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Democatic Republic of the Congo

Norman Lamb: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if she will make a statement on whether she plans to make aid disbursements to Burundi, Rwanda and Uganda conditional on compliance with relevant agreements in the Lusaka peace process and on verifiable measures taken to halt the illegal and illicit exploitation of the resources of the Democratic Republic of the Congo as recommended by the report of the UN Panel of Experts. [81321]

Clare Short: Compliance with the terms of Lusaka and other regional peace agreements has been taken into account in assessing the nature and scale of our development partnerships with Burundi, Rwanda and Uganda, and their responses to the UN Panel report will be factored into future assessments. The recent decisions by the Rwandan and Ugandan Governments to withdraw their forces from the DRC have been significant and very positive contributions to the fulfilment of the Lusaka accord and to the goal of peace in the DRC.


Mr. Swire: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how much money was pledged by Her Majesty's Government to Afghanistan to help rebuild that country since October 2001; how much money has been paid by Her Majesty's Government to bodies in Afghanistan tasked with rebuilding that country; what percentage of money pledged to Afghanistan was promised to non-governmental organisations; and what percentage of money pledged to NGOs in the rebuilding of Afghanistan has been paid. [77942]

Clare Short: At the international donor conference in Tokyo in January 2002, the UK Government pledged #200 million of Department for International Development (DFID) resources over five years for humanitarian and reconstruction needs in Afghanistan. This was in addition to the approximately #60 million DFID had provided to address the immediate humanitarian need since October 2001. For the current

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financial year DFID have allocated #65 million for Afghanistan, of which just over half has been disbursed. Of this #7.7 million has been allocated directly to NGOs, of which over 95 per cent. has been disbursed. My Department have made significant contributions towards UN humanitarian appeals, which are putting into place important foundations for Afghanistan's longer term reconstruction. #10 million has been paid into the Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund to help meet the costs of the Afghanistan Transitional Authority.



Mr. Donaldson: To ask the Prime Minister what plans there are for the Independent Appointments Commission to make further appointments of non-party political peers to the House of Lords. [80674]

The Prime Minister: The make-up of the House of Lords is kept constantly under review.


Mr. Allen: To ask the Prime Minister if he will place in the Library a table of his Departments' performance in replying to Members' correspondence. [80525]

The Prime Minister: The Cabinet Office, on an annual basis, publishes a report to Parliament on the volume of Members' correspondence received by Departments. The report for 2001 was published on Friday 24 May 2002, Official Report, column 674W. Copies of previous reports are available in the Library of the House. The report for 2002 will be published as soon as possible after the end of the current calendar year.

For information about the handling of correspondence within my own office, I refer my honourable Friend to my reply to the hon. Member for Sutton and Cheam (Mr. Burstow) on 7 November 2002, Official Report, column 444W.


Mrs. Iris Robinson: To ask the Prime Minister if he will make a statement on the result of the referendum in Gibraltar. [80814]

The Prime Minister: We have always been clear, as I reaffirmed to the House on 6 November, that no deal will be imposed on the people of Gibraltar against their will. Our aim remains a better future for Gibraltar and resolution of the problems it faces. We will continue our dialogue with Spain and Gibraltar to this end.


Mr. Alan Williams: To ask the Prime Minister what the ceiling is on the value of gifts which may be retained by Ministers when they are undertaking official visits. [80817]

The Prime Minister: Guidance on the acceptance of gifts is set out in paragraphs 136 to 138 of the Ministerial Code.

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Leak Inquiries

Mr. Allen: To ask the Prime Minister if he will make it his practice to decide whether to comment on leak inquiries on a case-by-case basis. [80521]

The Prime Minister: No. In order to safeguard security and investigative arrangements, it has been the practice of successive governments not to comment on the conduct and outcome of leak inquiries.

Legal Advice

Mr. Allen: To ask the Prime Minister if he will make it his policy to put the legal advice given to Government in the Library, when appropriate. [80523]

The Prime Minister: There is a longstanding convention, followed by successive Governments and reflected in the ministerial code, that legal advice to the Government remains confidential. This enables Government to obtain frank and full legal advice in confidence, as everyone else can.

Ministerial Code

Mr. Liddell-Grainger: To ask the Prime Minister whether he has amended paragraph 27 of the Ministerial Code relating to current announcements. [80644]

The Prime Minister: The Government's position on paragraph 27 of the Ministerial Code remains as set out in its response to the second report of the Public Administration Select Committee on the Ministerial Code (HC 439).

Mr. Liddell-Grainger: To ask the Prime Minister what guidance he gives to Ministers who are in breach of the Ministerial Code relating to public announcements. [80645]

The Prime Minister: As section 1 of the Ministerial Code makes clear, Ministers are accountable to Parliament for their decisions and action. This includes the content and timing of individual announcements.

Ministerial Travel

Mr. Tyrie: To ask the Prime Minister what the total cost to the Government was of chartering (a) RAF and (b) civil aircraft for ministerial travel between 31 March 2001 and 31 March 2002. [80527]

The Prime Minister: The overall cost of Ministers' visits overseas and the annual list of overseas visits by Cabinet Ministers costing more than #500 for the period 1 April 2001 to 31 March 2002 were published on 24 July 2002, Official Report, column 1373W. The list provides details of the occasions in which RAF aircraft or private charter flights were used and the cost.

Parliamentary Questions

Mr. Allen: To ask the Prime Minister (1) if he will list the areas of written questioning on which he will not answer written questions in this session; [80522]

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The Prime Minister: Ministers' responsibilities are set out in the XList of Ministerial Responsibilities". Answers to Parliamentary Questions are provided in accordance with the Ministerial Code and the Civil Service Code.

Press Briefings

Mr. Liddell-Grainger: To ask the Prime Minister what embargos are in place relating to press notices concerning legislation to be proposed in the Queen's Speech; and if he will make a statement on his policy relating to briefing the press, with special reference to the Extradition Bill. [80643]

The Prime Minister: Background notes relating to the Queen's Speech are issued to parliamentary journalists at 0930 hours on the day of the speech. These notes are strictly embargoed until after Her Majesty the Queen has completed her Speech. This has been the practice of this Government and previous Administrations. No background note was issued in relation to the Extradition Bill, which did not appear in the Queen's Speech, and the Home Office held a briefing for journalists on the day the Bill was published.

Royal Prerogative

Mr. Allen: To ask the Prime Minister if he will list the powers which he may exercise under the Royal Prerogative; and if he will make it his policy to (a) keep a list of his use of Royal Prerogative powers and (b) place it in the Library each year. [80520]

The Prime Minister: Records are not kept of the individual occasions on which powers under the Royal Prerogative are exercised, nor could it be practicable to do so.

Security Services

Mr. Allen: To ask the Prime Minister if he will publish the full accounts of the Security Services. [80519]

The Prime Minister: No. It is long-standing Government policy not to comment on details of intelligence and security matters. While the overall budget of the Security and Intelligence Agencies is made public in the Single Intelligence Account, the budgets of the individual agencies are not. The Intelligence and Security Committee scrutinises the detail of each agency's finances on Parliament's behalf.

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