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Mrs. Maria Miller: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment she has made of the likely effect on passenger in excess capacity figures of the increase in capacity on South West Trains following the start of the new franchise in February 2007, with particular reference to trains travelling between Basingstoke and London. 
Mr. Tom Harris: The capacity increases that the operator is required to achieve during the life of the South West Trains franchise are specified in terms of the additional seats to be provided rather than passengers in excess of capacity. The franchise requirement is for 21 per cent. more mainline peak seats by the end of the franchise and 20 per cent. increased capacity on peak time suburban trains.
Dr. Howells: The UK supports President Karzais efforts to bring disaffected Afghans into societys mainstream, providing they renounce violence and accept Afghanistan's constitution. In this context the UK has provided funds for the reconciliation programme, Programme Takhim-e-Solh.
Mr. Moore: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he has had with his European Union counterparts on the forthcoming EU-Africa summit and the possible attendance of Zimbabwe's President Mugabe; what the outcome was of these discussions; and if he will make a statement. 
[holding answer 10 September 2007]: We are committed to the EU-Africa relationship and want the summit to go ahead and to deliver real results for Europe and Africa on critical issues such as peacekeeping and security, climate change, better governance and the millennium development goals. In our contacts with all EU member states we continue to make clear that President Mugabe's presence would undermine any attempt to address these key issues. I have had discussions in particular with the Foreign Ministers of France, Sweden, Germany, Portugal, Spain, Italy, Ireland and Romania on this issue and raised it at successive meetings of EU Foreign Ministers. My noble Friend the Minister for Africa, Asia and the UN, the right hon. Lord Malloch-Brown, has had other meetings with EU states at which this
issue has been discussed. We will continue to urge our EU and African partners to find an alternative solution on attendance. My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister has already made his position clear. Neither he nor any senior Government Minister will attend the summit if President Mugabe is present.
Mr. David Anderson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether it is open to the UK to refer Burma to (a) the International Court of Justice and (b) any other international body for persistent use of forced labour; and if he will make a statement. 
Ms Abbott: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps his Department is taking in response to the imprisonment of human rights activists in Burma; and if he will make a statement. 
Meg Munn: We do follow reports of companies activities produced by the UN, non-governmental organisations and other organisations. We monitor the level of UK corporate activities through statistics from the Office of National Statistics and Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs, which show that trade and investment in Burma has fallen in recent years.
Contrary to some reports, the UK is not the second largest investor in Burma. UK investment in Burma is negligible. The Office for National Statistics figures for current active UK investment are very low; indeed they have no returns suggesting any UK direct investment in Burma as of the end of 2005.
In terms of total imports of goods from Burma, the UK currently ranks second in the EU after Germany. However, the value of imports from Burma to the UK
halved between 2004 and 2005. In the eight months to August 2007, UK imports of goods from Burma were £19 million and exports totalled £2 million.
Lyn Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the (a) security and (b) human rights situation in Eastern Chad since the state of emergency declared on 16 October. 
Mr. Jim Murphy: We are aware of reports of violence in Goz Beida, eastern Chad on 18 October, following the Government of Chad's declaration of a state of emergency on 16 October. We are seriously concerned about the continuing conflict between the Chadian army and rebel groups in eastern Chad and the reports we have seen of inter-ethnic violence. These clashes risk worsening the humanitarian crisis and further destabilising the region.
In response to the continuing security and humanitarian crisis in Chad, in September the UK co-sponsored United Nations Security Council Resolution 1778, which authorises the deployment of a European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP) force and a UN multi-dimensional mission to Chad. The force's 12 month mandate is to contribute to protecting refugees and displaced persons in eastern Chad, facilitate the delivery of humanitarian aid and contribute to protecting the UN operation. The UN operation is intended to build the capacity of the Chadian police to protect refugees and internally displaced persons and help create a more secure environment in eastern Chad. The overall aim of the joint operation is to create the conditions necessary for voluntary, secure and sustainable return of refugees and internally displaced persons. The ESDP mission is a bridging force until the UN itself is able to deploy a peace- keeping mission and is planned to deploy by the end of the year.
Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the answer of 19 February 2007, Official Report, column 13W, on China: press freedom, what steps he has taken to encourage the Chinese authorities to ensure freedom of movement and expression in China for both domestic and international press (a) in the run-up to the Beijing Olympic Games in 2008 and (b) afterwards. 
