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Mr. Cook: I understand my hon. Friend to be correct in saying that the matter now comes within the scope of the Department of Trade and Industry. He makes an interesting point about the way in which the compensation scheme is distributed among communities that have been involved in fishing, and I shall be happy to draw his remarks to the attention of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry.
Miss Anne McIntosh (Vale of York): Is the Leader of the House aware that yet another case of foot and mouth disease has been confirmed in Vale of York today? Will he take this opportunity to impress on the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs that this is not the most appropriate time to revoke the blanket closure of footpaths in north Yorkshire? Will he also investigate the failure of that Department's officials to respect the biosecurity rules that the Department set out? The experience in Vale of York is that farmers have been ruthless in applying those rules, but that the Department's officials have been less so.
Mr. Cook: I am happy to confirm that, in making her announcement today, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State confirmed that she agreed with north Yorkshire's proposals temporarily to retain closures in parts of the county. Therefore, the immediate threat that the hon. Lady apprehends does not exist and north Yorkshire can continue with blanket closures for the time being. As I
[That this House congratulates Barry Town Football Club on their outstanding victory over FC Shamkir in the first leg of the Champions League; recognises the achievement of a two goal advantage for the second leg and only the second ever win in this competition for a League of Wales team; appreciates the contribution made by goalkeeper Tim Clarke in his debut match; and wishes the team all the best for the return match in Baku Azerbaijan, next week.]
It has been signed by Members on both sides of the House and me. Barry Town won the second leg of its champions league tie in Azerbaijan, against all the odds. It was a stunning victory. Although I appreciate that my right hon. Friend probably will not be able to find time for a full debate on this success, will he inform his right hon. Friends of this result, join me in congratulating these giant slayers and wish them all the best in the next round against Porto in Portugal?
Mr. Cook: I am happy to join my hon. Friend in congratulating his local team, and I assure him that I shall draw the attention of my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister to this signal success of British sporting endeavour abroad. I will have to make a particular point of attending the debate on the Football (Disorder) (Amendment) Bill when we return, which plainly will be very interesting.
Dr. Evan Harris (Oxford, West and Abingdon): The Leader of the House has mentioned the importance of fighting the worldwide epidemic of HIV. He will be aware of the growing problem in this country, where new HIV cases last year totalled nearly 3,500the highest-ever incidence of new HIV infection. The picture is similar with gonorrhoea, syphilis and chlamydia among young people.
In spring 1998, the Government promised an HIV strategy for the autumn. In spring 1999, they promised a sexual health strategy for the year 2000. In spring 2000, they promised an integrated strategy for spring 2001, and a draft strategy for autumn 2000: nothing has appeared. Nearly six months ago, the Government said that a strategy would be published shortly, and people were expecting it to be published today. It has not been published.
The Leader of the House is a man of the world. Perhaps he can tell his more coy and bashful colleagues that they must stop behaving like giggling schoolboys and be prepared to tackle the sexual health problems affecting this country. The strategy must be published so that young people in this country can be protected from further infection.
On the forthcoming G8 meeting and the action being taken in Africa, we hope to confirm in Genoa that $1 billion will be available to combat the spread of AIDS and other diseases, such as tuberculosis, in the poorer parts of the world. It is important for those countries that we take that step, but it is also important for us, because until we tackle the worldwide epidemic there can be no insularity for ourselves.
On a serious note, does my right hon. Friend welcome the announcement from the Japanese Environment Minister, Yoriko Kawaguchi, that her Government will sign the Kyoto agreement? Does that mean that the outstanding obstacle is now the attitude of the American Administration? May we have an early debate on this and the other aspects of the so-called special relationship that many of us fear are looking increasingly bad for our health?
Mr. Cook: I appreciate my hon. Friend's comments on Morton. I should take this opportunity, perhaps in sheer self-defence, to congratulate Livingston football club on its promotion to the premier divisionit is long overdue.
On Kyoto, my hon. Friend raises a serious issue that will be at the heart of the discussions between President Bush and the Prime Minister today. We have given a commitment that, with our European colleagues, we will try to ensure that the Kyoto protocol comes into existence. To achieve that, we need the support of other countries such as Japan, and we are working to get that support in Bonn at present. I hope that we will be successful when that conference reconvenes again in November in Marrakesh. On the wider question, I have never taken the view, either as Leader of the House or Foreign Secretary, that the House is short of opportunities to explore and discuss the special relationship.
Mr. Gwyn Prosser (Dover): Will my right hon. Friend find time for a debate on channel tunnel safety? Is he aware of reports that the French authorities continue to arrest as many as 250 would-be illegal immigrants at Coquelles every night, that dozens are still getting through and that they often end up in my constituency? Those desperate people are resorting to desperate measures. There have been many serious injuries and, sadly, four fatalities. Will my right hon. Friend find time for us to debate such matters and to review channel tunnel security?
Mr. Cook: I am very much aware of the problem to which my hon. Friend rightly draws attention. It is, of course, of national and not only local concern, important though it is in his constituency. We have had dialogue with the French authorities on the problem, particularly at Calais. I am pleased to say that we are enjoying good
Kevin Brennan (Cardiff, West): Will my right hon. Friend make time for a debate on cremation charges for very young children? Is he aware of the case of my constituents, Rose and Philip Jones, whose stillborn baby Lisa was disposed of in an incinerator? In the 1980s, the parents had been promised a proper cremation. As a result of that and many other cases, cremation is available for miscarried babies. According to press reports, however, charges may be introducedfor the first time in many casesfor the cremation of very young children. Does my right hon. Friend agree that we should have a debate on ensuring that parents are not punished at their time of greatest grief?
Mr. Cook: I understand entirely the enormous distress caused to a family when a child is lost through miscarriage, and I fully appreciate the great need for emotional sensitivity when handling such a case. My understanding is that in Wales, as elsewhere, the family have the option of having the hospital deal with the foetus or of arranging privately for a cremation. Cremation charges are a devolved matter for the Welsh Assembly, and I am sure that the Minister responsible there will have heard my hon. Friend's comments. I understand the need to approach the matter in a different and more tactful way than one would in other circumstances.