The Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs (Harriet Harman): The Department for Constitutional Affairs will be taking forward proposals and legislation on reform of the House of Lords, electoral administration, criminal defence services, the coroner system, reform of legal services, and compensation in the forthcoming session.
We have today introduced, in the other place, the Criminal Defence Bill. This Bill contributes to bringing criminal legal aid expenditure under better control, by allowing for means testing to ensure those who can pay for their criminal defence do so, however providing that they will normally be reimbursed where acquitted.
The Electoral Administration Bill will establish new measures to increase security. It will also introduce measures to make elections more accessible to all members of our society and give new powers to returning officers enabling them to deliver elections and electoral services more efficiently and effectively.
The Government will bring forward measures to reform the House of Lords including: a Committee of both Houses to identify and set out the key conventions of the House of Lords; a reasonable time limit for Bills to proceed through the second chamber; removal of the remaining hereditary peers; and a free vote on the composition of the House.
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The Minister of State, Department of Health (Ms Rosie Winterton): The 200304 annual report for the Commission for Patient and Public Involvement in Health [HC 7], was laid before Parliament today. Copies are available in the Library.
The Minister of State, Department of Health (Ms Rosie Winterton): The 200203 annual report for the Commission for Patient and Public Involvement in Health, [HC 6], was laid before Parliament today. Copies are available in the Library.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport (Derek Twigg): The Department for Transport invited comments on the Environmental Statement for Crossrail when it was published in February. That comment period closed on 17 May, and we have received a substantial number of submissions. Given that we do not expect Second Reading of the Bill to take place until after the Whitsun recess, we have decided to extend the period for comment by three weeks, to 10 June, to give people a further opportunity to offer views on the ES.
Comments on the ES should be sent to Tim Neate, Consultation Manager, Major Projects Division 3, Zone 2/08, 76 Marsham Street, London, SWIP 4DR (e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org). All comments received will be presented to the House and published.
A copy of the ES and non-technical summary (together with supporting specialist reports) are available on the Department for Transport's website at www.dft.gov.uk and on Cross London Rail Links' (CLRL) website at http://billdocuments.crossrail.co.uk/.