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GP Lists

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Health for what reasons United Kingdom nationals are removed from their GP's list following periods of work abroad exceeding three months. [120377]

Ms Stuart: General practitioners' lists need to be kept up to date in order to reflect accurately the numbers of patients that they are responsible for. GPs have duties to provide continuity of care to their patients, and also to be able to visit them outside the surgery should the need arise. These responsibilities cannot be fulfilled if patients are resident abroad.

Appointment Waiting Times

Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what is the average waiting time for patients from first referral until their first appointment with a consultant. [119074]

Mr. Denham: The average waiting time for patients from general practitioner referral to being seen by the consultant for their first appointment is seven weeks.

European Food Authority

Mr. Redwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if the proposed European Food Authority will be able to overrule the UK's Food Standards Agency. [120496]

Ms Stuart: No such formal role has been proposed. The relationship between the proposed European Authority and agencies in member states is not clearly defined in the Commission's communication. However, we expect any recommendations from the proposed Authority to be based on full consultation and careful analysis of the best available scientific information. The United Kingdom's Food Standards Agency will wish to be involved at an early stage and to participate closely in the work of the Authority.

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Beef Imports

Mr. Todd: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what tests are undertaken to ensure the safety of beef imported into the United Kingdom from countries where BSE infections have been notified. [117708]

Ms Quin: I have been asked to reply.

There are no tests available for the detection of BSE in meat. The three tests recently approved by the European Commission have been approved for the purposes of surveillance and are not suitable for testing imported beef.


Regulation of Investigatory Powers Bill

Mr. Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on his policy in respect of the use his Department, its agencies and public bodies will make of the powers relating to the authorised obtaining of communications data in Part I, Chapter II of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Bill once the Bill is enacted. [119508]

Mr. Robin Cook: I refer my hon. Friend to the answer given by my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary on 19 April 2000, Official Report, column 509W.

Online Services

Mr. Robert Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will list the services which (a) his Department and (b) the executive agencies responsible to his Department (i) provide on-line and (ii) expect to be deliverable on-line by 2002. [119441]

Mr. Hain: We are currently collecting data on our progress on delivering 25 per cent. of Government services electronically by 2002 to be included in the Cabinet Office's Spring 2000 report monitoring progress towards delivery of all Government services electronically by 2005. We currently provide a range of services electronically via our websites, including country Travel Advice notices, seven separate visa application forms, consular services and embassy contact details. Over 60 British diplomatic missions also offer a range of information and services via their own websites, linked from the main Foreign Office website. In the future, it is hoped to set up regional electronic 'contact centres' for British consular and visa services abroad.

"Your Britain, Your Europe"

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs for what reason the "Your Britain, Your Europe" campaign includes events commemorating UK participation in the Council of Europe; for what reason the questionnaire from the roadshow refers to Europe rather than specific European institutions; and what is his policy on clearly identifying EU institutions in this campaign. [119813]

Mr. Vaz: My engagement at the Council of Europe on 1 December had nothing to do with the "Your Britain, Your Europe" roadshow. The aim of the questionnaire was to pose general questions about Europe rather than focus on the specific institutions of the European Union.

2 May 2000 : Column: 65W

During the "Your Britain, Your Europe" campaign I will want to cover all aspects of our involvement in the EU, including its institutions.

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, pursuant to his answer of 22 March 2000, Official Report, column 601W, on the European Union, if he will list those companies and educational institutions to which the "Your Britain, Your Europe" leaflet was distributed; and if he will make a statement explaining the basis for their selection. [119838]

Mr. Vaz: We distributed 7,000 copies of the leaflet during the week to passers-by and those at the establishments we visited. It is impossible therefore to measure how many educational institutions and companies may have received copies of the leaflet. During the roadshow I called on the following schools and universities: Woodham Comprehensive School (County Durham), St. Joseph's Secondary School (Tyne and Wear), the University of Hull, De Montfort University (Leicester), Queen Elizabeth Hospital School (Bristol), Bath University, Kings Edward VI College (Nuneaton) and St. John's Primary School (Birmingham). I called on the following companies: Nissan Motor Manufacturing (UK, CORUS Engineering Steels and Kwik Strip Eco Solutions.

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will estimate the proportion of (a) serving and (b) former (i) FCO and (ii) DFID Ministers' constituencies as part of the total number of constituencies visited by the first "Your Britain, Your Europe" tour; if he will list those constituencies so visited; and if he will make a statement. [119812]

Mr. Vaz: I visited 13 constituencies during the "Your Britain, Your Europe" roadshow. Two of these (Gateshead and Warrington, East, and Birmingham, Ladywood) are held by recent or current FCO and DFID Ministers. Information about former MPs in each constituency is not held centrally. As it is information about former Ministers, I suggest the hon. Member utilises the excellent facilities of the Oriel Room.

Fundamental Rights Charter

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on progress made regarding preparation of the Charter of Fundamental Rights, with special reference to its (a) contents (b) justiciability and (c) inclusion in the Treaty of Rome. [119816]

Mr. Vaz: The Charter Convention drafting body has now met seven times. There has been a first discussion of draft articles covering civil and political rights, citizens' rights (ie rights from the EU and EC Treaties), and some economic and social rights. Some civil and political rights have been discussed a second time. The next meeting on 27-28 April will include hearings of non-governmental organisations and continue the discussion of economic and social rights. The question of justiciability will depend upon the Charter's legal status which, together with inclusion in the Treaties, are beyond the Convention's mandate and will be considered by heads of government at the Nice European Council in December.

2 May 2000 : Column: 66W


Dr. Marek: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what action he proposes to take in response to the refusal of the Spanish authorities to allow Commonwealth Parliamentarians access to Malaga Airport from Gibraltar on Friday 14 April as a result of the closure of Gibraltar Airport owing to bad weather. [119808]

Mr. Vaz: Spain, like other EU member states, is obliged to impose visa regimes on nationals of countries listed on the EU Common Visa List. Beyond this, the visa policy of other member states is not a matter for the UK.

In response to the problems faced by six members of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association on 14 April, as a result of their lack of a Schengen visa, our Embassy in Madrid asked the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs for assistance in ensuring that these CPA members could travel to Malaga to catch the later flight if that, too, was diverted. Once apprised of the problem, the Foreign Ministry took the necessary action with the Spanish regional authorities. In the event, their assistance was not needed as the flight was able to land in Gibraltar.

Parliamentary Answers (BNFL)

Mr. Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will list each of the (a) oral and (b) written parliamentary answers Ministers in his Department have provided since May 1997, which were based on (a) information and (b) a draft provided by British Nuclear Fuels. [120045]

Mr. Hain: Internal advice and the source of such advice is not made public in line with exemption 2 of the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information.

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