The Economic Secretary to the Treasury (Ed Balls): In a statement on 13 September, I announced that the Government would legislate to enhance the Financial Service Authority's powers over recognised investment exchanges and recognised clearing houses. In that statement I promised further detail in due course. I am now. able to provide details on how we intend to take this issue forward.
The Government have decided to introduce a stand-alone Bill to enhance the FSA's powers in the next parliamentary Session. The short Bill will seek to modify part 18 of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 which deals with recognised investment exchanges and clearing houses. We intend to introduce the Bill as early as possible in the new Session, with Second Reading expected before Christmas.
Our aim is to enable the FSA to stop recognised investment exchanges and clearing houses making changes in their regulatory provisions whose effects are likely to be disproportionate. To this end we expect that the provisions will:
cover all of our recognised investment exchanges and clearing houses, including the full range of markets operated by our recognised investment exchanges.
enable the FSA to veto changes to regulatory provisions introduced by recognised exchanges and clearing houses or those applying for recognition that impose an obligation or burden.
limit the circumstances in which the veto can be used to those where the relevant requirement is excessive, that is it is disproportionate to the end it seeks to achieve or does not pursue a reasonable regulatory objective.
where the FSA decides to call in a regulatory provision to determine whether it is excessive, it will need to specify a period during which representations can be made to it about the provision.
if the FSA decides to veto the regulatory provisions called in that decision can be challenged by judicial review.
These provisions are not intended to put into question existing regulatory provisions of investment exchanges and clearing houses. They are not intended to involve the FSA in micromanaging the regulatory provisions of investment exchanges or clearing houses and they are not intended to make overseas ownership of UK exchanges any easier or more difficult than it is at the moment.
The legislation is simply about providing a back-stop to ensure certainty for stakeholders about the proportionality of the regulatory provisions of investment exchanges and clearing houses. We will consult shortly, including with the investment exchanges and clearing houses and their stakeholders, about the detail of what we will be proposing.
The Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs (Ms Harriet Harman): My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Defence and I wish to make the following statement to the House about the inquests of servicemen and women who have died in Iraq which fall within the jurisdiction of the Oxfordshire coroner, Nicholas Gardiner.
All casualties suffered by the UK armed forces are a source of profound regret. UK service personnel have put their lives on the line to help build strong, stable and democratic nations and protect the interests of the United Kingdom and we cannot pay high enough tribute to the job they are doing, or the sacrifice some of them have made. We are committed to assisting the families of UK Service personnel who have died on operations overseas when their loved ones are returned to the UK.
We made a statement to the House on 5 June with information about the conduct of inquests by the Oxfordshire coroner and how we intended to enable him to conduct expeditious inquests into the deaths of servicemen and women who have died on operations overseas.
Each death of a serviceman or woman killed in an operation overseas whose body is repatriated to England and Wales is subject to an inquest. The inquestboth the investigation into the death and the holding of the public hearing into the deathis conducted by the coroner with jurisdiction which derives from where the body lies. In the case of deaths of servicemen and women whose bodies are flown into Brize Norton military airbase, the Oxfordshire coroner has jurisdiction.
In the 12 months preceding the June written ministerial statement, in addition to the non-armed forces inquests for which the coroner has in his jurisdiction, Mr Gardiner, his deputy coroners and the Powys coroner had conducted 30 inquests into the deaths of servicemen who died in Iraq.
At the time of the June ministerial statement, there remained 59 inquests to be concluded into the deaths of service personnel killed in Iraq and 11 inquests of civilians whose bodies were flown into Brize Norton.
Since the June written ministerial statement, a further 9 inquests have been held into the deaths of servicemen who have died in Iraq. The inquest into the death of ITN journalist Terry Lloyd is currently being heard.
When I made the statement in June, we had only asked the coroner to provide details of inquests into those deaths in his jurisdiction relating to Iraq. Since then, the coroner has provided us with details of outstanding inquests into six deaths from previous conflicts or other military exercises abroad and three further civilian casualties.
The earliest of these occurred in 1998. These are all included in the present statement. Including these deaths, there remain 59 inquests to be concluded into the deaths of service personnel and 11 inquests into the deaths of civilians.
We have not included in the statement inquests into a further seven deaths in Iraq and 33 deaths in Afghanistan which occurred after the June ministerial statement and which were repatriated into Brize Norton, as the further support for the coroner outlined below is only intended to clear the backlog of cases he had in June. DCA and MoD officials continue to liaise with each other, the Oxfordshire coroner and his assistant deputies on the progress of all of these cases and on how to handle these recent deaths.
Two additional coroners officers have been appointed by Thames Valley Police to support the existing complement of six officers in the Oxfordshire coroners office. They are supporting the coroners in various ways, including by contacting witnesses, listing inquests and providing support at inquests.
Additional member of support staffan additional administrative assistant has been appointed to the existing two administrative/support staff in the Oxfordshire coroner's office who provide administrative support for the investigations and inquests.
Recording equipmentto enable two further courts to operate simultaneously.
Since the June ministerial statement all inquests of deaths that occurred before February 2006 have been allocated. Nine inquests have been held, one inquest is currently being held and a further 10 have been listed for hearing; 22 inquests are in the process of being listed, subject to the availability of witnesses or family of the deceased.
In the June written ministerial statement we said that the coroner expected to be able to conclude by the end of the year those inquests of servicemen and women where the Ministry of Defence had completed its inquiries and case papers had been prepared. He also expected to be able to conclude by the end of the year those inquests of civilians killed in Iraq where he had been provided with the necessary reports and other information. At that time we knew of 30 cases in the former category and three cases in the latter category. The coroner has now informed me that, due to the complexity of many of these cases, it is unlikely that all of these inquests will have been completed by the end of the year. However, it is intended that all of these inquests will either have been held or a have a date fixed for the hearing by the end of the year.
We shall continue to keep the House informed on a quarterly basis about progress through the remaining inquests. Below is a table, which outlines the status of all cases and the date of death of each case.
It is of the greatest importance that the next of kin have full information about the progress on the inquest of their deceased next of kin. The extra resources provided will assist the service provide to families by the Oxfordshire Coroner, in addition to the normal liaison between the Ministry of Defence and the families concerned.
|Oxfordshire Coroner: Inquests of Servicemen and Related Civilian Deaths 1998 to May 2006|
|Date of Death||Name of Deceased||Allocated to||In process of Being Listed for Hearing||Date Listed||Date Inquest Heard|
1. Italics denotes non-Iraq related military death
2. Underlined denotes civilian Iraq related death
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