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Ms Harman: The Leader of the House of Commons Office forms part of the Cabinet Office. The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster will be answering this question shortly on behalf of the Cabinet Office.
Andrew Rosindell: To ask the hon. Member for Gosport, representing the Speakers Committee on the Electoral Commission what progress the Electoral Commission has made on clarifying the rules governing the funding of political parties. 
Peter Viggers: The Electoral Commission informs me that it provides a range of guidance materials and training on party and election finance issues. In addition, and in response to a key recommendation of the Committee on Standards in Public Life, the Commission now offers parties the opportunity to seek an advisory opinion on how particularly complex matters will be treated.
Mr. Shepherd: To ask the hon. Member for Gosport, representing the Speakers Committee on the Electoral Commission what guidance the Electoral Commission has provided to electoral registration officers on the promotion of credit referencing as a reason to apply for inclusion on an electoral roll on council-maintained websites. 
Peter Viggers: The Electoral Commission informs me that it has issued no guidance on this matter, and does not intend to do so; it does not believe that non-electoral information should be used to encourage electoral registration.
Mr. Shepherd: To ask the hon. Member for Gosport, representing the Speakers Committee on the Electoral Commission whether the Electoral Commission has provided advice to the Government on updating Electoral Registration form, RP12, on the legal residency qualifications necessary for Commonwealth citizens to register. 
Peter Viggers: The Electoral Commission informs me that it has not advised the Government on the content of the form, sometimes referred to as RP12, which is used to apply for electoral registration outside the annual canvass period. I am advised that this form is not statutory and individual electoral registration officers design their own forms. The Commission last advised the Government on the contents of the annual electoral registration form in 2006. At that time, the Commission had no comments to make on the presentation of the qualifications for registration on the form.
Pete Wishart: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how much was spent on external consultants and advisers by (a) his Department and (b) each (i) non-departmental public body and (ii) executive agency for which his Department is responsible in each year since 2005. 
I refer the hon. Member to the answer given on 17 July 2007, Official Report, column 188W. Scotland Office records of events held at Dover house are recorded in financial years rather than calendar years. In financial year 2007-08 there have been 20 receptions held in Dover house thus far, 16 third party and four funded by the Scotland Office. I am pleased to
inform the hon. Member that members of the Liberal Democrats in both Houses have taken the opportunity to interact with a range of individuals and organisations by frequent attendance at these receptions.
Mr. Philip Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how much was claimed in reimbursable expenses by Senior Civil Service staff in his Department and its agencies in the last 12-month period for which figures are available. 
Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what the (a) value and (b) start date was of each private finance initiative project approved by his Department in each of the last three financial years. 
David Cairns: The Scotland Office spent £2,451 on water coolers in 2006-07. This figure does not include any bottled water obtained for ministerial hospitality as this is subsumed within the suppliers invoice and not recorded separately.
Foreign engagements for Government Ministers are kept under constant review. It is not practice to announce such visits until they are firm. Because of the unpredictable nature of world events, final decisions on overseas visits are often not possible until very shortly before the day of travel and an announcement is sometimes not possible until a visit is under way.
Ben Chapman: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the answer of 22 January 2008, Official Report, columns 1850-1W, on the Chevening scholarship programme, which countries he has identified as key countries of interest for the purposes of the programme. 
13. South Africa
15. Hong Kong
20. Korea (South)
Meg Munn: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) does not keep a central record of amounts spent on advertising. The information required to answer the hon. Members question could only be collated by requiring individual budget holders in the FCO to examine all invoices for the required years. This could be completed only at disproportionate cost.
Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what estimate he has made of the (a) total budget and (b) UK funding contribution for the EUs Common Foreign and Security Policy in the first year after ratification of the Treaty of Lisbon. 
Mr. Jim Murphy [holding answer 19 February 2008]: The annual budget for Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) is agreed at an Economic and Financial Affairs Council meeting and details published online at
For 2008 the budget for the CFSP has been set at €285 millionat 17 per cent. the UKs contribution represents €48.5 million (£35.9 million). This increase is due, in part, to the establishment of a large civilian crisis management mission in Kosovo.
The 2009 budget for the CFSP has not yet been set but €1.74 billion (£1.29 billion) has been allocated from the European Commission Budget under the current financial perspective for expenditure on the CFSP between 2007 and 2013. This was agreed at the European Council on 15-16 December 2005 during the UKs presidency of the EU. Details are available online at:
Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment the Government have made of the potential contribution of oil and gas from Falkland Islands waters to the provision of energy in the UK; and whether it is taking steps to support such exploration. 
Dr. Howells: While oil companies have produced promising seismic data surveys, only further exploratory drilling will enable us to arrive at a dependable estimate on the size of the reserves of oil and gas in Falkland Islands waters. It is therefore not possible to currently assess any potential reserves.
Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent assessment he has made of the state of relations between the UK and the Governments of (a) Gibraltar, (b) the Falklands, (c) the British Virgin Islands, (d) the Cayman Islands and (e) the Turks and Caicos Islands. 
On 4 to 5 December 2007 elected leaders from the Falkland Islands, the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands and the Turks and Caicos Islands and a number of other Overseas Territories attended the ninth Overseas Territories Consultative Council in London which I chaired. The council held discussions on issues which included constitutional modernisation, human rights, criminal justice and disaster preparedness.
I visited the Cayman Islands on 13 to 14 December 2007 where I met members of Cabinet and the Legislative Assembly, and took part in discussions on a
wide range of issues. I also visited the Falkland Islands from 3 to 5 January and met a wide range of people from government, business and civil society.
In June 2007 a new constitution came into force in the British Virgin Islands. The new constitution is an important step forward for the territory and includes provisions devolving significant powers to the British Virgin Islands Government.
In January 2007 the new Gibraltar constitution came into force which followed the people of Gibraltars decision to accept the constitution in a referendum in 2006. The new constitution provides for a modern relationship between Gibraltar and the UK. We also work closely with Gibraltar in relation to matters associated with the Trilateral Forum of Dialogue on Gibraltar.
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