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26 Oct 2006 : Column 2036W—continued

Prime Minister

Chequers

Mr. Heald: To ask the Prime Minister when he will publish a list of guests who have been entertained at Chequers. [96379]

The Prime Minister: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave the hon. Member for Lewes (Norman Baker) on 27 March 2006, Official Report, columns 352-53W.

I also refer the hon. Member to the Responses to Requests which are published on the Cabinet Office Freedom of Information publication scheme website (http://www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/publicationscheme/). Copies have also been placed in the Library of the House. Information for 2006-07 will be published as soon as it is ready after the end of the financial year.

Departmental Staff

Mr. Heald: To ask the Prime Minister how many staff worked at No. 10 Downing street in each year since 1996-97. [96381]

The Prime Minister: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave the hon. Member for Upper Bann (David Simpson) on 2 February 2006, Official Report, column 633W.

The total number of staff on the No. 10 payroll on 1 April 2006 was 216.

Gifts

Tim Loughton: To ask the Prime Minister (1) pursuant to the answer of 9 October 2006, Official Report, column 4W, to the hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland (Mr. Carmichael) on gifts, on what basis the decision was made that it would be inappropriate to disclose the information requested; [96822]

(2) when gifts have been given to overseas dignitaries at public cost by his Office in accordance with the rules set out in the Ministerial Code at paragraph 10.19 since 1997; to whom such gifts were given; what the gifts were; what the value of each gift was; and whether gifts were offered in exchange in each case. [96859]

The Prime Minister: It would not be appropriate to provide details of the gifts and their cost as to do so could cause offence and discourtesy.

Tim Loughton: To ask the Prime Minister (1) when he last held discussions with the Cabinet Secretary about the exchange of gifts with overseas dignitaries; what discussions the Cabinet Secretary has with
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departmental permanent secretaries on the advice they should provide to Ministers on the (a) exchange and (b) offering of gifts to overseas dignitaries; and what consideration has been given to the inclusion of explicit guidance on this issue in the Ministerial Code; [96842]

(2) pursuant to paragraph 10.19 of the Ministerial Code, what the applicable rules are governing the offer of gifts to members of other governments or governmental organisations; and on what basis permanent secretaries determine whether rules are applicable. [96860]

The Prime Minister: Guidance about the giving and receiving of gifts, and the role of permanent secretaries is set out in the Ministerial Code. Information relating to internal meetings, discussion and advice is not disclosed as to do so could harm the frankness and candour of internal discussion.

Iraq

Ms Abbott: To ask the Prime Minister what assessment he has made of whether his policy of participation in the Iraq (a) war and (b) occupation has met its objectives. [97052]

The Prime Minister: I refer my hon. Friend to the answers I gave the right hon. Member for Witney (Mr. Cameron) at Prime Minister’s questions on 18 October 2006, Official Report, columns 866-68.

Staffordshire Ambulance Service

Michael Fabricant: To ask the Prime Minister what action he has taken in response to his meeting with hon. Members from Staffordshire on the future of the Staffordshire ambulance service and its First Responders. [96554]

The Prime Minister: Hon. Members have raised with me on a number of occasions the work of First Responders and the case for the maintenance of the Staffordshire ambulance service.

Constitutional Affairs

Carter Report

David T.C. Davies: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs what estimate she has made of the cost to her Department of commissioning the Carter Report into Legal Aid Services. [95693]

Vera Baird: The estimated total cost for the Carter Review, which commenced in July 2005 and was completed in July 2006 is £1.5 million.

Departmental Travel

David T.C. Davies: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs how much has been spent by her Department on (a) chartering aircraft and (b) non-scheduled air travel in each of the last five years. [96223]


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Vera Baird: It is not possible to list the costs spent on chartering aircraft and non-scheduled air travel in each of the last five years without incurring disproportionate costs as the expenditure is not separately identifiable within the Department’s accounts.

Total overseas travel costs for civil servants for the Department, which includes Court Service (Her Majesty’s Court Service from April 2005), Public Guardianship Office and Department for Constitutional Affairs Headquarters, are set out in the following table:

Period Amount (£)

2005-06

164,098

2004-05

146,517

2003-04

140,267

2002-03

123,750

2001-02

83,513


In respect of overseas travel by Cabinet Ministers, since 1999 the Government have published an annual list of all visits overseas undertaken by Cabinet Ministers costing £500 or more during each financial year. Where non-scheduled aircraft are used this is shown in the list. Information for 2005-06 was published on 24 July 2006. Copies of the lists are available in the Library for the Reference of Members.

All Ministerial travel is undertaken in accordance with the rules set out in the “Ministerial Code” and “Travel by Ministers”, copies of which are available in the Library of the House for the reference of Members. All official travel by civil servants is undertaken in accordance with the requirements of the “Civil Service Management Code”, a copy of which is also available in the Library of the House for the reference of Members.

Firearms

Lynne Featherstone: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs what average sentence was (a) given and (b) served for those convicted of possession of a firearm in each of the last five years. [86791]

Mr. Sutcliffe: I have been asked to reply.

