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Mr. Heathcoat-Amory: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if foreign employees of Europol are immune from prosecution while on duty in the UK. [9966]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: Europol employees, whether or not foreign nationals, would be immune from prosecution for acts undertaken in the exercise of their official functions. These privileges and immunities, which are comparable with those routinely afforded to the staff of international organisations, are granted only in so far as they are necessary for the proper functioning of Europol. Europol is obliged to observe national laws and to waive immunities where possible in cases where the immunity would impede the course of justice.


Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many visas for temporary stays in the United Kingdom (a) were issued and (b) have expired in each year since 1997; and of the latter (i) how many holders are known to have left the country and (ii) how many holders are known not to have left the country (A) because of applications for asylum, (B) for other lawful reasons and (C) for other unlawful reasons. [8465]

Angela Eagle: Information on the number of temporary visas issued is given in the table. This is the latest available published information. Data for 2000 are due to be published this year in the Command Paper "Control of Immigration Statistics United Kingdom 2000", a copy of which will be placed in the House of Commons Library.

It is not possible to determine how many persons have left the country as the United Kingdom no longer has embarkation controls.

Information on the number of visas which have expired is not currently available.

Entry clearance applications granted for temporary purposes

YearEntry clearance issued


Data rounded to the nearest 10


Peter Bradley: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) how soon he would be able to bring forward legislation to legalise cannabis following a recommendation to that effect arising from current trials; [10541]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth [holding answer 26 October 2001]: Detailed evidence about clinical trials with cannabis and derivatives was presented to the House of Lords Select Committee on Science and Technology Inquiry into

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therapeutic uses of cannabis. This information is recorded in the Committee's reports "Cannabis: The Scientific and Medical Evidence" (Ninth Report Session 1997–1998, HL Paper 151) and "Therapeutic Uses of Cannabis" (Second Report Session 2000–2001 HL Paper 50), copies of which are available in the Library. The timings relating to on-going trials are clearly a matter for the sponsors, but I understand that GW Pharmaceuticals hope to have completed phase 3 trials, which are a prelude to a licensing application, by next summer.

The Government welcome these trials and my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary has made it clear that if a product licence is recommended by the Medicines Control Agency he would approve the necessary changes to the Misuse of Drugs legislation. These changes can be made swiftly, by way of secondary legislation subject to negative resolution, although it is not possible at this time to give precise timings.

Mr. Jon Owen Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) if the Metropolitan Police intend to extend its policy on not arresting cannabis users in Lambeth to other parts of London; [8650]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: Lambeth borough is currently conducting a pilot warning scheme for simple cases of possession of cannabis for personal use, running from 2 July to 31 December 2001.

My right hon. Friend the Home Secretary has announced his intention to reclassify cannabis, from Class B to Class C under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971, and has asked the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs for medical and scientific advice. He will consider this advice in conjunction with the findings of the evaluation of the Lambeth pilot. The Home Secretary intends to take a final decision in the spring of next year.

Asylum Seekers

Sir Patrick Cormack: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many asylum seekers whose applications were refused during (a) 1999 and (b) 2000 have now left the country; and what proportion this represents of the total in each case. [10629]

Angela Eagle: It is not possible to say how many persons whose asylum applications were refused in 1999 and 2000 have subsequently left the country. Applicants may leave voluntarily without informing the Home Office, or may be in the process of preparing an appeal or awaiting the outcome of an appeal.

The total number of asylum seekers who were removed (excluding dependants) from the United Kingdom in 1999 and 2000 is given in the table. Some of these removals will relate to decisions to refuse asylum in earlier years.

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YearTotal asylum removals(11),(12)

(11) Includes persons departing 'voluntarily' after enforcement action was initiated against them.

(12) Persons who sought asylum at some point, excluding dependants. Includes persons leaving under the Voluntary Assisted Returns Programme.

(13) Provisional.


Figures rounded to the nearest five.

Mr. Malins: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans he has to introduce a system enabling the Government to monitor the whereabouts of asylum seekers who are not detained; and if he will make a statement. [9457]

Angela Eagle: There are a number of existing mechanisms by which the Government monitor the whereabouts of asylum seekers who are not detained. A number of options for improving these procedures are under consideration.

My right hon. Friend the Home Secretary will make a statement shortly setting out our proposals.


Civil Nuclear Installations (Security Threat)

Mr. Chaytor: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assessment she has made of the security threat posed by civil nuclear installations and processes as objects of terrorist attacks. [8372]

Mr. Wilson: It is not our policy to disclose details of security measures taken at civil nuclear sites. All aspects of required security arrangements for civil nuclear sites are kept under continuing review by the Director of Civil Nuclear Security, who regulates security in the civil nuclear industry.

Small Businesses (Data Protection)

Brian Cotter: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what action she is taking to make small businesses aware of their obligation to register the use of CCTV equipment under the Data Protection Acts. [8281]

Nigel Griffiths: The Small Business Service have agreed with the Office of the Information Commissioners that they will jointly produce guidance on the Data Protection Acts, including the use of CCTV, which meets the needs of small business.

Small Business Service Awards

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what is a SMART award in relation to the Small Business Service; and how the 581 companies granted the award qualified for it. [10162]

Nigel Griffiths: Small Business Service SMART awards are grants to individuals or small and medium sized businesses to help with the costs of either engaging a technology consultant or researching and developing a technologically innovative new product or process.

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The successful applicants qualified for their awards by putting forward project proposals which met the selection criteria published in the Guidance Notes for Applicants. The criteria depend on the particular type of award sought and include the size of the business, the technical and commercial viability of the project proposal and the applicant, the need for the award, the level of innovation and technical risk involved in the project and the prospects for exploitation of the project outcome. Full details of SMART applications are available in the Library of the House.

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