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Hinduja Brothers

Mr. Chope: To ask the Prime Minister if he will instruct Sir Anthony Hammond QC to ascertain whether a meeting took place in August 1998 between the right hon. Member for Hartlepool and Mr. S. P. Hinduja and Mr. G. P. Hinduja. [147997]

The Prime Minister [holding answer 30 January 2001]: As has been made clear, all relevant information will be made available to Sir Anthony Hammond QC.

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Mr. Chope: To ask the Prime Minister if he will instruct Sir Anthony Hammond QC to investigate the accuracy of the parliamentary answers given on 3 December 1998 by the right hon. Member for Hartlepool (Mr. Mandelson), to the hon. Member for Christchurch about meetings between the right hon. Member for Hartlepool and Mr. S. P. Hinduja and Mr. G. P. Hinduja. [147998]

The Prime Minister [holding answer 30 January 2001]: I have nothing to add to the reply given by my right hon. Friend on 3 December 1998, Official Report, column 1040.

Mr. Peter Bottomley: To ask the Prime Minister on what date a recommendation for an honour for one of the Hinduja brothers was received from an hon. Member. [148277]

The Prime Minister: It is established practice under section 8(c) of the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information not to disclose information relating to information, opinions and assessments given in relation to recommendations for honours.

Mr. Baker: To ask the Prime Minister if the report produced by Sir Anthony Hammond will contain unedited records of all (a) telephone calls, (b) letters and (c) other communications involving ministers relating to (i) the application for nationality made by the Hinduja brothers and (ii) the sponsorship of the Faith Zone at the Millennium Dome. [148365]

The Prime Minister: The terms of reference of Sir Anthony Hammond's review are set out in my answer to the hon. Member for Aylesbury (Mr. Lidington) of 29 January 2001, Official Report, column 70W (UIN 147716 and 147717). It is for Sir Anthony Hammond to decide what is included in his report to me.

Mr. Baker: To ask the Prime Minister if he will make it his policy to provide substantive answers to parliamentary questions concerning the Hinduja brothers in advance of the publication of Sir Anthony Hammond's report. [148366]

The Prime Minister: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to hon. Members by my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary on 30 January 2001, Official Report, column 168W.

Mr. Baker: To ask the Prime Minister if the inquiry being undertaken by Sir Anthony Hammond will establish the level of donations by the Hinduja brothers to political parties since 1990. [148369]

The Prime Minister: No. The terms of reference have been set out in my answer to the hon. Member for Aylesbury (Mr. Lidington) on 29 January, Official Report, column 70W (UIN 147716 and 147717).

Mr. Baker: To ask the Prime Minister what criteria he applied in deciding that Sir Anthony Hammond should undertake the recently established inquiry. [148368]

The Prime Minister: In establishing an inquiry, the individual or team appointed to conduct the inquiry must be impartial, be able to weigh evidence within the particular circumstances of the case, and have the experience and status to command respect. I had all these criteria in mind in appointing Sir Anthony Hammond QC.

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Mr. Baker: To ask the Prime Minister on what basis information held by the security services on the Hinduja brothers will be available to Sir Anthony Hammond. [148370]

The Prime Minister: Sir Anthony Hammond will be provided with access to information held by the security and intelligence agencies if this is relevant to his review.

Millennium Dome

Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Prime Minister if he will list the companies approached by his Official Spokesman, Mr. Alastair Campbell, regarding sponsorship of the Millennium Dome. [148508]

The Prime Minister: None.

Lobby Briefings

Mr. Baker: To ask the Prime Minister if he will make it his policy for all lobby briefings undertaken on his behalf to be open for audio and visual recording. [148364]

The Prime Minister: Since the publication of the Mountfield Report in November 1997, all 11.00 am and 4.00 pm Lobby briefings by my official spokesman and his deputy are on the record. An account of them is published on the No.10 website.

It is for Ministers to represent the views of Government in Parliament.

TRADE AND INDUSTRY

Mortgage Group

Mr. Hilary Benn: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will ask the Office of Fair Trading to investigate the activities of the Mortgage Group; and if he will make a statement. [148181]

Dr. Howells [holding answer 1 February 2001]: The Director General of Fair Trading monitors the continuing fitness of all consumer credit licence holders.

I am aware of the Panorama programme which was broadcast on 28 January and contained a number of allegations about the business practices of the Mortgage Group. I understand that the Director General has approached the programme makers for evidence of the allegations made. Meanwhile, anybody else who has evidence of any breaches of the Consumers Credit Act 1974, its Regulations or the Director General's guidelines on non-status lending by any particular licence holder should pass full details to his office.

Magnox Reactors

Mr. Caton: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what plans he has to restart the magnox reactors at Wylfa, Anglesey. [147843]

Mr. Hain: I understand that BNFL has agreed with the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) a programme of work aimed at enabling BNFL to return the reactors at Wylfa to service. This programme of work is now being

2 Feb 2001 : Column: 336W

implemented. BNFL hopes to complete it during the first half of this year. HSE will not allow BNFL to return the station to operation until fully satisfied about its safety.

Hinduja Brothers

Mr. Chope: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry on how many occasions and at what locations officials from his Department accompanied the right hon. Member for Hartlepool (Mr. Mandelson) when he was Secretary of State for Trade and Industry to meetings with (a) Mr. Srichand Hinduja and (b) Mr. Gopichand Hinduja. [148004]

Mr. Byers [holding answer 30 January 2001]: I refer the hon. Member to the replies given by my right hon. Friend the Member for Hartlepool (Mr. Mandelson), when he was Secretary of State for Trade and Industry on 3 December 1998, Official Report, column 291W.

Mr. Heathcoat-Amory: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (1) what meetings (a) he and (b) other Ministers in his Department have attended (i) with the Hinduja brothers and (ii) at which matters relating to business interests controlled by the Hinduja brothers were discussed; [148147]

Miss Widdecombe: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry which Ministers and officials in his Department have (a) been contacted by and (b) contacted (i) Mr. G. P. Hinduja and (ii) Mr. S. P. Hinduja since 2 May 1997; if he will list the occasions on which there was such contact; and if he will make a statement. [148079]

Mr. Byers [holding answers 31 January 2001 and 1 February]: Following press speculation, I authorised the Department to issue a statement on 26 January detailing contacts between Department of Trade and Industry Ministers and G. P. and S. P. Hinduja. A copy of this statement has been laid in the Library of the House.

I also refer the right hon. Members to the replies given by my right hon. Friend the Member for Hartlepool (Mr. Mandelson) when he was Secretary of State for Trade and Industry on 3 December 1998, Official Report, column 291W.

Huntingdon Life Sciences

Dr. Harris: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what recent discussions he has had with organisations which have sold shares in Huntingdon Life Sciences; and if he will make a statement. [147408]

Mr. Byers [holding answer 30 January 2001]: None.

Droit de Suite

Mr. Heathcoat-Amory: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assessment he has made of the prospects for the common position reached in the Council of Ministers over the Droit de Suite directive being maintained; and if he will make a statement. [148071]

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Mr. Byers [holding answer 31 January 2001]: The Government believe that the agreement reached in Council reflects an acceptable balance between the rights of artists and the competitiveness of the art market and will therefore be urging the Council to stand by the common position.


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