We continue to encourage China to ensure that new regulations for foreign correspondents remain in force after the Olympic Games, and lift restrictions on domestic journalists. The then Prime Minister, the right hon. Tony Blair, and the then Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, my right hon. Friend the Member for Dulwich and West Norwood (Tessa Jowell), raised media freedom with the Head of Chinas Information Office for the State Council when he visited London in April. The then Foreign Secretary, my right hon. Friend the Member for Derby, South (Margaret Beckett), stressed the importance of freedom of expression during a visit to Beijing on 17 May. My noble Friend the Minister for Africa, Asia and the UN, the right hon. Lord Malloch
Brown, raised the issue with his counterpart in Beijing in August. We also raise freedom of expression through the EU, and did so at the EU-China Human Rights Dialogues in May and October.
Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many meetings (a) he and (b) his Ministers have had with Chinese officials at which media freedom was discussed in the last three years. 
David Davis: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many civil law suits have been brought against his Department based either wholly or partially on grounds provided by the Human Rights Act 1998; how many were settled out of court, before a court judgment was delivered; and how much such settlements cost the public purse since 1998. 
Danny Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs which buildings occupied by his Department (a) are and (b) are not fully accessible to disabled people; and if he will make a statement. 
Meg Munn: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has taken steps to ensure that its buildings are as fully accessible to disabled people as is reasonably practicable. Where there are access difficulties for disabled people, the FCO makes appropriate reasonable adjustments in accordance with the requirements of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995.
Andrew Selous: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many employees in (a) his Department and (b) each (i) executive agency and (ii) non-departmental public body funded by his Department applied to continue to work beyond state retirement age in the latest year or part thereof for which figures are available; and how many of those applications were successful. 
Meg Munn: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) and its Executive Agencies abolished mandatory retirement ages for all UK-based staff below the senior management structure (SMS) in July 2006. Since then staff in the delegated grades have been free to choose when to leave the Department. We do not require them to apply to continue working beyond any fixed age.
The civil service maintains a centrally-set default retirement age of 65 for staff in the senior civil service (SCS)/SMS. Neither the FCO, nor its Executive agencies, received any applications in the past year from SMS/SCS staff wishing to work beyond the age of 65.
Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many and what percentage of Questions tabled to his Department for answer on a named day received a substantive reply on the day named in the last 12 months for which figures are available. 
Meg Munn: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office was tabled 638 named day parliamentary questions from 20 November 2006 to 25 October 2007. Of those, 523 parliamentary questions (82 per cent.) received a substantive reply on the day named.
Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs which articles in the treaty establishing a constitution for Europe have been (a) retained (i) in full and (ii) in amended form and (b) omitted from the draft EU reform treaty; and which articles in the draft EU reform treaty were not in the Treaty establishing a constitution for Europe. 
David Miliband [holding answer 17 September 2007]: The draft treaty establishing a constitution for Europe is now defunct. The inter-governmental conference mandate records the agreement of all 27 heads that:
"The constitutional concept....is abandoned".
The constitutional treaty was legally unprecedented. It would have abolished the EU and refounded it under a single, constitutional order. The reform treaty by contrast, amends the existing treatiesjust like the Single European Act, Maastricht, Nice and Amsterdam.
The Government have secured extra safeguards on each of the four red lines set out ahead of the June European Council. I wrote to the chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee on 11 and 18 October setting out how the Government's four red lines have been met in the latest draft of the reform treaty. These letters have been placed in the Library of the House.
Mr. Francois: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs on which occasions (a) focal points met to discuss the inter-governmental conference (IGC) mandates and (b) ministers met their counterparts to discuss the IGC; whether those meetings were bilateral or multilateral; what representations of positions and discussions occurred at those meetings; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Jim Murphy: As I set out in evidence during my appearances before the Foreign Affairs Committee on 12 September and the European Scrutiny Committee on 4 July and 2 October, the draft mandate for the Reform Treaty Inter-governmental Conference (IGC) was circulated for the first time at the meeting of all focal points on 19 June. Ministerial discussion of the draft IGC mandate took place at the European Council on 21-22 June. The Government set out their general approach to agreeing a new Treaty in the written ministerial statement issued by the then Minister for Europe, my right hon. Friend the Member for Ashfield (Mr. Hoon), on 5 December 2006, Official Report, columns 10-11WS, and the then Prime Minister, the right hon. Tony Blair, explained the Governments priorities before the Parliamentary Liaison Committee on 18 June. Ministers hold regular discussions with EU partners on many issues, including EU Institutional issues.
Mr. Moore: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many votes took place at the European General Affairs and External Relations Council in each of the last 12 months; how many times the British Government (a) applied a veto, (b) voted negatively and (c) abstained in such votes in each month; and if he will make a statement. 
Sarah Teather: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions the Government has had with the French government on transposing rights in UK civil partnerships into the French system of legal recognition of civil partnerships for UK civil partners living in France. 
Robert Neill: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what point negotiations with the Spanish government have reached on the recovery of material from the wreck of HMS Sussex, sunk off Gibraltar. 
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