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The Lord Chancellor (Lord Mackay of Clashfern): The principles on which commonhold is based have been thoroughly re-worked in order to ensure that the eventual scheme for commonhold will be effective and efficient. The Government have today published a draft Bill and consultation paper to show in detail how they propose to implement their proposals for such a scheme and, subject to the results of the consultation, the Government intend to bring forward legislation in this form as soon as a suitable opportunity occurs.
The Lord Chancellor: The Government have today published a draft Bill and consultation paper to show in detail how they propose to implement their proposals. The draft Bill represents a thorough re-working of the principles on which commonhold is based and, subject to the results of the consultation, the Government intend to bring forward legislation in this form as soon as a suitable opportunity occurs.
The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Blatch): Consultation with interested parties has now been completed. Guidance to local authorities incorporating revised model conditions to be applied to stage hypnotism performances will be issued at the beginning of August. A copy will be placed in the Library.
Baroness Blatch: An assessment of the impact of the National Lottery on the horserace betting levy has been published today. This fulfils an undertaking made during the passage of the National Lottery Bill.
Baroness Blatch: The working group has completed its work and we hope to make an announcement about the government response to the working group's recommendations shortly. A copy of the report will be placed in the Library as soon as it is available.
Baroness Blatch: Details of steps taken by the Prison Service to improve its performance are contained in the interim progress report on the Review of Prison Service Security in England and Wales and the escape from Parkhurst Prison on Tuesday 3rd January 1995--The Learmont Inquiry given in a table, copies of which have been placed in the Library. The progress report excludes those recommendations identical or very similar to those of the Woodcock Report which my right honourable friend accepted on 19th December 1994. The table also gives details of the recommendations already implemented. Six reviews are still in progress in respect of recommendations: 1, 88, 97, 98, 101, 107. The remaining recommendations are still under consideration. We shall report to the House on outstanding issues in due course.
The Prison Service has initiated a wide-ranging programme of action to build on the improvement in its performance in security (including measures taken in response to the recommendations of the Woodcock and Learmont Reports).
The Prison Service has pressed ahead with upgrading the high security dispersal estate to standards recommended in the Woodcock Report, a programme which Sir John Learmont included in his recommendations. In his review of Prison Service progress towards implementing the Woodcock Report, Sir John Learmont reported in December 1995 that,
The Prison Service has made excellent progress to ensure that security measures are consistently observed. The Prison Service has strengthened independent security audit, which it had in hand before the Whitemoor Escape, in recognition of the major contribution it has to make to improving security standards. The Prison Service has pressed ahead with a number of organisational changes designed to ensure that operational management of prisons can be carried out more effectively.
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Chalker of Wallasey): We are concerned about the reported treatment of prisoners in Turkey. We note, however, that the Turkish Government have recently made significant improvements to prison conditions and that a parliamentary commission will investigate further. We will continue to urge the Turkish Government to honour their international obligations on human rights, including the Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.
Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: Although in exceptional cases the Commonwealth may raise individual human rights cases at a political level, the mandate of the Commonwealth Secretariat's Human Rights Unit does not extend to individual cases.
In October 1987, the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in London considered Clifton Wright's application for leave to appeal to Her Majesty in Council and dismissed it. A further appeal was rejected by the Privy Council in Jamaica in 1994. Separately, Mr. Wright's sentence was commuted to life imprisonment in 1995.
Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: The Overseas Development Administration has provided the following financial support to non-governmental organisations (NGOs) working in South Africa in financial year 1994-95: South African based NGOs, £6,270,000; British based NGOs under the joint funding scheme, £901,557. The above figures are confined to the development work of NGOs. Emergency aid is not included.
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