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12 July 2007 : Column 1652W—continued

Rural Payments Agency

Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs pursuant to the answer of 27 November 2006, Official Report, column 307W, on the Rural Payments Agency, when he will make the analysis available. [148277]

Jonathan Shaw: We are not at this stage in a position to advise when the detailed analysis of payments made under the single payment scheme will be made available.

Foreign and Commonwealth Office


Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1) what discussions he has had with the Government of Colombia on a negotiated peace settlement of that country's civil war; and if he will make a statement; [149163]

(2) what financial and other assistance was provided to the Government of Colombia in each year since 2002 to tackle the illegal narcotics industry; and if he will make a statement; [149164]

(3) what discussions he and his officials have had with the Governments of (a) France, (b) Spain, (c) Switzerland and (d) other EU partners on a negotiated peace settlement to Colombia's civil war; [149210]

(4) what discussions he has had with the Government of Colombia on the proposed humanitarian exchange of political prisoners in Colombia; [149211]

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(5) what discussions he has had with the Government of Colombia on the protection of trade unionists in Colombia; and if he will make a statement. [149212]

Dr. Howells: The longstanding conflict in Colombia, fuelled by the illegal drugs trade, has been deeply damaging. Significant progress has been made by President Uribe's Government, and the Government have congratulated him on this. But serious concerns remain, especially on human rights.

My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary is yet to hold discussions with Colombian counterparts since his appointment. But officials from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) in London and Bogota hold regular discussions with Colombian Government officials, EU partners and civil society on the situation in Colombia.

Such talks have focused recently on the need for a substantive peace settlement with full participation by all actors in the conflict; the unacceptable on-going abuses of trade unionists and human rights defenders; proposed humanitarian exchanges of political prisoners; and the recent murders of 11 hostages held by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).

My noble Friend the then Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, Lord Triesman of Tottenham, held discussions with a range of senior Colombian and UK civil society figures on 26 June. Humanitarian exchanges of political prisoners and the situation for trade unionists in Colombia were prominent themes at this meeting. My noble Friend Lord Triesman issued a statement following the meeting, setting out the Government's views on these issues. The full text can be accessed on the FCO's website at:

We have discussed with Colombian Government representatives in London and Bogota the issues raised at the meeting of 26 June. In doing so, we expressed our outrage at the killings of the 11 Colombian hostages held by the FARC, and extended our condolences to all those affected by this tragedy. The EU presidency also strongly condemned the killings and called for the immediate and unconditional release of all hostages held by PARC and other illegal groups.

The menace from drugs is real, both in Colombia and in the UK. Cooperation between the UK and Colombia has been very close and highly productive. We do not give details of our support because its disclosure would be to the detriment of the safety of the individuals, the prevention and detection of crime and international relations.

Iran: Israel

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps he has (a) taken and (b) plans to take at the United Nations about the statements made by the President of Iran on (i) the right of the State of Israel to exist and (ii) denial of the holocaust; and if he will make a statement. [149356]

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Dr. Howells: The Government have consistently condemned Iranian President Ahmadinejad's inflammatory comments about the state of Israel and his denial of the holocaust. We have made clear that these statements are wholly unacceptable, abhorrent and have no place in civilised political debate.

In December 2006 the Iranian Government hosted a conference, in the guise of an academic exercise, which attempted to cast doubt on whether the holocaust took place. President Ahmadinejad's comments at the event demonstrated that the intention was to undermine Israel's right to exist. My right hon. Friend the former Prime Minister publicly condemned the conference in the strongest terms and I summoned the Iranian ambassador to express the UK's outrage at the event. On 26 January the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution condemning without reservation any denial of the holocaust. The UK strongly supported this resolution. Iran was the only country that chose to disassociate itself from the consensus shared by all other UN members on this issue.

President Ahmadinejad's approach towards Israel serves to undermine international confidence that Iran is willing to comply with its obligations and act as a respectable member of the international community. We continue to take such comments extremely seriously.

