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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Earl Howe): A new model mechanism for appeals against enforcement action has been set out in Statutory Instrument No. 1678, which was laid before Parliament today.
This new model will provide for a speedier and cheaper way for resolving disputes on enforcement of regulations. At the same time it incorporates procedures that will ensure that every opportunity is made available to business to resolve disputes informally without having to resort to the appeal process.
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Chalker of Wallasey): Her Majesty's Government have no present intention of signing this convention. Consular functions are satisfactorily covered by our bilateral conventions with Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Norway, Spain and Sweden and by the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations.
(i) The Foreign and Commonwealth Office;
(ii) The Ministry of Defence; and
(iii) The Department of Trade and Industry.
Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: Either the Foreign and Commonwealth Office or the Ministry of Defence or (and this is usual) both government departments, work on the basis of sending officials to all meetings of the Western European Union. We are unaware of any meetings which they have missed. Ministers attend WEU ministerial meetings as well as sessions of the WEU Assembly and its Presidential Committee during a British Presidency of the WEU. Officials and Ministers from the Department of Trade do not attend meetings of the Western European Union.
Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: A Commonwealth Ministerial Mission visited The Gambia from 12th-13th June to review progress on human rights and the transition to democracy. At its meeting on 24th-25th June, the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) urged the Gambian regime to lift the ban on political activity and encouraged Commonwealth countries to provide electoral support.
Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: The challenges of maintaining life on Montserrat for those who do not wish to leave are varied, numerous and in many ways unique. The emergency shelter programme is typical of areas where we and the Government of Montserrat are tackling simultaneously short and long-term needs. It is too soon to evaluate formally the overall experience but lessons learned are continuously being fed back into further activities.
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