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The Minister for Trade (Ian Pearson):
The G8 summit at Gleneagles Hotel took place on 68 July 2005. My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister made a statement to the House on 11 July in which he outlined the successful outcomes of the Gleneagles Summit and the real benefits G8 leaders committed to, including delivering an additional $25 billion in annual aid to Africa by 2010 and agreement on a process to tackle climate change.
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I am now able to release the organisational costs of this summit. Based on the final invoices and accounts received from our suppliers, as well as prudent estimates where final figures are not yet available, the organisational cost of the summit was £12.7 million. A breakdown of this figure will be placed in the Library of the House and then will be made available on the G8 website: www.g8.gov.uk.
Securing the summit was the responsibility of the Devolved Administration and the Scottish Executive. This covered every aspect of policing operations, including specialist public order, search and other teams drawn from forces around the UK, and additional grants to the emergency services. I understand that Scottish Ministers released the figures for these costs yesterday.
The Secretary of State for Health (Ms Patricia Hewitt): I have published this week "Health Reform in England: update and next steps". Copies have been placed in the Library. The document describes the framework for reform of the national health service in England, restates the rationale for reform and explains how the reforms will be mutually reinforcing. It summarises the initiatives already announced and lays out a programme of further policy development for 2006.
It is the first in a series of publications building on the commitment in "Creating a Patient-led NHS" to explain how the whole reform programme fits together. It shows how the reforms offer a real opportunity to provide a better service to patients and the public, enabling the people working in the NHS to make the most of their skills and commitment.
The Secretary of State for the Home Department (Mr. Charles Clarke): On 5 August, my right hon. Friend, the Prime Minister, announced a 12 point plan of measures designed to tackle terrorism. This statement sets out the very significant progress which has been made since that time. We will report again to Parliament on further progress before the summer recess.
1. To introduce new grounds for deportation and exclusion (including the drawing up of lists of extremist bookshops etc, engagement of which would trigger deportation; the negotiation of "Memoranda of Understanding" with relevant countries; and consultation on the introduction of non-suspensive appeals in respect of deportation).
The Home Office and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office have worked closely together to identify extremists overseas who pose a threat to the UK and I have already excluded a number of individuals from the UK.
Work is underway to put together a similar list of individuals in the UK and we are reviewing the processes and mechanisms already in place for gathering
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national information on extremist activity. In respect of bookshops, the Terrorism Bill will make it illegal to disseminate material that may incite or be useful to terrorists.
"Memoranda of Understanding" have been concluded with Jordan and Libya and good progress is being made with other priority countries to which we wish to deport people. Notices of intention to deport where we would need to rely on assurances from the receiving state have been served on 29 individuals whose presence has been assessed to be a threat to national security. Most are detained pending the outcome of their appeal; four have been released on bail. It remains the position that we would consider legislation if legal obstacles were to arise in the process.
Following consultation with opposition parties, a provision has been included in the Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Bill which provides that in national security deportations any in country appeal would be confined to ECHR issues and that matters of national security could be challenged only after the individual had been removed.
The Terrorism Bill now proceeding through Parliament contains many important measures that will assist the law enforcement and security agencies in the fight against terrorism, including the introduction of a new offence of glorifying terrorism in the UK or abroad.
Following consultation with opposition parties, provisions now included in the Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Bill will, if passed, replace one of the existing criteria for deprivation of citizenshipthat the person concerned "has done anything seriously prejudicial to the vital interests of the United Kingdom" with a test of the public interest. If passed, the Bill will additionally confer on the Secretary of State a power to remove a person's right of abode in the UK, again on "conducive" grounds, where this right derived from citizenship of a Commonwealth country other than the United Kingdom.
Work is underway in consultation with Her Majesty's Court Service, the Crown Prosecution Service and the judiciary. This will involve better co-ordinating the responsibilities of all agencies with the aim of speeding up every stage of the process short of putting the case at
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risk or compromising fairness. Rashid Ramda has now been extradited and we will continue to prioritise cases such as these.
6. To examine a new court procedure to allow a pre-trial process: and examine whether the necessary procedure can be brought about to give us a way of meeting the police and security service request that detention, pre-charge of terrorist suspects, is significantly extended.
We are currently examining ways of allowing more sensitive evidence, specifically evidence derived from intercept, to be produced in court. The Government have accepted the decision of the House of Commons that the maximum period of pre-charge detention should be extended to 28 days.
To date a total of 17 control orders have been made of which nine have been revoked because the individuals who were the subject of the orders are now detained under immigration powers pending deportation. Eight orders are therefore currently in force, one of which is in respect of a British national.