Iran: Nuclear Weapons

Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what commitments have been made by Iran to co-operate with the International Atomic Energy Agency in resolving outstanding issues relating to Iran’s nuclear programme; and if he will make a statement. [147481]

David Miliband: Iran has a Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and has signed, but not ratified, an Additional Protocol to this agreement.

As the IAEA has made clear over a series of reports to its Board of Governors and to the UN Security Council,

The IAEA has consistently requested additional transparency measures from Iran which it regards as essential to resolving these outstanding concerns.

While we welcome Iran’s latest declaration of willingness to co-operate with the IAEA to resolve the outstanding issues, it is essential that Iran provides full co- operation and transparency towards the IAEA, as it has so far failed to do. Resolution of the outstanding issues is something Iran should take forward as a matter of urgency as a member of the IAEA. However, it is not a substitute for suspension of Iran's proliferation sensitive nuclear activities, as requested by the IAEA Board of Governors as a confidence-building measure and made mandatory by the UN Security Council.

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Mr. Lidington: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether HM High Commission, Islamabad, has received the test results in the case of the family of Mr. S J of Aylesbury (reference GV 100/122773/JG/NP, cellmark reference HO71607); and when the High Commission expects to inform the applicants and sponsor of the outcome of the case. [149365]

Dr. Howells: Our high commission in Islamabad has received the DNA test results for the entry clearance applications submitted by the family of Mr. S J of Aylesbury. However, the applications were referred to the Home Office on 10 July for further information. The family members will be requested to attend an interview at our Visa Section in Islamabad as soon as this information has been received.

Palestinians: Israel

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent representations he has made to the Palestinian authorities on incursions by Palestinian terrorists into Israel; what response has been received; and if he will make a statement. [149354]

Dr. Howells: We are concerned by the security situation in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories, especially the recent attacks on Israel by Palestinian militant groups. My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary discussed the security situation with Palestinian President Abbas on 29 June. Staff from our consulate-general in Jerusalem also regularly raise security concerns with the Palestinian Authority (PA), most recently with the Fayyad-led emergency government.

We will do all we can to assist the PA in taking forward security sector reform. As agreed by EU Foreign Ministers at the General Affairs and External Relations Council on 18 June, the EU will now develop the conditions for urgent practical and financial assistance including: direct financial support to the government; support to the Palestinian civilian police; the resumption of the EU Border Assistance Mission; and intensive efforts to build the institutions of the future Palestinian state.

Uganda: Politics and Government

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports he has received on (a) the (i) strength, (ii) leadership and (iii) political objectives of the Ugandan People’s Redemption Army and (b) the length of time it has been active; whether it has attacked property in Uganda; and if he will make a statement. [148926]

Meg Munn: There are contradictory reports about the People’s Redemption Army (PRA) and its strength, leadership, activities and political objectives. We have seen no evidence that the PRA represents any significant threat to Uganda’s stability.

We continue to press the Government of Uganda that there should be a free, fair and transparent legal
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process for those alleged to be members of the PRA currently in custody and/or on trial and that this should be completed as quickly as possible.

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports he has received on the transition to multi-party democracy in Uganda; whether the ideological training institute at Kyankwanzi is still in use; and if he will make a statement. [148927]

Meg Munn: In February 2006 Uganda held its first multi-party elections in 25 years. The reintroduction of a multi-party system was an important achievement. However there is still much to be done, particularly with regard to respect for the independence of the judiciary and political space for the opposition.

It is essential, therefore, that the government and the opposition parties continue to work together to embed the evolving multiparty democracy and ensure transparency. The UK, along with other international partners, has a regular dialogue with the Government of Uganda on all aspects of developing multi-party democracy.

The Kyankwanzi National Leadership Institute remains in use and is responsible for preparing senior government officials (including members of the Police, Prison Service and Resident District Commissioners).


