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Written Answers to Questions

Thursday 7 November 2002



Mr. Swayne: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office when he will reply to the hon. Member for New Forest West's letter of 24 September regarding Mr. Douglas Alexander. [80218]

Mr. Alexander: My officials wrote to the hon. Member on the 7 October 2002, explaining that the subject matter raised was better suited to the Department for Works and Pensions and had been transferred. I understand that they will be responding shortly.

Public Consultations

Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what public consultations have been commenced by his Department in each month since 10 July; and what the (a) start date, (b) closing date and (c) website address of each were. [80263]

Mr. Alexander: The information for formal national public written consultations by the Cabinet Office is as follows:


Honours Scrutiny Committee

Ms Bridget Prentice: To ask the Prime Minister, what the responsibilities are of the Honours Scrutiny Committee. [80386]

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The Prime Minister: The membership of the Honours Scrutiny Committee and its responsibilities are set out in an Order of Council dated 18 October 2002. I am placing copies of the Order in the Libraries of both Houses.

Royal Prerogative

Mr. Graham Allen: To ask the Prime Minister, pursuant to his Answer of 17 October, Official Report, column 78W, on royal prerogative, if he will make a fuller statement of the reasons for his statement that the House is already given the opportunity to debate such decisions. [78884]

The Prime Minister: I refer the hon. Member to the statement I gave to the House on Tuesday 24 September, Official Report, column 7.

Prime Ministerial Visits

Norman Baker: To ask the Prime Minister if he will list the towns in the UK he has visited in his official capacity during this Parliament. [79025]

The Prime Minister [holding answer 6 November 2002]: Records of my official visits are not categorised in this way. My visits cover a range of matters including health, education, and tourism. I also travel regularly to my constituency.

I travel making the most efficient and cost-effective arrangements. My travel arrangements are in accordance with the arrangements for official travel set out in chapter 7 of the Ministerial Code, and the accompanying guidance document, Travel by Ministers.

My Office's records show that I have undertaken the following visits in the UK since June 2001:

22 June 2001Newton Aycliffe
26–27 JulyCarlisle
1–2 SeptemberEdinburgh
7–8 SeptemberHartlepool
11 SeptemberBrighton
2 OctoberBrighton
30 OctoberBristol
5 NovemberBirmingham
22–23 NovBirmingham
27 NovemberLondon
3 DecemberLondon
6 DecemberLondon
6 DecemberReading
10 DecemberHockley
20–21 DecemberSunderland
24 January 2002Darlington, Newcastle, Newton Aycliffe
12 FebruaryLondon
20 FebruaryLondon
21–22 FebruaryNewcastle
21–22 MarchManchester
25 MarchLondon
11–12 AprilNewton Aycliffe
18 AprilLondon
2 MayBelfast
7 MayGlasgow
9 MayLondon
23 MayBrentford
30 MayNorwich
1–3 JuneDurham
10 JuneStreatham
20 JuneGlasgow
4 JulyBelfast
12 JulyMiddlesborough
25–27 JulyOldham
Billingham, Stockton
1–4 AugustWigton
Whitehaven, Manchester
30 AugustLondon
3 SeptemberSedgefield
8 SeptemberBalmoral
9–10 SeptemberPreston
18 SeptemberLondon
28 September–3 OctoberBeswick
14 OctoberLondon
17 OctoberBelfast
18 OctoberDurham
Newton Aycliffe
24 OctoberNottingham
31 OctoberLondon

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European Council

Keith Vaz: To ask the Prime Minister what discussions he has had with the German Chancellor on proposals for reform of the European Council; and whether it is his policy to pursue a joint position on these matters. [80043]

The Prime Minister: I wrote a joint letter with Chancellor Schröder in February on proposals for Council reform. These ideas were taken forward in the agreement reached at the Seville European Council.

We are now further developing these ideas with all our European partners.


Keith Vaz: To ask the Prime Minister if he will make a statement on his recent meeting at Chequers with the Prime Minister of India; and when he next plans to visit India. [79930]

The Prime Minister: I met the Indian Prime Minister on 12 October 2002. We had a wide-ranging discussion of international and bilateral issues. I stressed the importance of the bilateral relationship and welcomed the progress made on implementing the New Delhi Declaration signed during my visit to India in January

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this year. I also reiterated the UK's support for India's permanent membership of the UN Security Council. I congratulated Mr. Vajpayee on the successful Jammu and Kashmir elections. We discussed next steps in the region. I also raised the consular cases of Ian Stillman, Peter Bleach and the British citizens killed in Gujarat earlier this year.

I also refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Blaenau Gwent (Llew Smith) on 28 October 2002, Official Report, column 604W.

I currently have no plans to visit India.

London Mayor

Keith Vaz: To ask the Prime Minister when he last met the Mayor of London in an official capacity. [79926]

The Prime Minister: I have meetings with a wide range of organisations and individuals, including the Mayor of London. As with previous Administrations it is not my practice to provide details of all such meetings, under exemption 2 of the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information.

European Convention on the Future of Europe

Keith Vaz: To ask the Prime Minister if he will make a statement on the European Convention on the Future of Europe. [79929]

The Prime Minister: The convention is making good progress. President Valery Giscard d'Estaing's outline constitutional treaty, published last week, provides a useful framework for the next stage in the discussions. The convention is expected to conclude in June 2003.

Swaminarayan Hindu Mission

Keith Vaz: To ask the Prime Minister what representations he has received from the Swaminarayan Hindu Mission concerning their dispute with Brent Council. [80053]

The Prime Minister: As far as I am aware I have received two letters from the Swaminarayan Hindu Mission on this issue.

Parliamentary Questions

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Prime Minister how many (a) Parliamentary Questions and (b) letters to him from hon. Members in this session remain unanswered, broken down by those which are (i) one month old, (ii) two months old, (iii) three months old, (iv) four months old and (v) over six months old. [79948]

The Prime Minister: No parliamentary questions remain unanswered.

Since June 2001 I have received approximately 3,638 letters from Members of Parliament including invitations and requests concerning constituency matters which were dealt with as appropriate.

I have received about 800,000 items of post since June 2001, and my office has worked hard to deal with them as efficiently as possible.

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