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Early-day Motions

Richard Younger-Ross: To ask the President of the Council what the cost was of printing and publication of EDMs in the last 12 months (a) in total, (b) per week and (c) per day. [2014]

Mr. Kirkwood: I have been asked to reply. House of Commons printing and publishing charges are volume related and calculated in arrears by financial year. Final figures for EDM costs are therefore available only for FY 2000–01 and amount to approximately £443,000. This figure does not include electronic publication costs associated with EDMs, which are not separately identifiable from overall electronic publishing costs.

There were 35 sitting or part-sitting weeks; and 159 sitting days in FY 2000–01, from which can be derived average costs for EDM printing and publishing of approximately £12,660 per sitting week and £2,786 per sitting day.


First Junior Chancery Treasury Counsel

Mr. Barnes: To ask the Solicitor-General if she will list the occasions on which First Junior Chancery Treasury Counsel were employed by the Department of Trade and Industry between 5 April 1999 and 4 April 2000, indicating the commencing dates, durations and purposes. [1451]

Ms Hewitt: I have been asked to reply

The First Treasury Junior (Chancery) is appointed to work exclusively on Government business. Between 5 April 1999 and 4 April 2000 he worked on 36 Department of Trade and Industry matters. Like others, the Government seek and receive their legal advice in confidence. All such advice is covered by legal professional privilege and is therefore exempt from disclosure. In the circumstances it is inappropriate to give the further particulars requested.

3 Jul 2001 : Column: 92W


Disability Issues

Mr. Boswell: To ask the Prime Minister if he will define departmental and ministerial responsibilities for disability issues. [1642]

The Prime Minister: Maria Eagle, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, has responsibility for civil rights for disabled people, including the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 and the Disability Rights Commission, for disability benefits, and for the promotion and co-ordination of disability issues across Government. Practice on the allocation of responsibility for disability matters in other appropriate Departments varies.

Work Permit Applications

Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Prime Minister what representations he made, and by which officials on his behalf, to (a) the Department for Education and Skills and (b) the Department for Culture, Media and Sport regarding the applications for work permits by Mr. Hector Sam and Mr. Carlos Edwards. [2090]

The Prime Minister: As far as I am aware, no representations have been made on my behalf in respect of these matters.

Foot and Mouth

David Maclean: To ask the Prime Minister what plans the Government have for a public inquiry into the handling of the foot and mouth crisis. [2176]

Mr. Luff: To ask the Prime Minister if he will establish an independent public inquiry into all aspects of the Government's handling of foot and mouth disease. [2199]

The Prime Minister: There will be an inquiry to ascertain the lessons that can be learned from the foot and mouth outbreak. Its nature will be a matter for decision later: the immediate priority remains the eradication of the disease.

Climate Change

Llew Smith: To ask the Prime Minister, pursuant to his answer to the hon. Member for Eccles (Ian Stewart) of 21 June 2001, Official Report, column 1W, if he will provide details of the new high-level group on climate change. [1774]

The Prime Minister: The EU-US summit of 14 June agreed to a proposal by the EU Presidency to establish a high-level group on climate change. I understand that a mandate for the group has not been finalised, but that it is envisaged that it will act as a channel for the EU and US to exchange information and maintain contact on important climate change issues. It is envisaged that the EU would be represented by the Troika.

3 Jul 2001 : Column: 93W

Performance and Innovation Unit

Derek Twigg: To ask the Prime Minister what additional projects are planned for the Performance and Innovation Unit; and if he will make a statement. [2335]

The Prime Minister: I have asked the Performance and Innovation Unit to undertake a further project to review the legal and regulatory framework for charities and the wider voluntary and community sector and bring forward proposals for reform.

The Government are committed to working in partnership with charities and the voluntary sector to strengthen their contribution to the health and dynamism of the society and the economy. The project will consider how the regulatory and legal framework could better enable existing organisations to thrive and grow; encourage the development of new types of organisations where needed; and ensure public confidence.

The PIU will report in the winter. The sponsor Minister will be Baroness Morgan.

EU Institutions

Mr. Laws: To ask the Prime Minister what plans he has to bring forward proposals to define and limit the powers of European Union institutions; and if he will make a statement. [1452]

The Prime Minister: The declaration on the future of the Union (Declaration 23) attached to the treaty of Nice lists:

as one of the issues to be addressed by the inter- governmental conference in 2004.

The declaration also states that these discussions should be preceded by a deep and wide debate with all those representing public opinion. That debate has already begun. As I said in my speech in Warsaw in October 2000, the future shape of the institutions should concentrate on delivering real benefits to people in the areas that matter most to them. They should also ensure that the EU becomes more transparent, accountable and relevant.

Voting Systems

Mr. Laws: To ask the Prime Minister by what date he will carry out a review of the new voting systems for elections to (a) the Scottish Parliament, (b) the National Assembly of Wales, (c) the European Parliament and (d) the London Assembly; and if he will make a statement. [1453]

The Prime Minister: We said we will keep the situation under review and we will do so. No decision has yet been made on the precise timing of any formal review process.

Government Annual Reports

David Winnick: To ask the Prime Minister if he will make it his policy to agree to requests for him to give evidence before a Select Committee on the Government annual reports; and if he will make a statement. [1847]

3 Jul 2001 : Column: 94W

The Prime Minister: By long-standing convention, Prime Ministers have not given evidence to Select Committees. I regularly answer questions from members at Prime Minister's questions.

Cabinet Committees

Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Prime Minister if former members of Cabinet Committees are required to submit political diaries and memoirs for clearance by the Cabinet Office prior to publication. [1975]

The Prime Minister: The ministerial code states that former Ministers are required to submit their manuscript to the Secretary of the Cabinet and to conform to the principles set out in the Radcliffe report of 1976 (Cmnd 6386). These principles are drawn to the attention of Ministers when they are appointed and a note of them is included in the Directory of the Civil Service Guidance. Copies of the Directory are in the Libraries of the House and the text is available on-line at

Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Prime Minister what restrictions govern the publication of minutes of meetings of the Joint Cabinet Committee held in the last Parliament. [1977]

The Prime Minister: Details of the proceedings of all Cabinet Committees, including the Joint Cabinet Committee, are exempt from disclosure for 30 years under the internal discussion and advice exemption of the code of practice on access to government information.

Appointments Commission

Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Prime Minister, pursuant to his reply of 25 June 2001, Official Report, column 17W, on the Appointments Commission (1) what categories of individuals other than those ennobled in order to enter the Government as Ministers will be recommended by him for a peerage without reference to the House of Lords Appointments Commission; [2154]

The Prime Minister: With the exception of peerages created to enable individuals to serve as Ministers, all recommendations that I make to the Queen are referred to the House of Lords Appointments Commission for scrutiny. The final decision on whether to recommend those names, however, rests with me, unlike those recommendations proposed by the Commission itself.

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