|Previous Section||Back to Table of Contents||Lords Hansard Home Page|
Baroness Amos: My right honourable friend the Minister of State for Northern Ireland (Mr Spellar) wrote to the leaders of all Northern Ireland political parties; the Northern Ireland spokesman for the Conservative and Liberal Democrat Parties; the chair of the Northern Ireland Affairs Select Committee; and the Chair of the Joint Committee on Human Rights (JCHR) on 14 June 2004 inviting them to nominate people to be considered for appointment to the Northern Ireland Human Rights Committee. His letter pointed out that any nominee would be required to undergo the same application process as all other candidates.
Further to the Written Answer by the Lord President on 14 September (WA 178), whether they will provide a summary curriculum vitae of Mr John Keanie, pointing out his human rights experience and expertise. [HL4286]
Baroness Amos: John Keanie is an OCPA-accredited independent assessor whose job is to ensure that the entire appointments process adheres to the Office of the Commissioner for Public Appointments' (OCPA) code of practice. His expertise is in public appointments.
OCPA guidance states that "independent scrutiny underwrites the integrity of the whole appointments process". Furthermore, it defines the role of the independent assessor as "an expert in the appointments process and need not have a specialist knowledge in the subject matter dealt with by the body on which there is a vacancy".
An independent human rights expert, Mr Chris Sidoti (Director of International Service of Human Rights, a NGO based in Geneva) will be on the interview panel for both the chief commissioner and commissioner posts.
The Chairman of Committees (Lord Brabazon of Tara): The Computer Officer has day-to-day
18 Oct 2004 : Column WA72
responsibility for the House of Lords Computer Office. He reports to the Reading Clerk, as the Management Board member responsible for Information Services, who in turn reports to the Clerk of the Parliaments. The strategic direction of the Computer Office is guided at official level by the Information Technology Steering Group with input from the Information Committee. The overall budget for the office is approved by the House Committee.
The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Scotland of Asthal): Information on the total number of children detained by the United Kingdom's Immigration Service during the past six months is not available. It would only be available by examination of individual case files at disproportionate cost.
With reference to the Home Office statement on 1 October that "full immigration controls on Eurostar trains will move from London to Europe", whether they no longer consider that the United Kingdom is part of Europe. [HL4340]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Bach): Military force levels in Northern Ireland are dependent on the prevailing security environment. As the environment improves we expect the requirement for forces assigned to support the police to decline. Accordingly, in the past six months we have been able to transfer four battalions from the command of the General Officer Commanding Northern Ireland to Commander in Chief LAND.
18 Oct 2004 : Column WA73
Further to the Written Answer by the Lord Bach on 25 March (WA 112), when the Ministry of Defence now expects to deposit in the Library of the House all letters pursuant to Parliamentary Questions on the destruction in 1991 of Iraqi chemical weapons stored at Khamisiyah in southern Iraq. [HL4073]
Lord Bach: Answers to the Questions posed by the Countess of Mar were provided in two papers published in December 1999 entitled British Chemical Warfare Defence During the Gulf Conflict 199091 and Review of Events Concerning 32 Field Hospital and the Release of Nerve Agent Arising from US Demolition of Iraqi Munitions at the Khamisiyah Depot in March 1991. Copies of these papers were placed in the Library of both Houses. Both papers can also be accessed via the MoD's website www.mod.uk/index.shtml.
Copies of these papers were also intended to be sent to the Countess of Mar and to the noble Lord among others. I regret that we can find no trace of these letters being sent although drafts were prepared. My honourable friend the Under-Secretary of State for Defence (Mr Ivor Caplin) will write to the Countess of Mar with copies of the original drafts and arrange for these to be placed in the Library of the House.
Whether any review of Dr Tony Hall's work for the Medical Assessment Programme of the Ministry of Defence has been undertaken by the department, or is now being considered, subsequent to his widely publicised comments of 10 August on the health of service personnel and the integrity of Gulf War veterans. [HL4074]
Lord Bach: No review is planned but all patient records are routinely reviewed in great detail. Dr Hall was employed at the Gulf Veterans' Medical Assessment Programme (GVMAP) in July 1997 but went on extended leave in December 1997. His employment was finally terminated in July 1998. Approximately three and a half thousand patients have been seen by GVMAP physicians since it was established in July 1993 and Dr Hall saw only a minority of these while at the GVMAP.
The Government are not responsible for Lord Lloyd's unofficial investigation and we have no control over who attends or wishes to submit evidence. The views expressed by Dr Hall on the causes of Gulf veterans' ill health at Lord Lloyd's unofficial investigation into Gulf veterans' illnesses on 10 August are not the views of the Government.
18 Oct 2004 : Column WA74
Whether Dr Tony Hall and other employees or ex-employees of the Ministry of Defence were informed of the Ministry of Defence's policy, stated by Ministers, that it is incumbent on all those who are close to health issues and have some knowledge of them to consider very carefully the language they use when making comments that could cause unnecessary anxiety among service personnel, veterans, and their families and friends, possibly threatening their well-being; if so, by whom and when they were so informed. [HL4075]
Lord Bach: The Government are not responsible for Lord Lloyd's unofficial investigation and we have no control over who attends or wishes to submit evidence. Dr Hall has not been employed by the Ministry of Defence since July 1998 and the views he expressed on 10 August are not the views of the Government.
We expect and receive the highest standard of professional conduct from health professionals and other employees when dealing with service personnel, veterans and family members. This includes adherence to relevant standards required by external professional bodies.
|Next Section||Back to Table of Contents||Lords Hansard Home Page|