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Mr. Derek Wyatt (Sittingbourne and Sheppey) (Lab): The Prime Minister will know that I wrote to him last week as chairman of the all-party group on Zimbabwe asking whether the Commonwealth secretariat would consider arranging an eminent persons visit. I noticed that in his statement today he said that a representative group of six Commonwealth members would go. Is that the same thing; if so, has a date yet been fixed for the start of the visit?

The Prime Minister: I do not think that the idea was ever that the six who formed the committee would go to Zimbabwe, but that President Obasanjo should go, and he will go, although Mr. Mugabe will claim that he goes merely as the President of Nigeria and not as the Chairman-in-Office of the Commonwealth. However, there is at the very least a feeling, even among African countries that strongly support our position on Zimbabwe, that it is important that people such as President Obasanjo go to Zimbabwe, in part to make it clear to the Zimbabwean people that initiatives are directed not against them but against the regime. I do not know whether an eminent persons group would

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have any impact on the situation; I suspect that at present we do best to work through the existing mechanisms.

Mr. Henry Bellingham (North-West Norfolk) (Con): There is certainly widespread support in the House for the stance that the Prime Minister took on Zimbabwe during the conference, not least because the appalling regime of Mugabe is hitting the poorest in that community. However, I think that there is disappointment on the Opposition Benches at the Prime Minister's reply to my hon. Friend the Member for New Forest, East (Dr. Lewis), as surely the one person who could really bring pressure to bear is Thabo Mbeki. The Prime Minister mentioned the MDC; it, too, wants Thabo Mbeki to take a much more leading role in getting a grip on things. Why does the Prime Minister feel that Thabo Mbeki is being so weak, so half-hearted and so negative?

The Prime Minister: If we want the President of South Africa to play a role, we do best to deal with the situation in a way that helps him to do so. If I can put things diplomatically, where there is disagreement—as there is over this matter—rather than engaging in an attack on the South African position, it is best simply to indicate why we feel so strongly that the right way to deal with the situation is to change the regime in Zimbabwe and to work with other countries to ensure that. I can tell the hon. Gentleman that we make those points very strongly indeed, but there is a way to do it and we must be careful about that.

Hugh Bayley (City of York) (Lab): Given that two-thirds of all the people in the world who are infected with the HIV virus live in Commonwealth countries, does the Prime Minister believe that the Commonwealth as a whole, not just Britain, has a unique role in providing leadership in the fight against HIV and AIDS? What are African member countries doing to argue that the fight against AIDS should take greater priority in the work of the NEPAD secretariat, and what are the Government doing in preparation for our presidency of the G8 and the EU to ensure that it forms an important part of our agenda?

The Prime Minister: The African countries are taking measures to ensure that they have capacity in their own countries to deal with HIV/AIDS, and a few weeks ago, President Bush and I met several health Ministers from African countries to discuss that. For us, issues relating to climate change and to Africa—including, of course, the problem of HIV/AIDS—will be a main part of our G8 presidency in 2005. That will send out a strong signal of the priority that we attach to those issues.

Mr. Andrew Robathan (Blaby) (Con): I am sure that we all agree entirely with what the Prime Minister has said about Zimbabwe, but may I take him back to the maximum pressure to which he referred earlier? How about adopting the suggestion made by the Select Committee on Foreign Affairs and withdrawing the honorary knighthood that Mugabe was given in 1994? How about raising the matter at the Security Council of the United Nations where it can be debated in world forums and the world can see—as can Zimbabweans

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and black Africans—the contempt in which Mugabe is held? How about extending the sanctions list to the same people as New Zealand does, so that the immediate families of Mugabe's cronies cannot travel around the world spending their ill-gotten gains, and in particular so that Bredenkamp and the paymasters of Mugabe's regime cannot travel around Britain spending their ill-gotten gains?

