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Mr. Brady: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether it is his Department's policy that all British citizens living overseas should be able to vote in a referendum on the Constitution. 
Mr. MacShane: A Bill providing for the holding of the referendum is still to be published. However, in general terms a UK citizen who, when resident in the UK, was registered to vote and who then takes up residence abroad is entitled to apply to the electoral registration officer for the area in which they were most recently registered in the UK, in order to be placed on the "overseas electors' list". Entitlement to be included on the overseas electors' list is limited to a period of 15 years from the time that the applicant was last included on a UK electoral register and entitles them to vote in elections in the UK. Those on the overseas electors list would likewise be entitled to vote in a referendum if its franchise were the same as a Parliamentary election in the UK.
Mr. Brady: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what proposals his Department has to celebrate Europe Day on 9 May 2005; and what budget he has set aside for this purpose. 
Mr. Alan Duncan: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps his Department is taking to press for a peace agreement to resolve the conflict affecting Darfur in Sudan. 
[holding answer 29 November 2004]: We are actively pressing the Government of Sudan and the rebels to end the fighting in Darfur and reach a political settlement, and building on the Humanitarian and Security Protocols that were signed on 9 November. We are closely involved in the African Union (AU)-mediated peace talks in Abuja, where the UK participates as an observer. We are working alongside the AU to enhance the AU observer mission in Darfur. And we are
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continuing to play a leading role in the UN Security Council in maximising the pressure on the parties. Security Council Resolution 1574 reaffirms the readiness of the international community to apply sanctions on the Sudanese parties if they fail to fulfil their commitments.
Mr. Alan Duncan: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1) how much money his Department (a) has given since 1 January and (b) intends to give to the African Union to fund its forces in Darfur; and if he will make a statement; 
Mr. Mullin [holding answer 29 November 2004]: The UK is providing significant financial support to the African Union (AU) mission in Darfur, through the Africa Conflict Prevention Pool, which is a joint DFID/FCO/MOD fund.
In May the UK contributed £2 million to help jump-start the AU mission in Darfur. In August, we helped to pay for the airlift of 150 Nigerian troops into Darfur and provided rations packs at a total cost of approximately £220,000. On 7 October my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister announced a further contribution of £12 million to support the expanded AU mission. It is for the AU to decide exactly how they allocate this money; we are in close touch with them on this.
Mr. Alan Duncan: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what information his Department has received regarding the likely date by which a peace agreement to resolve the conflict affecting Darfur in Sudan might be signed. 
Mr. Mullin [holding answer 29 November 2004]: The next round of the African Union-mediated peace talks being held in Abuja is due to begin on 10 December. We will continue to urge the parties to engage seriously and in good faith to reach a political solution to the crisis in Darfur as soon as possible.
We welcome the commitment to the Security Council in Nairobi by the Government of Sudan and the Sudan Peoples Liberation Movement to conclude a comprehensive peace agreement by 31 December. The implementation of this agreement should have a positive impact on the situation in Darfur.
Dr. Julian Lewis: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office whether an estimate exists of the overall cost within the current budget of her Department of the overall cost of creating a separate Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster. 
David Hamilton: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) how many people in (a) Scotland and (b) the United Kingdom are in receipt of industrial injuries benefit in relation to exposure of asbestos dust; 
|Prescribed Disease||Great Britain||Scotland|
Mr. David Stewart: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) what assessment he has made of the suitability of Inverness as a site for benefit processing; and if he will make a statement; 
The Secretary of State has asked me to reply to your questions concerning the suitability of Inverness as a site for benefit processing and when a decision will be made on the location of the benefit processing centres in Scotland. This is something which falls within the responsibilities delegated to me as Chief Executive of Jobcentre Plus.
You will recall that the Secretary of State, Alan Johnson, announced in September that(subject to detailed planning(benefit processing will in future be carried out in 8 sites in Scotland, The locations chosen are: Inverness, Coatbridge, Kilmarnock, Glasgow, Springburn, Bathgate, Clydebank and Greenock. Further detailed planning and design work is continuing in these sites, and I expect to be in a position to confirm these choices early in the New Year.
I can confirm that, following appraisals undertaken by our Project Team, the social security office in Inverness appears suitable for conversion to a processing centre and remains part of our current plans for benefit processing in Scotland.
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