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6 Jun 2005 : Column 244W—continued

Identity Cards

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment he has made of the likely impact of identity cards on the operation of human rights legislation. [1054]

Mr. McNulty [holding answer 27 May 2005]: The Identity Cards Bill is compatible with the United Kingdom's obligations under the European Convention on Human Rights. The Home Secretary signed a declaration to that effect on 19 May 2005.

The previous Bill was subject to scrutiny by the Joint Committee on Human Rights. The Home Secretary published his response to the interim report on 8 February 2005.

Mark Fisher: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list the bodies that will be entitled to access files of individuals stored on the identity card database. [1180]

Mr. McNulty: No bodies will be entitled to access files of individuals stored on the National Identity Register (NIR) other than those responsible for the administration of the scheme and the National Identity Scheme Commissioner in support of his functions.

The ID cards scheme verification service will confirm and in some cases provide information held on the Register to accredited organisations but only with the consent of the card holder, as set out in Clause 14 of the Bill.

Clauses 15–17 of the Identity Cards Bill provide for Parliament to agree powers for specified public services to require identity checks. Parliament will have to agree the rules for identity checks on a service by service basis.
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Clause 19–23 of the Bill also allow for information held on the register to be provided without the card holders consent to the Director-General of the Security Service, the Chief of the Secret Intelligence Service, the Director of the Government Communications Headquarters, a Chief Officer of Police and Commissioners for Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs.

Parliament can also agree via regulations for information to be provided without consent to a prescribed government department, to a prescribed Northern Ireland government department, a designated documents authority and other public authorities. This is subject to regulations set out in Clause 23.

In all of these cases the Bill allows for information to be provided to specified organisations by the Secretary of State. This is not the same as giving these organisations access to the Register.

Mark Fisher: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list the existing (a) biometric databases and (b) non-biometric databases on which he will model his identity card database. [1203]

Mr. McNulty: At present the requirements for the National Identity Register (NIR) are being established. The NIR may share features with solutions used for passport and driving licence but there are no databases, biometric or non-biometric, which can be taken as a direct model in which to base the NIR.

Migrant Workers (EU Accession States)

Mr. Denham: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what assessment he has made of the impact of workers from EU accession states on labour market stability; if he will publish the results of that assessment; and if he will make a statement; [535]

(2) what assessment he has made of the numbers of workers from countries which became member states on 1 May 2004 who have registered in the UK; and in which (a) sectors and (b) types of employment these workers are engaged. [536]

Mr. McNulty [holding answer 25 May 2005]: An early assessment of the impact of the free movement of workers from central and Eastern Europe on the UK labour market was published on 26 May 2005 on the Department for Work and Pensions website

The Accession Monitoring report, published on the Home Office website on 26 May 2005 contains management information showing the number of workers registered under the Worker Registration Scheme between 1 May 2004 to 31 March 2005, the sectors in which they are working and the occupations. The report is available at

Sexual Offences Act

Vera Baird: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans he has to assess the effectiveness of the Sexual Offences Act 2003. [570]

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Paul Goggins: The Sexual Offences Act 2003 only came into force in May 2004 and it is too soon to make formal assessments of its effectiveness. The Inter-Departmental Ministerial Group on Sexual Offending (IDMGSO) has agreed that a full review of the impact of the legislation will be commenced in May 2006 when the necessary data will be available to assess its effectiveness.


Detainees (Treatment)

Mr. Streeter: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to paragraph 80 of the Intelligence and Security Committee's Report, The Handling of Detainees by UK intelligence personnel in Afghanistan, Guantanamo Bay and Iraq", (Cm. 6469), on what dates before 28 June 2004 members of the armed forces (a) escorted civilian intelligence personnel to US-controlled detention facilities in Iraq, (b) handed such personnel over to US armed forces or other US personnel and (c) handed such personnel over to civilian contractors. [529]

Mr. Ingram: The information is not held centrally and could be collated only at disproportionate cost.

Adam Price: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether (a) detainees, (b) security internees and (c) enemy prisoners of war transferred by British forces to the United States military have been subject to any form of sensory deprivation. [236]

Mr. Ingram: The UK Government take their responsibilities to safeguard individuals taken into custody by UK forces very seriously. This includes those who were subsequently transferred to US custody in Iraq. In March 2003, the UK and US Governments agreed a Memorandum of Understanding which contains mutual assurances on the treatment of all transferred persons in Iraq and confirms that such persons are entitled to the full protection of the Geneva Conventions. Within the terms of that MOU however, specific procedures for handling internees are a matter for the US authorities. These procedures may include measures amounting to sensory deprivation.

The UK considers that the use of certain sensory deprivation techniques, for example blindfolds, is lawful for certain aspects of prisoner handling. For example, it may be necessary to blindfold a prisoner being moved from one location to another for reasons of force protection and security. It is however unlawful to use any sensory deprivation techniques during interrogations.


Ann Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many Army personnel are listed among the hostile military deaths in Iraq; and how many died following incidents involving (a) Land Rovers, (b) other light or non-armoured vehicles and (c) no vehicles. [383]

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Mr. Ingram: A total of 87 United Kingdom military personnel have died on Operation TELIC (of whom 65 were Army personnel), 49 of whom were killed in action (40 Army), 12 of the remaining 38 died in vehicle related accidents (all of whom were Army personnel).

MARS Programme

Mr. Byers: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether the support vessels that form part of the MARS programme will (a) be regarded as warships and (b) be built in the UK. [832]

Mr. Ingram [holding answer 24 May 2005]: It is Government policy that the fabrication and assembly of new Royal Navy warship hulls should be undertaken in the United Kingdom. Though current Royal Fleet auxiliary ships are not warships they are classed as warlike" and options for replacing these ships are being examined. The Military Afloat Reach and Sustainability (MARS) project is at an early state and no decision has been taken as to what will be procured; however, we expect that MARS ships will probably be warlike".

NATO Alliance

Mr. Prisk: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what measures his Department takes to promote the
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further understanding of the NATO Alliance among (a) the general public, (b) school age students and (c) university students. [1066]

Mr. Touhig: The Ministry of Defence promotes understanding of NATO and our role in the alliance through promotional publications on defence, the Defence Tourer Exhibition (which travels the UK in thesummer months), the Defence Schools Team, and the MOD website.

Since 1994, the MOD has contributed funding to the Atlantic Council of the UK (a charitable organisation and the UK's affiliate to the Atlantic Treaty Association) which aims to promote understanding in the UK of the role of NATO, largely through educational channels.

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