Alcoholic Drinks: Misuse

Sandra Gidley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans he has to increase the availability of alcohol misuse services. [147981]

Dawn Primarolo: Primary care trusts (PCTs) have the lead responsibility to assess the health care needs of their local populations and, in consultation with social care organisations and others, to understand the impact that harmful drinking is having on the health of the local population and to provide adequate treatment provision to tackle this.

In support of this, the Government's renewed alcohol strategy, ‘Safe. Sensible. Social. The Next steps in the National Alcohol Strategy’, sets out a new approach to achieve significant and measurable reductions over a sustained period in the harms caused by alcohol.

In addition, from 2007-8, an additional £15 million has been distributed to PCTs to support development and delivery of alcohol intervention via the PCT general allocation budget. This money has been distributed using the normal weighted capitation formula so the actual amount spent local will vary from area to area.

Barnet and Chase Farm Hospitals NHS Trust: Infectious Diseases

Mr. Dismore: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what plans he has (a) to assist and (b) otherwise to contact the management of Barnet and Chase Farm hospitals to discuss infection control; and if he will make a statement; [149286]

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(2) what action he plans to take in response to the improvement notice issued by the Healthcare Commission to Barnet and Chase Farm NHS Trust on dealing with infection control at those hospitals; and if he will make a statement. [149288]

Ann Keen: The trust and strategic health authority are working together to address the issues in the improvement notice and the Department will assist if appropriate but these issues need to be resolved locally.

Mr. Dismore: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps he plans to take following the Healthcare Commission findings at Barnet and Chase Farm NHS Trust on factually incorrect management reporting of infection control results; and if he will make a statement. [149287]

Ann Keen: The current case appears to have identified differences in interpreting compliance with the code of practice. With the Healthcare Commission, we will be considering if trusts need additional guidance on assessing compliance.

Mr. Dismore: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many patients at (a) Barnet and (b) Chase Farm hospitals contracted (i) Clostridium difficile and (ii) MRSA in (A) each of the last three years and (B) 2007; and if he will make a statement. [149298]

Ann Keen: The data are not available in the format requested. The best available information for methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is from the mandatory MRSA blood stream infections surveillance that began in April 2001 and covers acute national health service trusts in England rather than individual hospitals. Mandatory surveillance for Clostridium difficile commenced in January 2004.

Data for both MRSA and Clostridium difficile for 2007 are not yet available

Number of reported cases of Clostridium difficile
Barnet and Chase Farm Hospitals NHS Trust Number

January-December 2004


January-December 2005


January-December 2006


Number of reported MRSA blood stream infections (bacteraemia)
Barnet and Chase Farm Hospitals NHS Trust Number

April 2003-March 2004


April 2004-March 2005


April 2005-March 2006


April 2006-December 2006


Health Protection Agency

Mr. Dismore: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will place in the Library copies of the Healthcare Commission’s (a) improvement notice and (b) report relating to infection control at Barnet and Chase Farm hospitals. [149299]

Ann Keen: The information requested has been placed in the Library.

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Blood: Contamination

Paddy Tipping: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what approaches he has received from Lord Archer of Sandwell requesting papers and information to help his inquiry into the contamination of blood products; what information has been supplied; what information is outstanding; and if he will make a statement. [148620]

Dawn Primarolo: Officials met with members of the inquiry team on 25 April 2007 to discuss what information the Department may be able to provide to the inquiry. Following that meeting the Department sent the inquiry team a chronology on the screening of donors for evidence of transfusion transmissible infections.

We have also made available a recently completed document on the ‘Review of Documentation Relating to the Safety of Blood Products 1970-1985 (Non A Non B Hepatitis)’, and the supporting references. These documents are available in the Library.

Lord Archer has been advised that the Department will release all papers identified in the Review, in line with the Freedom of Information Act. The papers will be released to Lord Archer’s inquiry as quickly as possible, in monthly batches. The first set of papers were sent to the inquiry team on 15 June.

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