The Prime Minister: As I said earlier, when the sanctions come up, we should certainly consider how they could be extended without giving people false solace about how effective they might be in sinking the regime. I will certainly consider the honorary knighthood, although I somewhat question how great the impact of the hon. Gentleman's suggestion would be on President Mugabe.

Mr. Robathan: It is a symbol.

The Prime Minister: All these things are symbols, but in the end the most important thing is, as I say, to work to ensure that the pressure does not just come from here, but from within the region.

In respect of the UN, as I said before, we raise this issue regularly at the UN. It is important, however, that we do not put a resolution before the UN Security Council, in particular, unless we are sure that it would succeed because, if we put one and it failed, the impact would be adverse.

Mr. Harry Barnes (North-East Derbyshire) (Lab): On Zimbabwe, does not Nigeria itself show what Commonwealth pressure can bring about in advancing democratic provisions? For instance, the African meeting of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association was recently held in Abuja—perhaps, in time, another such meeting will be held in Harare—and a spin-off is that the Nigerian arrangements to deal with HIV/AIDS have developed into a progressive programme, considerably assisted by our own Department for International Development.

The Prime Minister: My hon. Friend is absolutely right. Indeed, Nigeria represents a model example of a country returning to democracy, and Commonwealth pressure assisted in that, which is why the Commonwealth continuing to suspend Zimbabwe will, of course, have its own impact.

Mr. George Osborne (Tatton) (Con) rose—

Hon. Members: Hear, hear.

Mr. Osborne: I thank my colleagues.

I agree with everything that the Prime Minister says about HIV/AIDS. Of course he is right to work with the drug companies to try to reduce the cost of the drugs, but does he agree that pharmaceutical research is phenomenally expensive—AstraZeneca employs 5,000 on research in my constituency alone—and that it would be a tragedy if the campaign against HIV/AIDS turned into a campaign against international drug companies? We need their help and research, and we must not demonise them.

The Prime Minister: It is precisely for that reason that we as a Government have given such strong support to

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science and research over the past few years. Yes, of course it is important that drug companies play their part, but they are part of the solution, and part of the solution involves us trying in so far as possible, while protecting their interests, to reduce the cost of the generic drugs that can be used to treat HIV/AIDS patients. All the indications now are that such drugs are available—the drug companies have played their part in that—and if we can only put the right capacity together in those countries whose people are suffering from HIV/AIDS, we will be able to take a significant step forward in the treatment of the disease. If the drug companies play their part in that, they should be congratulated.

Mr. Stephen McCabe (Birmingham, Hall Green) (Lab): May I return to the world trade talks? Does the Prime Minister agree that the Commonwealth is an ideally placed organisation and perhaps should do more to campaign on the principles of movements such as the Traidcraft movement, which suggest that investment in trade for developing countries is a good thing, but that it must be done in a manner that supports and reinforces sustainable progress? It should be made absolutely clear to the businesses involved that we will not tolerate exploitative or corrupt practices of the kind that would be intolerable in this country.

The Prime Minister: I am sure that it is right that, when we open up world trade, we do so responsibly. The important thing is to ensure that we break down the open tariffs and barriers as well as the hidden barriers; but the point that my hon. Friend makes about Traidcraft is welcome.

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Orders of the Day

Planning and Compulsory Purchase Bill

[2nd Allotted Day]

Further considered.