The table shows the average length of custodial sentence (excluding life) imposed by the courts for the various offences involving the unlawful possession of firearms in England and Wales for the years 2000 to 2004, the latest year for which figures are currently available. It is compiled on the principal offence basis. Although care is taken in collating and analysing the returns used to compile such figures, the data are of necessity subject to the inaccuracies inherent in any large-scale recording system. Consequently, although some figures may be shown to the last digit in order to provide a comprehensive record of the information collected, they are not necessarily accurate to the last digit shown. Data on average time served, which are obtained from the prison IT system, are not available separately for specific offences as accuracy at this level of detail cannot be guaranteed. We have started a programme of work in the Home Office looking at the quality of existing court sentencing and prison data and how this might be improved.


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Average length of immediate custodial sentences (excluding life) for unlawful possession of a firearm at all courts: England and Wales 2000 to 2004
Months
Average sentence lengths (excluding life)
Offence Statute 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004

Possessing etc. firearms or ammunition without firearm certificate

Firearms Act 1968 S. 1(1) as amended by Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 S.157 Sch.8

16.5

19.2

18.1

21.7

20.7

Possessing or distributing prohibited weapons or ammunition

Firearms Act 1968 S.5(1) as amended by Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 S.157 Sch.8 part III

18.7

18.7

21.3

27.3

35.1(1)

Possession of firearms with intent to endanger life

Firearms Act 1968 S.16 as amended by the Criminal Justice Act 1972 S.28(2)

43.8

57.8

52.6

63.5

69.2

Possession of a firearm or imitation firearm with intent to cause fear of violence

Firearms Act 1968 S.16A (as amended by Firearms (Amendment) Act 1994)

19.5

20.2

18.5

24.3

23.0

Possessing firearm or imitation firearm at time of committing or being arrested for an offence specified in Schedule 1 of the Act

Firearms Act 1968 S.17(2) as amended by the Criminal Justice Act 1972 S.28(3)

34.6

21.3

24.4

37.9

33.7

Possessing firearm or imitation firearm with intent to commit an indictable offence or resist arrest etc.

Firearms Act 1968 S.18(1) as amended by the Criminal Justice Act 1972 S.28(3)

30.2

45.3

59.2

55.4

58.8

Possession of firearms by persons previously convicted of crime

Firearms Act 1968 S.21(4) as amended by Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 S.157 Sch.8 part III

11.8

10.1

16.5

18.9

17.5

(1) A minimum five year sentence was introduced for offences committed from January 2004. Notes: 1. Figures are compiled on the principal offence basis—see para. 3.13 of Appendix 3 of ‘Sentencing Statistics 2004, England and Wales’ (Home Office Statistical Bulletin No. 15/05). 2. Although care is taken in collating and analysing the returns used to compile such figures, the data are of necessity subject to the inaccuracies inherent in any large-scale recording system. Consequently, although figures are shown to the last digit in order to provide a comprehensive record of the information collected, they are not necessarily accurate to the last digit shown. Source: RDS NOMS 24-07-2006

Parliamentary Ombudsman

Chris Grayling: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs pursuant to her answer of 20 June 2006, Official Report, column 1762W, on the Parliamentary Ombudsman, to which recommendations her Department has declined to give full effect. [97378]

Vera Baird: The two occasions where the Department has declined to give full effect to recommendations relate to the following two cases A7/03 and A16/03 made under the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information.

Information on these cases A7/03 and A16/03 is set out in the Ombudsman’s report “Access to Official Information: Investigations Completed: November 2002—June 2003 (HC 951 July 2003)”, and can also be accessed through the Ombudsman’s website at http://www.ombudsman.org.uk/improving_services/selected_cases/AOI/aoi0306/index.html

Copies of both of the above reports are available in the Library.

Rape Trial Defendants

Simon Hughes: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs how many defendants in rape trials were (a) acquitted and (b) convicted in each year since 1997, broken down by the (i) sex and (ii) age of the alleged victim. [88502]

Mr. Coaker: I have been asked to reply.

The information requested is provided in the following table.


26 Oct 2006 : Column 2041W
Number of defendants found guilty and acquitted( 1) at all courts for rape offences, for which the age of the victim is specified in the offence description, England and Wales 1997-2004( 2,3)
Number acquitted Found guilty

Female rape offences

Rape of a female child under 13 by a male ( 4)

2004

7

5

Rape of a female aged under 16

1997

235

198

1998

335

221

1999

342

247

2000

335

206

2001

259

178

2002

149

217

2003

346

254

2004

316

275

Rape of a female aged 16 or over

1997

522

286

1998

628

323

1999

589

268

2000

546

277

2001

533

272

2002

261

291

2003

617

294

2004

600

325

Male rape offences

Rape of a male child under 13 by a male( 4)

2004

1

1

Rape of a male aged under 16

1997

20

24

1998

25

15

1999

38

37

2000

34

24

2001

20

26

2002

13

31

2003

21

29

2004

34

28

Rape of a male aged 16 or over

1997

15

9

1998

14

12

1999

24

9

2000

21

12

2001

19

18

2002

11

9

2003

17

6

2004

6

10

(1) Includes defendants discharged and dismissed at magistrates courts and ‘not tried’ and acquitted at crown courts.
(2) These data are provided on the principal offence basis.
(3) Every effort is made to ensure that the figures presented are accurate and complete. However, it is important to note that these data have been extracted from large administrative data systems generated by the police forces and courts. As a consequence, care should be taken to ensure data collection processes and their inevitable limitations are taken into account when those data are used.
(4) Offences came into effect in 2004 when the sexual Offences act 2003 came into force.

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