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My right hon. Friend will be aware that this week a report was published on mobile phones and other telecommunications equipment, including masts. Does he agree that that is an important report, so it is right and proper that the House should have the opportunity to look at some of the issues arising from it? In particular, does he agree that some of the commitments made by services such as Airwave about monitoring equipment are not always kept? The issue has caused a great deal of alarm among members of the public, who would like us to take it up. Can he therefore find time for such a debate?
Mr. Hain: I shall certainly look at the matter, which the Government agree is important. We already support a £7.4 million mobile telecommunications and health research programme, which is jointly funded by the industry, but my hon. Friend has raised an issue about which there is widespread concern across the country and, indeed, in the House. He has the opportunity, as do other Members, to apply for a debate. Given the concern that exists in the House, it may be possible to hold an early debate.
Mr. John Wilkinson (Ruislip-Northwood) (Con): The Leader of the House will remember that when the Greater London Authority Bill became law, Her Majesty's Government promised that the House would still hold regular debates on London matters. Is he conscious of the fact that that has not occurred? In view of the burgeoning deficit of Transport for London, which will add to the already hefty precept paid by Londoners, it is time that Parliament debated London matters in the House, not Westminster Hall, as a matter of urgency.
Mr. Hain: As the hon. Gentleman knows, the Minister for London regularly answers questions before the House, and the hon. Gentleman has the opportunity to raise all sorts of issues with him and to apply for a debate. Notwithstanding the House's pre-eminent interest in such matters, he will also understand that, because of devolution, another authority is responsible for running such services and implementing policies. Obviously, adjustments have to be made in the way that we prioritise matters, given devolution, but the Minister for London is accountable and responsible to the House, and that will continue.
Mrs. Jackie Lawrence (Preseli Pembrokeshire) (Lab): Before Second Reading of the Higher Education Bill, will my right hon. Friend find time for a debate on the position of the university vice-chancellors? It is particularly important in view of the scathing comments made at a recent all-party group meeting on the position of the Liberals and Conservatives as being risible and beneath contempt.
Mr. Nigel Dodds (Belfast, North) (DUP): In the light of the very serious rioting that took place last night inside one of Her Majesty's prisons at Maghaberry in Northern Ireland, the very serious threats to prison officers' security in their own homes and the threat of possible industrial action arising from that, will the Leader of the House arrange for the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland to come urgently before the House to make a statement on those important matters concerning prisons in Northern Ireland, which could affect stability on the streets of Northern Ireland?
Mr. Hain: I understand the importance of that matter, and I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for raising it. Northern Ireland Ministers are talking to the Prison Officers Association about those matters. Obviously, they will want to keep the House informed in the appropriate way, and I am sure that they will want to keep him informed about the outcome.
Richard Burden (Birmingham, Northfield) (Lab): Will my right hon. Friend find an opportunity in the next week for the House to recognise the death of Tom Hurndall, the British photographer who died on Tuesday night, having been in a coma for several months after he had been shot by an Israeli soldier while trying to rescue Palestinian children in the Gaza strip? If there were an opportunity to have such a debate in the House, we could use it, first, to pay tribute to Tom's bravery; secondly, to pay tribute to the dignity and determination that his family have shown during their ordeal over the past few months; thirdly, to ensure that the charges against the soldier who has been arrested for the shooting fit the severity of the crime and to make representations to Israel about that; and, fourthly, to suggest that all the evidence about that case should be made available to Tom's family. Finally, if we are to honour Tom and his memory, may I draw my right hon. Friend's attention to early-day motion 407, regarding Israel's separation wall?
[That this House calls on Israel to cease immediately the building of its Separation Wall deep within Palestinian territory, which, according to the preliminary analysis by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs of maps published by the Israeli Government, will be 687 km long and will leave more than
Mr. Hain: This was an absolutely appalling incident and a stain on the record of the Israeli defence force, and I join my hon. Friend in paying tribute to Tom Hurndall and to the dignity of his family, who have suffered gravely over the past few months. On the question of providing evidence to the family, I am sure that my hon. Friend will welcome the fact that Baroness Symons is writing to the Israeli Foreign Minister with the family's request for information, and we will certainly do all that we can to help in this situation.
Sir George Young (North-West Hampshire) (Con): When will we have the annual debate on the rate support grant settlement? Is the Leader of the House aware of the widespread disbelief in Hampshire and elsewhere that council tax increases can be held to the level expected by the Government? A very large number of hon. Members on both sides of the House will want to take part in that debate, so will he organise adequate time and separate it from the debate about police resources? Those issues are traditionally discussed in the same debate, but this year they deserve separate debates of their own.