenditure by government departments, ranking those departments from the largest to the smallest in terms of expenditure. [HL2968]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: This information is contained in Prudent for a purpose: building opportunity and security for all (Cm 4807), which is being published today.

Devolved Administrations: Funding

Lord Harrison asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will publish the funding rules applied by the 2000 Spending Review to the devolved administrations [HL3408]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: Copies of the updated Statement of Funding Policy, which sets out the funding arrangements for the devolved administrations, have today been placed in the Libraries of both Houses of Parliament.

Military Wrecks

Lord Onslow of Woking asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Who is responsible for listing the wrecks of military vessels in United Kingdom waters, and what consideration has been given to establishing a centrally held list of all such wrecks. [HL3221]

The Minister of State, Ministry of Defence (Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean): I will write to the noble Lord and a copy of my letter will be placed in the Library of the House.

Royal Military Tattoo

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they consider that the military occupation, in connection with the Royal Tattoo, of the eastern part of St James' Park was necessary or justified; whether civilian interests (other than the Royal Park) were consulted in advance; and whether the Royal Parks will be fully compensated for any damage done.[HL3186]

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Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: The use of parts of St James's Park in connection with the Royal Military Tattoo 2000 (RMT 2000) has been arranged with the full permission of the Royal Parks, granted at ministerial level. The park provides space to house support facilities required for the event which are not available on Horse Guards Parade. The RMT 2000 project team work closely with Royal Parks, Westminster City Council and the Metropolitan Police to ensure that health and safety regulations are adhered to, and that inconvenience to the public is kept to a minimum. The Royal Parks have granted the Ministry of Defence (MoD) permission to use Horse Guards Parade and allotted areas of St James's Park in return for a licence fee. In addition, MoD is responsible for fair and reasonable reinstatement costs in respect of any damage which can be attributed to RMT 2000's use of those areas.

Director of Public Prosecutions:Annual Report

Lord Tomlinson asked Her Majesty's Government:

    When the Director of Public Prosecutions intends to publish his annual report.[HL3413]

The Attorney-General (Lord Williams of Mostyn): I can confirm that I have today placed a copy of the annual report in the Library of the House.

Miss Roisin McAliskey

Baroness Gould of Potternewton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they intend to proceed with any prosecution against Roisin McAliskey. [HL3412]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: Further to the statement of the Home Secretary on 10 March 1998 (Official Report, 10 March 1998, col. 133) that he would not order the extradition of Roisin McAliskey to Germany, the Crown Prosecution Service, in accordance with this country's obligations under Article 7 of the European Covention on the Suppression of Terrorism, has considered whether to prosecute Roisin McAliskey in this country for the offences allegedly committed in Germany in relation to the Osnabruck bombing of 28 June 1996.

The test applied by the Crown Prosecution Service is the test set out in the Code for Crown Prosecutors that applies to all prosecutions in England and Wales--namely, that a prosecution will only be commenced or proceeded with if there is sufficient evidence to afford a realistic prospect of conviction and that prosecution is in the public interest.

The Crown Prosecution Service, having taken the advice of Senior Treasury Counsel, has concluded that there is not a realistic prospect of convicting Miss McAliskey for any offence arising out of the Osnabruck bombing. It has reached that conclusion having taken into account the available evidence and

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the likely result of any argument that may be put forward by Miss McAliskey that to prosecute her now would be an abuse of process.

The Law Officers have been consulted and we agree with the conclusion reached by the Crown Prosecution Service.

It is not usual for the Law Officers to make announcements concerning consideration of individual cases. In this instance, the Home Secretary in a written reply (Official Report, 20 March 1998, col. 742) said that this matter would be considered for prosecution in the United Kingdom. It is right that the House should be informed of the outcome of those considerations.


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