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Cyber Security

23. Mark Pritchard (The Wrekin) (Con): If he will make a statement on co-ordination of cyber security within Government. [66795]

Mr. Murphy: The central sponsor for information assurance is responsible for the UK Government strategy for information assurance. It provides a co-ordination role by looking at the work being done across the Government and identifies gaps and overlaps and works to address them.

Mark Pritchard: I am grateful to the Minister for that reply, but is he confident, given that al-Qaeda has admitted to wanting to create aggressive viruses, that our critical energy infrastructure and military and intelligence services systems are fully robust against any aggressive viruses and terrorism?

Mr. Murphy: I know that the hon. Gentleman takes a keen interest in these matters and that, previously, he has rightly and appropriately declared a remunerated directorship of an internet company. I know that he is to meet officials from the Civil Contingencies Secretariat next week to discuss the specific points that he has raised. Such work is being done on a cross-party basis and I think that that is the right way to progress.

Apart from the terrorist threat online that the hon. Gentleman has rightly raised, and without wishing to appear complacent, our current assessment is that the greatest e-enabled threat to our system is from criminal
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gangs operating online. We are taking strenuous steps across government and with the business community to address the real dangers that exist.

Andrew Miller (Ellesmere Port and Neston) (Lab): My hon. Friend will be aware of the work of the Information Assurance Advisory Council. He will be aware also that the national high tech crime unit and others liaise with IAAC on issues related to information security. Does my hon. Friend agree with me that other Government Departments can learn lessons from the private sector? Will he encourage active participation between Government Departments and IAAC, which is chaired by Dame Pauline Neville-Jones?

Mr. Murphy: I know that my hon. Friend takes a real interest in the subject. Indeed, I had the opportunity to discuss these matters with him and his constituents when I visited his constituency last year. He is right to say that Government have much to learn from industry, but the private sector has much to learn from Government. It is not a competition about who has the most to learn from whom. We are in this together—the public sector and the private sector. That is why projects such as Get Safe Online are important because they encourage people to take a common-sense approach to their personal finance and to apply that approach to their online existence. There is a great deal going on and we are determined to work with the business community, as my hon. Friend suggests.

Anne Main (St. Albans) (Con): On a point of order, Mr. Speaker

Mr. Speaker: If the hon. Lady will give me a moment. I inform the House that the ten-minute Bill will not be moved today.

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Points of Order

3.30 pm

Anne Main (St. Albans) (Con): On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. Last week, the Home Secretary made a statement regarding the removal and deportation of foreign nationals. I asked the right hon. Gentleman a specific question, which was whether people who had committed a serious sexual offence were put on the sex offenders register before they were released, which is vital if we are to be confident that the registers can help our local police forces. The right hon. Gentleman replied:

Given the rather alarming news that has appeared in some of our newspapers that the police have no details on their registers, has the Home Secretary made any effort to come to the House to correct any reports on these matters?

Mr. Speaker: The hon. Lady will know that an urgent question was applied for today. She shakes her head, so perhaps she does not know. However, the application was made. It was refused on the ground that the Home Secretary assures me that he will be making a statement tomorrow. Perhaps the hon. Lady should try to pursue her question tomorrow.

Miss Julie Kirkbride (Bromsgrove) (Con): On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. I would be grateful if you were to advise the House on the application of the ministerial code, especially as it applies to Parliamentary Private Secretaries. You might be aware, Mr. Speaker, that the hon. Member for Ealing, North (Stephen Pound), a PPS at the Home Office, has demanded the resignation of a Cabinet Minister,—not his boss but the Deputy Prime Minister. Will you tell us, Mr. Speaker, whether the idea of collective responsibility applies to the ministerial code and whether the Member for Ealing, North might be considering his position?

Mr. Speaker: The hon. Lady has been in the House for some time now. She might know that the ministerial code is a matter for the Prime Minister and not for the Speaker.
2 May 2006 : Column 836

Orders of the Day

Finance (No. 2) Bill

(Clauses Nos. 13 to 15, 26, 61, 91 and 106, Schedule 14, and new Clauses relating to the effect of provisions of the Bill on section 18 of the Inheritance Tax Act 1984)

Considered in Committee.

[Sir Alan Haselhurst in the Chair]


New Clause 1

Application of section 18 IHTA 1984

'Notwithstanding any provision of this Act, section 18 of the Inheritance Tax Act 1984 (transfers between spouses) shall continue to apply to transfers of value between spouses to the extent to which they are exempt transfers under the provisions of that section.'.—[Mrs. Villiers.]

Brought up, and read the First time.

The Chairman of Ways and Means (Sir Alan Haselhurst): With this it will be convenient to discuss the following: Amendment (c) to the new clause, in line 1, leave out from 'Act' to end of line 4 and insert—

Amendment (a) to the new clause, in line 2, at end insert—

Amendment (b) to the new clause, in line 3, after 'spouses', insert 'and civil partners'.

New clause 2—Application of section IHTA 1984 (No. 2)—

(a) a full consultation has been undertaken about the operation of that section;

(b) a Regulatory Impact Assessment of the operation of that section has been completed; and

(c) the impact of the Act on transfers of value written into trust through wills, lifetime gifts and life assurance policies has been calculated.'.

New clause 3—Application of section IHTA 1984 (No. 3)—

2 May 2006 : Column 837

3.35 pm

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