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Magistrates (Ethnic Minorities)

Mr. Hendrick: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what steps the Lord Chancellor is taking to encourage people from ethnic minority communities to become magistrates. [160591]

Jane Kennedy: Schemes to allow people from the ethnic communities to shadow magistrates in order to encourage a wider understanding of their role will be established in June with Operation Black Vote. My noble and learned Friend the Lord Chancellor has asked officials to begin work to establish the schemes and to look at ways his local Advisory Committees can make better contacts with particular community groups to encourage applications. Operation Black Vote will begin the task of recruiting people to take part in the shadowing schemes during May. There will initially be seven pilot areas, two in London and one each in Birmingham, Bradford, Bristol, Cardiff and Oldham.


People's Peerages

Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the President of the Council how many applicants for a people's peerage are being recommended for appointment; and if she will make a statement. [159381]

Mrs. Beckett: Fifteen.

Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the President of the Council, pursuant to her answer of 16 March 2001, Official Report, column 764W, on people's peerages, what estimate she has made of the cost of providing the answer sought. [159421]

Mrs. Beckett: That it was likely to be in excess of the guidelines figure beyond which an answer stands to be refused. My hon. Friend will also recall from the second part of the answer that to release the information requested would have been in breach of the Appointments Commission's undertakings to treat all personal information in individual applications in strict confidence.

3 May 2001 : Column: 793W