The Department for Constitutional Affairs is reviewing the capacity of the courts, specialist tribunals and the judiciary to deal with existing and anticipated caseload relating to terrorism, with a view to meeting the demands of counter-terrorism.
The judiciary have been very supportive of our efforts to improve the efficiency of terrorism-related trials. They have put in hand new procedures for the allocation, handling and case management of such trials. Her Majesty's Court Service is making an additional suitable court room available.
10. To review the threshold for the acquisition of British citizenship to make sure that it is adequate, and to establish with the Muslim community a commission to advise on how there is better integration of those parts of the community presently inadequately integrated.
The Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Bill will extend the requirement to be "of good character", which presently applies only to those seeking citizenship by naturalisation, to all applicants for citizenship except those relying on a provision in the 1961 UN Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness. I will establish a Commission drawing on representatives of all faiths and communities and have written to faith leaders for their views on membership and terms of reference. I intend to make an announcement on this matter early in the new year.
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11. To consult on a new power to order closure of a place of worship which is used as a centre for fomenting extremism, and to consult with Muslim leaders in respect of those clerics who are not British citizens to draw up a list of those not suitable to preach and who will be excluded from our country in the future.
I have today placed in the Library of the House and on the Home Office website the responses to the consultation paper "Preventing Extremism Together: Places of Worship" which was issued on 6 October. We received 66 responses in total, from a range of individuals, and representative national faith and law enforcement organisations. I am grateful to everyone who submitted views.
Respondents were clear that strengthening police and community partnership was the most effective way of dealing with the problem of extremism at places of worship, emphasising in particular greater exploitation of existing police channels by communities to report extremist behaviour earlier, citizenship training and, as was emphasised in the response Association of Chief Police Officers, the earlier use of existing legislation and operational techniques by law enforcement agencies.
This commitment to joint working and information sharing, alongside the provisions to tackle extremism in the Terrorism Bill and the positive recommendations that emerged from the "Preventing Extremism Together" report published on 10 November, represents a coherent package of action and, consequently, I will not seek to legislate on this issue at the present time, although we will keep the matter under review.
12. To bring forward the proposed measures on the security of our borders with a series of countries specifically designated for biometric visas over the next year; and to compile an international database of those individuals whose activities or views pose a threat to Britain's securityanyone on the database will be excluded from entry with any appeal only taking place outside the country.
Embarkation controls were immediately introduced as a response to terrorists attacks in London. Fixed controls were introduced at major ports in support of Special Branch. The Immigration Service has the ability to re-establish a fixed embarkation control at one hour's notice in case of urgent operational need.
Over the next five years, e-Borders will transform our immigration control. Using new technology we will develop an integrated system to check travellers before they enter the UK and to prevent travel to those who have no right to enter or who are known security threats. E-Borders will also enable us to take appropriate
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actions against passengers of interest to each of the border agencies, and to collect information on when people arrive and whether they leave.
With this approach we will be able to improve security, improve efficiency and improve data information flow and intelligence on people entering and leaving the UK. The introduction of high-tech e-Borders will be combined with the phasing in of biometric passport-based ID cards to increase substantially our knowledge of who is coming in and out of the country.
We have already implemented biometrics operations in visa posts in Sri Lanka and East Africa; new operations began in Vietnam, Democratic Republic of Congo and the Netherlands in November 2005. As a result, Biometric Match data is available to Entry Clearance Officers in these countries before a decision is taken. By 2008, all those entering the UK on a visa will have been fingerprinted and digitally photographed. Border Control staff are working with the United Kingdom Passport Service (UKPS) to identify and provide authentication and verification of biometrically enabled travel documents.
In addition to work on the 12 point plan, I have given careful consideration to the views of those who have asked the Government to establish a foil public inquiry into the atrocities of 7 July. The Government do not believe that such an inquiry would add to our understanding of the causes of those atrocities, in particular when there are Parliamentary and other inquiries underway into these and related events. Additionally, to establish one would be to divert the attention of our police and security services during an extended period of time when they are still actively engaged in both the murder investigation which continues and the detection and prevention of further atrocities.
However, I believe that it is important to set out clearly an authoritative account or "narrative" of what happened before and around 7 July. Accordingly my Department will develop such a narrative which we intend should be published in due course. In doing so, they will work closely with the police and security services. In making final decisions on the content of the narrative to be published we will of course have due regard to the need not to compromise intelligence sources or put at risk possible prosecutions.
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