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Mr. Hain [holding answer 6 July 2000]: We are deeply concerned at the news of the sentences imposed on 1 July on 10 Jewish and two Muslim defendants tried for espionage in Shiraz. We and our EU partners have consistently raised our concerns about the conduct of the trial, in particular at its closed nature, despite earlier
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assurances to the contrary. We note that provision is made for appeal to the Shiraz Revolutionary Court within 20 days of sentencing, and if need be, to the Supreme Court. We will continue to follow proceedings closely and will register our concerns with the Iranian authorities.
Mr. Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many (a) mobile telephones and (b) pagers are used by (i) the Minister for Europe and (ii) his officials; and what the cost was of (a) the mobile telephones and pagers and (b) calls made on the mobile telephones during the last year for which figures are available, identifying separately the figure for calls to non-UK telephone numbers. 
Mr. Battle: It is imperative for the Minister for Europe to remain in close contact both at home and overseas. The Minister is provided with one mobile telephone. His officials have three. There is also a mobile telephone in the ministerial car. FCO mobile telephone line rental and call costs are at competitive commercial rates.
Mr. Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many (a) mobile telephones and (b) pagers are used by his Department; and what the cost was of (i) the mobile telephones and pagers and (ii) calls made on mobile telephones during the last year for which figures are available, identifying separately the cost for calls to non-UK telephone numbers and the persons to whom the facility is made available. 
Mr. Battle: It is imperative for the FCO's staff to remain in close contact both at home and overseas. In the UK the FCO has 900 mobile telephones and 253 pagers. FCO mobile telephone line rental and call costs are at competitive commercial rates.
Mr. Maude: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1) which other Departments were sent copies of Sir Stephen Gomersall's telegram on Japanese investment in the UK; 
(3) if he will list the people in his Department who had access to the telegram on Japanese investment in the UK by Sir Stephen Gomersall; 
(4) when his Department received Sir Stephen Gomersall's telegram on Japanese investment in the UK; and what action was taken after it was received. 
Reports of this kind are routinely circulated to all Government Departments with an interest in the subject. This includes the Treasury, the Cabinet Office, the Department for Trade and Industry, the Invest in Britain
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Bureau (now Invest UK), British Trade International, the Ministry of Defence, the Department for International Development, the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, the Scotland Office, the Northern Ireland Office and the Office of the Secretary of State for Wales. On the same basis, such reports are also widely circulated within the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
We have responded to the European Commission's White Paper on Food Safety which contains proposals to establish a European food authority. The submission of our response was announced via a Food Standards Agency press release of 1 June. The response has been placed in the Library of the House and is also available on the Food Standards Agency website at www.foodstandards.gov.uk/pdf--files/ response.pdf.
The Commission is now considering all the comments it has received from member states and is awaiting the opinion of the European Parliament. The Commission has indicated its intention to come forward with firm proposals by late October.
Dr. Reid: Action in Scotland against drugs misuse is being taken forward by the Scottish Executive within the common UK framework established by the 1998 White Paper, "Tackling Drugs to Build a Better Britain" (Cm 3945). Scotland's drug strategy is set out in "Tackling Drugs in Scotland: Action in Partnership" which was launched in March 1999. Copies are available in the Library of the House.
Mr. Wigley: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will make a statement on progress made to date in the negotiations to reform European support arrangements for flax and hemp. 
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The proposals were due to be discussed at the May Agriculture Council--and then the June Agriculture Council--but on both occasions they were removed from the agenda because the European Parliament had not provided its opinion. The Parliament's opinion was finally delivered on 6 July, clearing the way for discussion at the forthcoming Agriculture Council to be held on 17-18 July.
Joan Ruddock: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what the number and nature is of the responses he has received as a result of his paper of 8 June on Review of Separation Distances for GM Crops; and if he will place copies of the responses in the Library. 
Ms Quin: At the time of writing 36 responses to the consultation letter have been received expressing a range of views. Copies of the responses will be placed in the House Libraries after the end of the consultation period, unless respondents specifically ask for their comments not to be made public.
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Jackie Ballard: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what representations he has received concerning the proposal to add GM maize Chiodon LL to the NIAB approved list; and what plans he has to hold further consultations on this proposal. 
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As required by the Seeds (National Lists of Varieties) Regulations 1982 (as amended), each of the 227 parties who have submitted formal written representations under regulation 21(2) have been supplied with copies of all of the written representations made. In view of the wide interest in the proposed decision, Ministers have agreed that all the parties who submitted such representations should be given an opportunity to comment, by 31 July, on the other representations made. No fees will be charged for making such further representations.
Jackie Ballard: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what plans he has to review the fee for challenging the addition of a variety to the National Institute for Agricultural Botany approved list. 
Ms Quin: The National Institution for Agricultural Bottany's recommended list is funded by industry and is not part of the statutory process of considering varieties for addition to the National List.
Joan Ruddock: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if his inquiries have established the separation distance used between GM and non-GM crops in the production of the recently contaminated Advanta seeds from Canada. 
Ms Quin [holding answer 27 June 2000]: The separation distances used between GM and non-GM crops in the production of the recently contaminated Advanta seeds are still under investigation by the Canadian Authorities. The results of these investigations are not yet available.
Ms Quin [holding answer 27 June 2000]: At present CSL are contracted by the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food to undertake two GM-related research projects. One is a desk modelling study to assess the risks to the agricultural environment from the release of GM crops. The other is a review of the consequences for agriculture of the introduction of GM crops.
Ms Quin [holding answer 27 June 2000]: The possible causes of the Advanta seeds contamination continue to be investigated by the Canadian authorities. The results of their investigations are not yet available the Department.
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Mr. Yeo: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, pursuant to his answer of 8 June 2000, Official Report, column 357W, on what occasions in the last 12 months the Government have received information on GM seed contamination incidents from EU member states; and what information was received. 
Mr. Nick Brown [holding answer 19 June 2000]: At the meeting of EU and EEA/EFTA seed certification agencies, on 2-5 May this year, Greece reported an incident involving the suspected adventitious presence of GM seed in conventional cotton seed.
Following reports in the French press last week that the French authorities have discovered low levels of GM presence in conventional maize seed imported into France, we contacted the French authorities, who confirmed on 30 June that they had indeed found some GM seed in conventional maize seed, which has been sown in South West France. Further information now indicates that they have found three different modifications in a number of varieties of forage maize imported into France by the company Golden Harvest. The French authorities have not yet confirmed which varieties of maize seed are involved, but have confirmed that sweetcorn varieties are not affected by their current investigations. We are seeking further information from them on the varieties concerned. However, as the varieties concerned are cultivated in Southern France, it is possible that they would be unsuitable for cultivation in UK conditions.
The GMs found in maize samples by the French authorities are BT 176 and BT 11, and one further, as yet unidentified, modification. BT 176 is insect resistant and has Part C consent within the EU under Directive 90/220 for import, food and feed use, and for cultivation. BT 11 is insect resistant and has Part C consent for import and use in animal feed. Pending further information from the French authorities, my Department, the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions, and the Food Standards Agency are considering what the implications would be should further investigations indicate that affected seed might have been sown in the UK.
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