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Mrs. Beckett: I thank the hon. Gentleman, but I must slightly correct him: I do not think that there have been any biographies of me, but there are various biographical summaries of varying accuracy. They are correct in identifying that I was a member of the common market safeguards campaign. I understand the hon. Gentleman's point about the commissioner's remarks, but I would simply say to him that, not only do I not regard that as blackmail, but I do not even regard it as new. EMU has been a clear potential consequence of our involvement in the European Union from the very beginning, as those of us who urged caution at the time pointed out to the British people. I recognise that many Conservative Members were putting a different point of view at the time, and I hope that they are sorry, but it is too late.

Mr. John Cryer (Hornchurch): When will my right hon. Friend be able to find time for the annual debate on the police? She will know that in the Met, resources are being taken from divisions and concentrated in murder investigations. Havering, the division that I represent, will be undermined by that move.

When the Tories and Liberals whinge about not having enough time, will my right hon. Friend bear it in mind that plenty of Labour Members would happily sit through Easter and August and other holidays? Perhaps if she suggested that on the Floor of the House, she might see Opposition Members taking a different outlook.

Mrs. Beckett: I am grateful to my hon. Friend for the first half of his remarks. I recognise the interest in and concern about policing in London. He will know that the Government have always tried to find time, on a suitable occasion, to focus on those matters, and we shall certainly bear his remarks in mind.

With regard to sitting through Easter and August and so on, I am of course well aware that my hon. Friend and other colleagues, including my hon. Friend the Member for Bolsover (Mr. Skinner), are always willing to be here,

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and that is a useful cautionary reminder to the Conservative party. However, I have to tell him that the Government's policy is for a good work-life balance, and in that light I cannot necessarily undertake to accede to his request.

Mr. Graham Brady (Altrincham and Sale, West): The Leader of the House is doubtless aware that next week the Commissioner for Public Appointments will publish her long-awaited report on Government appointments to NHS trusts and health authorities. Will the right hon. Lady make representations to her colleagues in the Department of Health and the Cabinet Office to ensure that Ministers from both Departments make early statements to the House, setting out the action that the Government intend to take to clean up the process of public appointments and to ensure that the political bias that has been evident to date is brought to a stop?

Mrs. Beckett: Of course, I know that the report is to be published, but I do not know what it contains and I do not know that the hon. Gentleman does. I cannot undertake that my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State will come to the House to make a statement. There may or may not be any need for him to do so. It is right that the Commissioner for Public Appointments should look into such matters, as the Government intended and support, but I do not accept the notion that there is a process to clean up and that that lies at the door of this Government.

I say to the hon. Gentleman, not for the first time, that Conservative Members have very short memories. We remember that under the previous Government, anyone with remotely Labour sympathies was kicked off the board of every health authority and trust, as were many loyal Tories who were not thought to be sufficiently toeing the line of the policies of the then Government. It is no good the hon. Gentleman shaking his head. He knows that what I say is true.

Mr. Jonathan Shaw (Chatham and Aylesford): Is my right hon. Friend aware of the M2 widening that is taking place throughout my constituency? Drivers and freight will enjoy the benefits of driving through Kent to the ports, but is it not right that people who must lose their homes to accommodate the widening are fairly compensated? Mr. and Mrs. Russell of Bluebell Hill have lived in their home for 30 years and received an offer far below the market price from the Highways Agency. Will my right hon. Friend see to it that the Deputy Prime Minister makes a statement to the House about the guidelines that the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions gives to the Highways Agency for providing fair compensation to people such as my constituents?

Mrs. Beckett: I understand my hon. Friend's concern and the matter that he raises, correctly, on behalf of his constituents. I am aware that such matters always cause great anxiety and sometimes considerable resentment. I fear that I cannot undertake to find time or to ask my right hon. Friend to come and make a special statement

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to the House, but I undertake to draw my hon. Friend's remarks to his attention, and I am sure that he will look into the matter.

Mr. John Bercow (Buckingham): May we please have an urgent statement from the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry on the Part-Time Employees (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) Regulations 2000, which have so far been issued only in draft form? Given that the Government agreed in April 1998--probably during the tenure of the right hon. Lady at the DTI--to the incorporation in British law of the European directive on the rights of part-time workers, does the Leader of the House agree that it is shameful and appalling for British business that the Government have taken almost two years to produce the proposed directive, and that they have issued consultation proposals allowing only six weeks--

Madam Speaker: Order. The hon. Gentleman knows that a number of hon. Members want to put business questions. Will he now come to his point, and will all other hon. Members who are called please put their questions briskly? It happens to be an Opposition Day.

Mr. Bercow: Thank you, Madam Speaker. I apologise profusely to you and to the House.

Is it not a disgrace that businesses have had only six weeks to comment on the highly unsatisfactory proposals that have only belatedly emerged from the Government?

Mrs. Beckett: Although I understand the hon. Gentleman's concern that it has taken so long to bring the directive forward, the Conservative party resisted doing any of that. However, I shall draw to the attention of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry the hon. Gentleman's remarks about the length of time for consultation, although from memory, I believe that that is not the first or only opportunity for consultation.

Kali Mountford (Colne Valley): Has my right hon. Friend had an opportunity to see early-day motion 515:

[That this House, noting that it is a breach of international law and a defiance of mandatory United Nations sanctions to supply arms, fuel, equipment and goods to, or to purchase diamonds from, Jonas Savimbi's UNITA rebel force in Angola, calls for the public identification and, where possible, prosecution of all individuals, private companies and public officials involved; in particular calls upon the Governments of the Ukraine and Belarus to stop arms and munitions exports to UNITA, on Ukrainian pilots to stop flying weapons and diesel to UNITA, on the Government of Zambia to stop convoys of lorries and planes from crossing the border into UNITA-controlled areas with the occasional paid assistance of Zambian Ministers and public officials, on the Government of Uganda to sack senior officials implicated, including President Museveni's half brother, General Salim Saleh, on the Government of Cote d' Ivoire, Togo and Burkina Faso to act immediately to halt their longstanding supplies to UNITA, on the Government of Rwanda to stop their almost daily supply flights from Kigali and other airports to UNITA, on the Government of South Africa to crack down on the dozens of individual business people and arms suppliers who continue to supply UNITA, on the Government of Israel to act against

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those of its citizens involved in supply operations and those buying diamonds for sale via the Tel Aviv trading centre, on the Government of the United Arab Emirates to prevent arms being transited from eastern Europe via Dubai to UNITA, on the Government of Switzerland and banking authorities across the world to track down the millions of pounds of Savimbi's assets, secured through illegal sales of diamonds, and without which he cannot pay for the arms and fuel he needs to continue the dreadfully destructive war which has gone on for decades and which is now engulfing the whole region; supports the efforts of De Beers and the Governments of Belgium and the United Kingdom to block illegal sale of UNITA diamonds through Antwerp; welcomes the work of Canada's Ambassador Fowler in leading United Nations efforts to identify and block UNITA sanctions busters; and calls on the entire international community to act decisively to end the war by rigorously imposing sanctions on UNITA and preventing the making of money and private profit out of the misery of the Angolan people.]?

The early-day motion, which is in the name of my hon. Friend the Member for Stevenage (Barbara Follett), is an excellent resume of sanctions-busting in the region. On Tuesday, in Foreign and Commonwealth Office questions, the Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, my hon. Friend the Member for Neath (Mr. Hain), told the House that he was going to New York this week to discuss the flagrant breach of international law. When he returns, will there be an opportunity for the House to debate the matter?

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