New Clause 10

Local Development Plan

'(1) The local planning authority must prepare and maintain a plan to be known as their local development plan ("the plan") which will contain a number of Local Development Documents, each of which will cover a different subject matter as specified in the plan.
(2) The plan must specify—
(a) the documents which are to be local development documents ("the documents");
(b) the subject matter and geographical area to which each document is to relate;
(c) which documents (if any) are to be prepared jointly with one or more other local planning authorities which will be treated the same as if one single authority had prepared it;
(d) any matter or area in respect of which the authority have agreed to (or propose to agree) to the constitution of a joint committee under section 28;
(e) the timetable for the preparation and revision of the documents;
(f) such other matters as are prescribed.
(3) Different plan documents must, amongst other matters, include:
(a) those matters in which the County Council or Unitary Authority has a role;
(b) a plan for each of the larger settlements as detailed in the plan;
(c) a plan for any other settlement which may be designated in the plan;
(d) a plan detailing all section 106 matters including the formula or tariff including the provision of social housing;
(e) a plan detailing how specific planning designations, such as Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty will be operated;
(f) a plan detailing how land use, sustainability and economic regeneration are to be managed;
(g) such other matters as the Secretary of State prescribes.
(4) The local planning authority may withdraw their plan or documents at any time before they are formally adopted.
(5) The local planning authority must—
(a) prepare the plan and documents in accordance with such other requirements as are prescribed;
(b) submit the plan and documents to the Secretary of State at such time as is prescribed or as the Secretary of State (in a particular case) directs;
(c) at that time send a copy of the plan and documents to the RPB or (if the authority are a London borough) to the Mayor of London;
(d) prepare, publish and have regard to a Statement of Community Involvement as negotiated by section 4 of the Local Government Act 2000 (c. 22).
(6) The Secretary of State may direct the local planning authority to make such amendments to the plan or documents as he thinks appropriate, but only when the Secretary of State and Authority can not agree on any matter.

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(7) A direction under subsection (6) above must contain the Secretary of State's reasons for giving it.
(8) The local planning authority must comply with a direction given under subsection (5).
(9) The Secretary of State may make regulations as to the following matters—
(a) publicity about the plan and documents;
(b) making the plan and documents available for inspection by the public;
(c) requirements to be met for the purpose of bringing the plan and documents into effect.
(10) The local planning authority must revise their local development plan and documents—
(a) at such time as they consider appropriate;
(b) when directed to do so by the Secretary of State.
(11) Subsections (2) to (10) above apply to the revision of a plan or documents as they apply to the preparation of the plan or documents.
(12) When preparing the local development plan or documents under (1) and (2) above the local planning authority must have regard to—
(a) national policies and advice contained in guidance issued by the Secretary of State;
(b) the RSS for the region in which the area of the authority is situated, if the area is outside Greater London;
(c) the spatial development strategy if the authority are a London borough or if any part of the authority's area adjoins Greater London;
(d) the RSS for any region which adjoins the area of the authority;
(e) the Wales Spatial Plan if any part of the authority's area adjoins Wales;
(f) the community strategy prepared by the authority;
(g) the community strategy for any other authority whose area comprises any part of the area of the local planning authority;
(h) any other local development document which has been adopted by the authority;
(i) the resources likely to be available for implementing the proposals in the document;
(j) such other matters as the Secretary of State prescribes.
(13) The local planning authority must submit their local development plan and documents in their entirety to the Secretary of State for independent examination.
(14) But the authority must not submit such a plan or document unless—
(a) they have complied with any relevant requirements contained in regulations under this Part, and
(b) they are satisfied that they are ready for independent examination.
(15) The authority must also send to the Secretary of State (in addition to the development plan) such other documents (or copies of documents) and such information as is prescribed.
(16) The examination must be carried out by a person appointed by the Secretary of State to be known as the Independent Inspector.
(17) The purpose of an independent examination is to determine in respect of the local development plan and documents—
(a) whether they satisfy the requirements in this section;
(b) whether they are sound in all material aspects.
(18) Any person who makes representations seeking to change a development plan must (if he so requests) be given the opportunity to submit a summary of each person's representations in writing to the Independent Inspector (as

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defined in subsection 16), who may decline the evidence if he has reason to believe that it is a repetition of evidence which he has already received from another person.
(19) The Independent Inspector must—
(a) make recommendations; and
(b) give reasons for those recommendations.
(20) The local planning authority must publish the recommendations made under subsection (19).'.—[Mr. Clifton-Brown.]

Brought up, and read the First time.

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