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2 May 2006 : Column 1387W—continued


Boundary Commission

Mr. Pickles: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs (1) when she expects the Boundary Commission to submit its recommendations on English boundary changes to the Department; andwhen she plans to lay draft orders before both Houses; [66448]

(2) what she expects the period of time to be between the Boundary Commission submitting its proposals for revised Westminster Parliamentary constituencies for England to her Department and laying draft orders before Parliament. [66249]

Bridget Prentice: The Parliamentary Boundary Commission for England expects to submit its report to the Government by the end of this year. Under the Parliamentary Constituencies Act 1986, the report will then be brought before Parliament as soon as may be". We cannot be clear about the exact timing of the draft orders until we know the extent of any representations made following the submission of the report to the Government.


Mr. Iain Wright: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs what (a) regulatory and (b) statutory quality guidelines local authorities are required to comply with in their management of cemeteries and burial grounds relating to health and safety. [65760]

Ms Harman: Under health and safety legislation, I understand that local authorities, as employers, have a duty to ensure that the risk is properly managed. The need to have regard to health and safety risks has been brought to cemetery managers' attention in our recently published Guide for Burial Ground Managers".

Death Certificates

Norman Baker: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs in what circumstances a death certificate can be altered after it has been issued. [65539]

John Healey: I have been asked to reply.

The information requested falls within the responsibility of the National Statistician who has been asked to reply.

Letter from Karen Dunnell, dated 2 May 2006:

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Departmental Publications

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs what the (a) research and (b) publication costs were of each of the reports and reviews by her Department in 2006. [67101]

Ms Harman: My Department does not hold this information centrally. To provide an answer would be disproportionate to cost.

Electoral Registration

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs how many electoral registration officers there are in the West Midlands region. [66499]

Bridget Prentice: There are 34 electoral registration officers in the area comprising the West Midlands region for the purpose of the regional assembly and elections to the European Parliament.

Telephone Advice Lines

Mr. Love: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs how many telephone advice lines her Department and its non-departmental public bodies support; how many telephone advisers each employs; and how much funding is provided to each by (a) her Department and its non-departmental public bodies, (b) other Government Departments, (c) the private sector and (d) the voluntary sector. [66584]

Ms Harman: We do not hold central records of the number and costs of the advice lines supported by my Department and its non-departmental public bodies. That information could now be obtained only at disproportionate cost.



Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has made to the Belarusian authorities regarding the imprisonment of opposition figures following the presidential elections. [65833]

Mr. Straw: The Minister for Europe, my right hon. Friend the Member for Paisley and Renfrewshire, South (Mr. Alexander), issued a statement on 24 March strongly condemning the arrests and calling for the release of those detained. The text of the statement is available at: EU Heads of Mission in Minsk made a de"marche to the Belarusian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in similar terms on 24 March. The presidency of the EU issued a declaration on 25 March condemning the use of violence against demonstrators, expressing serious concern about the arrest of demonstrators and members of the opposition, including Alexander Kazulin, and demanding their immediate release. The text of the declaration is available at: The EU's local presidency made a further de"marche on 6 April. Senior Foreign and Commonwealth Office officials also raised this matter
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with the Belarusian Ambassador in London on 7 April. The conclusions of the General Affairs and External Relations Council on 10 April urged the Belarusian authorities not to penalise or discriminate against those exercising their right to freedom of expression and freedom of assembly, including the leaders of the opposition parties, and imposed restrictive measures on those responsible for these actions.


John Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he has had with the Government of Chad about (a) the administration of oil revenues and (b) corruption. [65649]

Ian Pearson: We have had no specific discussions with the Government of Chad about the use of oil revenues or corruption. But we have made consistently clear our wish to see oil revenues used to benefit Africa's poor and the importance of transparency and African leadership in the fight against corruption.

We welcomed the arrangement between Chad and the World Bank in 1999 to enshrine the principle of using oil revenues to tackle poverty eradication in Chad but regret the recent dispute between the World Bank and Chad, following changes to the law by the Government of Chad to reduce this. We welcome US mediation and the current discussions between the World Bank and the Chadian authorities and hope they reach a positive resolution soon.

John Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the extent of human rights abuses in Chad. [65651]

Ian Pearson: We are concerned about the poor human rights record in Chad, particularly the lack of freedom of expression and good governance. Our main means of influence with the Chadian authorities is through the EU. We, together with other EU member states, have called on them to take substantive steps to improve human rights and governance.

Chad is due to hold presidential elections on 3 May 2006. The UK is working with EU partners to urge the Chadian authorities to ensure a peaceful and credible electoral process in which all parties can participate.

John Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether the Government authorise the transfer of arms to Chad. [65825]

Dr. Howells: All applications from the UK are rigorously assessed on a case-by-case basis against the Consolidated EU and National Export Licensing Criteria, taking full account of the prevailing circumstances at the time of application. This process includes specific criteria whereby we will not issue a licence where there is a clear risk that the proposed export might be used for internal repression, might aggravate existing tensions or conflict in the country of final destination or that the export may be used aggressively against another country. Details of all export licences approved to Chad are available in the Quarterly and Annual Reports on Strategic Export Controls (available on the Foreign and Commonwealth Office website at:
2 May 2006 : Column 1390W, and are subject to detailed retrospective scrutiny by the Quadripartite Committees.

The Government have in the past authorised applications for the export of military-listed goods. Our records show that since 2004, three Open Individual Export Licences have been approved for humanitarian use in Chad.

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