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Sir George Young: The House is grateful for next week's business and an indication of the likely business for the following week.

Next week is an important week for Northern Ireland, with the de Chastelain report expected. Can we expect a statement from the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland outlining the Government's response? Also, can we expect statements next week from the Home Secretary on his decision on Senator Pinochet, and from the Secretary of State for Culture Media and Sport on his proposals for a new tax on digital television?

When will we have a debate on the Wakeham report on reform of the House of Lords? Can the Leader of the House say when she will set up the promised Joint Committee to take that forward, and whether Ministers will sit on it?

Finally, can we have a debate in Government time on the Government's policy on the euro to clarify the growing confusion in the Cabinet, with those at the back shouting "Forward" and those at the front shouting "Back", and with the Prime Minister saying as little as possible? Is not a debate now essential, so that the House and the country can try to discover what on earth is going on?

Mrs. Beckett: The right hon. Gentleman will appreciate that neither he nor I--nor, indeed, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland--can yet know what is likely to be the content of the de Chastelain report. At present, I cannot say what the position will be, but I undertake to pass on to my right hon. Friend the right hon. Gentleman's request for such a statement, should that seem to be the right thing to do.

The right hon. Gentleman asked for a statement on Senator Pinochet. He will know that my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary has indicated consistently that, when he makes a decision, he has every intention of coming to the House to make a statement. However, the right hon. Gentleman and the House may not be aware that, apparently, there has been a challenge from the Belgian Government to the way in which the issue has been handled. It is my understanding that this may make the matter sub judice again.

As I said, my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary has always made it plain that he has every intention and desire to come to the House to give a full explanation of any decision that he is able to make, but he will now have to steer his way through that particular thicket. That is the best that I can do to inform the right hon. Gentleman of the position.

On digital television, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport is considering a report to him and not a proposal from the Government for anything, let alone a new tax. I am confident that my right hon. Friend will seek to make a statement to the House when he has something to announce.

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I cannot tell the right hon. Gentleman when I anticipate that it might be possible to debate the Wakeham report, or when it is likely that the proposal for a Joint Committee will be taken forward. As for whether Ministers will serve on it, I freely confess that I had not given the matter a moment's thought. I am grateful to the right hon. Gentleman for notice of the fact that the idea had crossed his mind--it had not crossed my mind, I must admit.

Of course, Madam Speaker, it is for you to decide whether something is tedious repetition as opposed to just repetition. However, I say yet again to the right hon. Gentleman that there is no confusion on the Government's policy on the euro. It remains what it has always been. I know that it is a matter of great unhappiness for the news media and for the Conservative party that that is so, but there we are.

Dr. Brian Iddon (Bolton, South-East): The Government have excellent policies to deal with social exclusion. In London, Louise Casey is taking people--including many with drug and alcohol problems--off the streets, but elsewhere in the country people are locked up for doing a similar job. Yet again, in London people are developing dual diagnoses for dealing with psychiatric cases who use drugs, but elsewhere people are locked up on psychiatric wards for using drugs. Will my right hon. Friend arrange, in the near future, for a debate on the way in which social exclusion policies are enacted on the ground?

Mrs. Beckett: I understand the concern that lies behind the issues that my hon. Friend has raised. He will know, I hope, that apart from what is being done in London, similar action is being taken across the country. For example, 4,000 new beds nationwide are being brought into use for people sleeping rough, compared with the 850 which are specifically in London. The Government are endeavouring to ensure that there is a consistent approach to both the prevention of the problems arising and to the matters that we hope will help to resolve them. I cannot give my hon. Friend the undertaking that we shall have an early debate. However, he will be aware that, these days, there are more opportunities for such debates and he may seek to pursue them.

Mr. Paul Tyler (North Cornwall): I endorse the request for as early a statement on the decommissioning of arms as is physically possible from the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland. As soon as the de Chastelain report is available to him, will he make a statement to the House?

In the light of the experience of the past two days, will the Leader of the House re-examine the case for a Business Committee to see whether--on some occasions at least--we can reach agreement with Back Benchers as well as with the usual channels on the best way to deal with business? I have seen the letter from the Leader of the Opposition to the Prime Minister, so will the right hon. Lady reconsider the possibility of opening new channels of communication with other parts of the Conservative party? Clearly, the Leader of the Opposition does not speak on behalf of his Back Benchers.

In that context, may I suggest that the right hon. Member for Bromley and Chislehurst (Mr. Forth) is nothing like as bad as he is painted? It might be sensible

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for the right hon. Lady to discuss with him the management of business in the House. His bark is nothing like as bad as his bite--he is a man of great charm. As a new business manager for the Conservative party, he might be able to deliver what he promises.

Mrs. Beckett: First, I have taken on board the hon. Gentleman's point about Northern Ireland. As I said to the right hon. Member for North-West Hampshire (Sir G. Young), I shall take the matter up with my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland. I am sure that my right hon. Friend will be more than willing to make a statement, but my only caveat is that we must preserve some room for manoeuvre for him if, for some reason, he feels that that is not quite the right way to proceed. I shall certainly draw the concerns to his attention.

With regard to the proposal to have a Business Committee, my immediate reaction is that it is interesting. However, the problem is not that we cannot reach agreement--we do and, indeed, arrangements are made, as the shadow Home Secretary made plain only on Monday. The problem is that the agreement then falls into disrepair and is not heeded. When the hon. Gentleman made his suggestion, the thought crossed my mind that whether or not the committee served any useful purpose would depend on who sat on it.

I entirely take the hon. Gentleman's point, but I do not think that I have ever abused the right hon. Member for Bromley and Chislehurst (Mr. Forth)--although I have, from time to time, expressed happiness at not having been present for all his contributions. I do not doubt that he has some good points: most human beings do. While I understand the concern for the good order of the House that leads the hon. Member for North Cornwall (Mr. Tyler) to make his suggestion, I do not think that it is for the House to sort out the problems of the Conservative party. It is time that it sorted them out itself.

Mr. David Chaytor (Bury, North): Does my right hon. Friend agree that the negotiations on the biosafety protocol, held in Montreal last week and this week, are of enormous significance to future policy on genetically modified foods? Given the huge and continuing public interest in food safety and the impact of GM foods, does she further agree that it is time we had a statement on GM foods, especially following the discussions in Montreal?

Given that multilateral, international and environmental agreements are of increasing importance to domestic policy, does my right hon. Friend agree that, as a matter of routine, a statement should be made on the outcome of all such conferences?

Mrs. Beckett: Of course I have great sympathy with my hon. Friend's concern on those matters; he has expressed it on many occasions. I am aware of the importance of the discussions in Montreal, but I have not had an opportunity to see a report of any sort or to have a conversation with my right hon. Friend the Minister for the Environment, who led for the Government in those discussions. Therefore, I do not know whether sufficient conclusions were reached to enable my right hon. Friend to make a report to the House on anything other than that discussions are continuing.

I share my hon. Friend's view that it is a good thing for the Government to keep the House informed of what is happening when there are practical outcomes to report.

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However, I fear that I cannot undertake always to have a statement on all such meetings, because, as I am sure he appreciates, there are dozens, if not hundreds, of them.

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