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Mr. Bercow: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what the cost in 200001 was of the appointment of a health officer in the Public Record Office; and what it will be in 200102. 
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Ms Rosie Winterton: The level of sickness absence in the Public Record Office is calculated by calendar year in accordance with Civil Service practice. The figures for the calendar years 1999 and 2000 are as follows:
2000: 10.63 days per person per staff year.
Ms Rosie Winterton: The Public Record Office (PRO) has let a contract to provide its UK National Digital Archive of Datasets facility for preserving and making available Government datasets to the University of London Computing Centre. The purpose of the contract is to enable the PRO to use highly specialist skills of the University of London in the long-term preservation of electronic data so that the PRO can fulfil its obligation under the Public Records Act 1958 to preserve and make available to the public datasets selected for permanent preservation. Further information about the service and access to those datasets which are open to public inspection under the terms of the Public Records Act 1958 is available on the PRO website at: http://www.pro.gov.uk/ recordsmanagement/uknda/default.htm.
Mr. Bercow: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department if she will make a statement on the £110,000 awarded in 200102 as grant in aid to Newcastle University for research into provision of information meetings. 
Ms Rosie Winterton: The Department is funding further research following the Final Evaluation Report on Information Meetings and Associated Provisions within the Family Law Act 1996, which was published on 16 January 2001. The study will follow up some of the volunteers who participated in the pilot information meetings, to assess the longer term outcomes in their cases over a 30-month period and in particular to assess what use they have made of the information provided to them. The research will contribute to the development of policy on providing information to divorcing couples, and to the development of Family Advice and Information Networks. The amount of grant in aid to be paid in 200102 is approximately £80,000, and it is expected that the total cost of the study will not exceed £191,500. The report of its findings is expected in June 2002 and will be published.
Mr. Wills: Research into the deliberations of juries is subject to the provisions of section 8(1) of the Contempt of Court Act 1981. Sir Robin Auld in his recent report on the criminal courts recommended that no amendment should be made to section 8(1) of the Contempt of Court
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Ms Rosie Winterton: Statistics held by the General Council of the Bar show that as at 7 November 2001, out of a total of 1,086 Queen's Counsel, 23 men and two women have stated that they are members of ethnic minority communities, although these statements are voluntary and not definitive.
Mr. Malins: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what proportion of the additional money granted to the Lord Chancellor's Department to clear the backlog of asylum appeals will be made available to the Legal Services Commission for representation for appellants; and if she will make a statement. 
Ms Rosie Winterton: In total an additional £80 million has been granted to the Community Legal Service Fund for the three year period 200102 to 200304 to meet the additional pressures that result from the Government's plans for speeding up the asylum process and reducing the backlog of cases. That sum represents 29 per cent. of the total additional money granted to the Department for asylum matters.
Mr. Stunell: To ask the Prime Minister what response Her Majesty's Government have made to the request by the Government of the Republic of Ireland on 26 October for a voluntary suspension of the authorisation of the Sellafield Mox plant; and if he will make a statement. 
The Prime Minister: The decision that the manufacture of MOX fuel was justified was made by the Secretaries of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and for Health on 3 October. The Government of the Republic of Ireland are challenging this decision in the International Tribunal of the Law of the Sea. The Secretaries of State have declined Ireland's request to suspend their decision.
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The Prime Minister: The Government's White Paper on further reform of the House of Lords "The House of LordsCompleting the Reform" CM 5291 proposes that the statutory appointments commission will select independent members of the reformed House on the basis of defined criteria on experience, commitment and the overall balance of representation in the Chamber.
The Prime Minister [holding answer 15 November 2001]: Ms Hunter had planned to leave her job after the general election, and had been in discussions with BP. I asked her to stay on to help see in the new Government and bed down the new structures which were being put in place. However, there had always been an understanding that she would be likely to leave in the autumn. BP announced her employment on Thursday 8 November.
Norman Baker: To ask the Prime Minister if he will list the dates since 1 May 1997 on which (a) he, (b) one or more of his special advisers, (c) one or more civil servants based at 10 Downing street and (d) one or more civil servants based within the Cabinet Office have met representatives from BP, setting out the purpose and consequence of each such meeting. 
The Prime Minister: It was announced on Tuesday 13 November that the right hon. Lord Cullen be appointed Lord President of the Court of Session. On appointment as Lord President, Lord Cullen also becomes Lord Justice General.
The Prime Minister: The proposed missile defence systems are not designed to protect against the type of attack seen on 11 September. The events of 11 September have shown however that there are those who will seek to attack, with whatever means are available, the United States, its friends and allies. In the future, this might include ballistic missiles. Our position with regard to missile
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defence remains unchanged. We believe that it is important to tackle all these potential threats with a comprehensive strategy that includes arms control, counter-proliferation, diplomacy, deterrence and defensive measures. We understand the role that missile defence can play as one element of that comprehensive strategy, but as yet we have had no specific proposal from the United States.
Mr. Alan Simpson: To ask the Prime Minister what assessment he has made of the compatibility of the Outer Space Treaty with the proposed US national missile defence programme as it applies to use of UK bases. 
The Prime Minister: The United States Administration have not yet decided how they will proceed with their missile defence programme and have made no requests for the use of facilities in the UK for missile defence purposes. Any specific assessment is therefore premature.
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