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4 Jul 2005 : Column 133W—continued

Friedhelm Eronat

John Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what assurances were sought by his Department from Friedhelm Eronat about the prospective scope of his business activities before the decision was made to grant him British citizenship; [4513]
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(2) what discussions took place between his Department and the United States Administration about the activities in the oil business of Friedhelm Eronat before he was granted British citizenship. [4559]

Mr. McNulty: It is not our normal policy to discuss individual applications. An application for naturalisation must meet certain requirements. These are set out in section 6 of, and Schedule 1 to, the British Nationality Act 1981.


Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many cases of illegal gangmaster activity have been (a) detected and (b) successfully prosecuted in the last five years; and how many migrant workers were involved in each case. [7175]

Mr. McNulty: The information requested is not held centrally as data on illegal working operations carried out by the Immigration Service does not identify where there was gangmaster involvement.

However, examples of some high-profile, police- led gangmaster prosecutions where the Immigration Service assisted are in the following table.



Number of
illegal workers

March 2004V. CoxFacilitation and forgeryUp to 1,7007 years
J. CoxFacilitation and forgery7 years
April 2004D. Mutch6 years
R. Kulish7 years(52)
J. CarterMoney laundering, using falseAround 2504½ years
L.V. LinuzaHO documents to provide workers2 years 9 months(52)
V. Kulish2 years 9 months(52)
D. Lyashkov3 years(52)
February 2005V. SolomkaMoney laundering and facilitating
illegal immigration
Up to 7007 years

(52)The court also recommended deportation on completion of prison sentence.

Gleneagles Summit (Security)

Mark Simmonds: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what estimate has been made of the cost of security for the G8 summit at Gleneagles. [7235]

Mr. Des Browne: I have been asked to reply.

At this stage it is not known what the cost of security for the G8 summit will be.

Human Detection Equipment

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how much the Government have spent on human detection equipment at UK (a) airports and (b) ports in 2004–05. [8530]

Mr. McNulty: The information is as follows.

Identity Checks (Heathrow)

Mr. Oaten: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department pursuant to his answer of 9 June 2005, Official Report, column 656W to the hon. Member for Stoke-on-Trent, Central (Mark Fisher), on identity checks (Heathrow), if he will make a statement on the results of the confidence testing process. [6378]

Mr. McNulty: The IRIS system passed confidence testing in France on 28 January 2005. Installation at Heathrow Airport Terminals 2 and 4 (the operational pilot locations), has been followed by extensive and rigorous user acceptance testing over a four month period. This has involved the successful processing of over 200 staff at Heathrow (both enrolment and barrier crossing). The UK Immigration Service is fully confident that the systems offer an effective and secure border control.
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Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the evidential basis is for the permitted use of the mouse LD50 procedure by themanufacturers of (a) Dysport and (b) Botox; and if he will make a statement. [6589]

Andy Burnham: International and UK regulations relating to the safety and efficacy of medicines require the testing of botulinum toxin products at various stages of their processing, from harvesting through to marketing for use as a prescription-only medicine. The European Pharmacopoeia states that the potency of the toxin as a reconstituted product is determined by an LD50 assay in mice, the reference method, or by a method validated with respect to the LD50 assay. Unfortunately there is at present no accepted and validated alternative to the LD50 test for determining the potency of botulinum toxin at the production stage. The Home Office and all others, including the laboratories and the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency, concerned with conducting and regulating such testing are committed to moving to less severe testing procedures as soon as it becomes practicable to do so. The laboratories involved in ensuring that botulinum toxin products are safe for therapeutic use, the only use for which animal tests are licensed, are already gaining expertise in non-animal methods.

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for theHome Department what recent assessment he has made of alternatives to the use of the mouse LD50 procedure. [6480]

Andy Burnham: The mouse LD50 test is used to determine potency, for example, of botulinum neurotoxins used for the medical treatment of patients with certain neurological and other conditions. We pay close attention to technical progress in the field of alternatives and are aware that refined and replacement tests for the LD50 have been developed. Once they have been validated and published in the European Pharmacopoeia as alternatives to the mouse LD50 test, we will stop licensing the mouse LD50 test for this purpose, except where there is specific scientific justification for its continued use.

Magic Mushrooms

Dr. Iddon: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what discussions he has had with people and organisations outside his Department about possible risks associated with using magic mushrooms; [6223]
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(2) what research his Department has (a) carried out and (b) commissioned to assess the risks of using magic mushrooms; [6224]

(3) whether he has sought the advice of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs on the possible risks associated with using magic mushrooms; [6225]

(4) for what reasons magic mushrooms have been categorised as a class A drug. [6226]

Paul Goggins: Psilocin, the active ingredient of magic mushrooms, is a class A drug under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971. It is a powerful hallucinogen, placed by the United Nations Convention on Psychotropic Substances 1971 in schedule 1, the highest level of control. Magic mushrooms are also already controlled as a class A drug under the 1971 Act if they have been prepared (e.g. dried) or are in the form of a product. Section 21 of the Drugs Act 2005 extends the existing classification to such mushrooms whatever form they are in. The Home Office discussed what is now section21 of the Drugs Act with the Department of Health, HM Revenue and Customs, the Crown Prosecution Service and the police. We maintain that it is already unlawful for magic mushrooms to be sold as a product. It has proved difficult to satisfy the courts on what constitutes a product, hence this clarification of the law. Section 21 is not a new control on a new substance and consequently it was not necessary to carry out or commission new research. The Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) was informed of the proposed change to the law on 6 December 2004. On 19 May 2005, the ACMD agreed the need for regulations to make an exception from the offence of possession in certain circumstances. The chair of the ACMD, Professor Sir Michael Rawlins, wrote to me on two June setting out the ACMD's support for the measures.

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