Previous Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page


19 Dec 2000 : Column WA43

Written Answers

Tuesday, 19th December 2000

EU: Duty Free and Quota Free Access

Lord Moynihan asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Why, when Article 12 of the Cotonou agreement provides for the consultation whenever the interests of African, Caribbean and Pacific Countries are affected, there was no prior consultation in the case of the proposal from the European Union Trade Commissioner, Mr Lamy, to grant duty free and quota free access to all products from the least developed countries.[HL33]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Scotland of Asthal): The Cotonou agreement contains a commitment to extend duty free and quota free access to least developed countries (LDCs). The Lamy proposal, to grant duty free and quota free access to all products except arms from LDCs, with a transition period for sugar, rice and bananas, is the Commission's response to this commitment. The Commission informed the ACP Secretariat of its proposal shortly after it informed member states, as it is required to do under the Cotonou agreement. Consultations are under way between the Commission, the ACP countries and member states.

EU: "Everything But Arms" andSugar Regime Proposals

Lord Moynihan asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Given that the "Everything But Arms" prosposal is under discussion in the Council of European Union Foreign Ministers, while the Sugar Regime proposal is under discussion in the Council of European Union Agriculture Ministers, what linkage or formal channels for discussion operate between the two Councils with regard to these related issues.[HL36]

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: The formal position is that the Council is one body, which comes together in different configurations to discuss specific proposals. In the case of the UK, it is standard practice that negotiators consult all interested departments before taking a position in Brussels. Ministers have already made the point that the proposals on reform of the sugar regime and the "Everything But Arms" (EBA) proposal need to be considered in relation to each other and have pressed for the impact of the EBA proposal to be discussed in the context of the reform proposals in the Agriculture Council.

19 Dec 2000 : Column WA44

Bermuda and the British Virgin Islands: Judicial Corporal Punishment

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

    What progress has been made towards removing judicial corporal punishment from the statute books of the overseas territories of the British Virgin Islands and Bermuda, in accordance with the international obligations of the United Kingdom under the European Convention on Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.[HL109]

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: Judicial corporal punishment was removed from the statute books of Bermuda and the British Virgin Islands in December 1999 and August 2000 respectively.

Bermuda: Abolition of Capital Punishment for Murder

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

    What progress has been made towards the abolition of capital punishment for murder in the overseas territory of Bermuda.[HL110]

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: Capital punishment for murder in Bermuda was abolished in December 1999.

Overseas Territories: Abolition of Capital Punishment for Treason and Piracy

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

    What progress has been made in each of the overseas territories towards the abolition of capital punishment for the offences of treason and piracy.[HL111]

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: Capital punishment for treason and piracy was in force in all Caribbean Overseas Territories, Bermuda, British Indian Ocean Territory and Gibraltar in March 1999 when the White Paper on Overseas Territories was published. Capital punishment for both offences has now been abolished in Bermuda, the British Indian Ocean Territory and all Caribbean Territories except in the Turks and Caicos Islands. The Government are pursuing the question of abolition with the Turks and Caicos Islands authorities. The Government of Gibraltar have now abolished capital punishment for treason and are committed to abolishing capital punishment for piracy.

19 Dec 2000 : Column WA45

NymIP Project

The Earl of Northesk asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How, in the context of network anonymity and privacy, they respond to the NymIP project.[HL142]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Bassam of Brighton): The Government take a close interest in any technological developments that may be misused in a malicious or criminal way. Anonymity services misused in such a way can impact upon the capability of Internet service providers to deal with network abuses such as unsolicited bulk messaging (spam), tracing and preventing denial-of-service attacks and unauthorised access to computer systems (hacking). They can also impact upon the capability of law enforcement to detect and investigate crime.

Working in co-operation with industry at home and abroad, through the Internet Crime Forum and the GB Government-Industry Dialogue on Security and Confidence in Cyberspace, the Government will continue to seek to ensure that where anonymity services are misused for criminal purposes that misuse can be effectively investigated.

Complaints against the Police

Baroness Howells of St Davids asked Her Majesty's Government:

    When they will announce the proposals for a new system for dealing with complaints against the police.[HL196]

Lord Bassam of Brighton: This afternoon we are publishing a framework of a new system to handle complaints made against police officers. There are some areas which require further work and we are inviting views on these so that they can be finalised.

It was last May that the Government published a consultation document which was based on reports of two separate studies. The first study was commissioned from the management consultants KPMG in order to take forward recommendations made by the Home Affairs Select Committee in its report on the police disciplinary and complaints procedures and by Sir William Macpherson's report of the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry. The second study was by the human rights organisation Liberty.

The outcome of the consultation is that the Government propose to set up a new body to handle complaints; it will be called the independent police complaints commission.

My honourable friend the Minister of State for the department, Mr Charles Clarke, previously indicated his sympathy for the principle of an independent system for investigating complaints against the police and we are pleased to announce that a key element of the new system will be the independent investigations of the more serious complaints. Two other key

19 Dec 2000 : Column WA46

elements of the new system will be easier accessibility to the system for complainants and more openness in dealing with complainants.

We are very grateful to all those who took part in the consultation; in particular, the Police Complaints Authority (PCA), which has called repeatedly for reforms so that it could increase its effectiveness and independence. The PCA's response pointed the way towards independent investigations, easier accessibility and more openness.

Copies of the framework document have been arranged to be placed in the Library.

Sexual Offences (Amendment) and Criminal Justice and Court Services Acts

Baroness Gould of Potternewton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    When they will commence the Sexual Offences (Amendment) Act 2000 and Part II of the Criminal Justice and Court Services Act 2000. [HL224]

Lord Bassam of Brighton: We are implementing both these important measures as quickly as possible because of the important equality and child protection measures they contain.

The Sexual Offences (Amendment) Act 2000 will be commenced in England and Wales and Northern Ireland on 8 January 2001. Commencement in Scotland is a matter for the Scottish Executive.

Part II of the Criminal Justice and Court Services Act will be commenced in England and Wales and Northern Ireland on 11 January 2001.

Road Traffic Offences: Penalties

Baroness Billingham asked Her Majesty's Government:

    When they will publish the consultation paper following the recent review of penalties for road traffic offences. [HL225]

Lord Bassam of Brighton: We are pleased to announce that the consultation paper to which my noble friend refers has been published today. Copies have been placed in the Library.

Government Departments: Software

The Earl of Northesk asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether any government departments or agencies are operating illegal software. [HL65]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: In July 1999, the Cabinet Office Central Computer and Telecommunications Agency (CCTA) issued guidance to departments and agencies reminding them of their obligations to acquire all software legally and to use it

19 Dec 2000 : Column WA47

in accordance with the conditions of the licence. The guidance reinforced the code of practice endorsed by the Federation Against Software Theft (FAST).


Next Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page