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8 May 2008 : Column 1100W—continued

Wildlife: Crime

Mr. Morley: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if she will review the effectiveness of enforcement by police forces of measures against wildlife crime and illegal hunting. [201500]

Mr. Coaker: We have no plans at present to review the effectiveness of enforcement by police forces of measures against wildlife crime and illegal hunting.

It is the role of Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary to review the efficiency and effectiveness of police forces. As such it would be for the Chief Inspector to decide on such a review.

The Home Office has recently announced that it will contribute £150,000 per year for three years to fund the National Wildlife Crime Unit (NWCU). Government officials will be working closely with the Association of Chief Police Officers and the NWCU to monitor the outcomes achieved through this funding.

The Home Office continues to meet with interested stakeholders and to work closely with the police, through the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) to identify what more can be done to ensure the Hunting Act is effectively and appropriately enforced and to improve detection of illegal hunting.

The Association of Chief Police Officers have conducted a survey of local police forces’ response to enforcement of the Hunting Act which will inform best-practice guidance. The Government are also working with ACPO on ways to raise awareness of issues surrounding enforcement of the Hunting Act across the police service, and to communicate the importance of visible enforcement to community policing in rural areas and to the maintenance of public order.

We are also working closely with the Attorney-General about what more can be done to secure prosecutions where evidence has been presented of Hunting Act offences being committed. The Attorney-General in turn has agreed to raise the issue of the burden of proof in hunting cases with the Director of Public Prosecutions, and to engage with local Crown Prosecution Service leads to better understand and then communicate, the evidence needed to bring forward successful prosecutions.


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26 individuals have now been convicted of offences under the Hunting Act 2004 which does show that the legislation is enforceable when the evidence presents itself.

Written Questions: Government Responses

Jenny Willott: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, when she will answer Question 179094 on the national DNA database tabled on 9 January 2008 by the hon. Member for Cardiff Central; and if she will make a statement. [192952]

Meg Hillier: The question was answered on 7 May 2007, Official Report, columns 994-96W.

Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, when she plans to reply to Question 191801, tabled on 29 February 2008, on test sales for video works. [198874]

Mr. Coaker: I replied to the hon. Member on 30 April 2008, Official Report, column 507W.

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

1 Carlton Gardens

Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the answer of 10 March 2008, Official Report, column 99W, on 1 Carlton Gardens, (1) what charges were made to the right hon. Member for Derby, South in respect of her occupation of the property following cessation of Ministerial office; [199519]

(2) what level of payment was made by the right hon. Member for Derby, South while occupying the property (a) as a Minister and (b) when not holding Ministerial office. [199520]

Dr. Howells: I refer the hon. Member to the answer my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (Meg Munn) gave to him on 10 March 2008, Official Report, column 99W. The amount of tax paid is personal information. My right hon. Friend the Member for Derby, South (Margaret Beckett) personally paid in full the council tax for the period of her occupation.

Afghanistan: Peacekeeping Operations

Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will place in the Library a copy of his Department's paper referring to critical military gaps in the NATO mission in Afghanistan, as referred to in The Daily Telegraph of 29 April 2008. [203418]

Dr. Howells [holding answer 6 May 2008]: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office believes that the paper to which James Kirkup referred in The Daily Telegraph article of 29 April was a draft internal working document. It was not shared with international partners as the article suggested. Given the nature of the document, it would not be appropriate to place it in the Library of the House.


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Afghanistan: United Nations

Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what changes to the mandate of the special representative of the UN Secretary-General in Afghanistan are envisaged following the adoption by the Security Council of a new resolution on the UN mission in Afghanistan; and when this resolution is expected to be adopted. [202894]

Dr. Howells: The mandate of the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative in Afghanistan, as head of the UN Assistance Mission, is set out in the relevant resolutions of the UN Security Council. The most recent was UN Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1806 (2008). This was adopted on 20 March and draws on the previous mandates. UNSCR 1806 can be found at:

China: Family Planning

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions (a) he, (b) Ministers in his Department and (c) officials have had with the Government of China since 2006 about the Population and Birth-planning Law 2002; and if he will make a statement. [201934]

Mr. Jim Murphy: We regularly raise our concerns with the Chinese Government about the implementation of China's population and family planning law. The Chinese Government acknowledges that there have been problems with administration of the policy, but insists this would be down to individuals rather than malign intent. Foreign and Commonwealth Office officials discussed the One Child Policy during the recent round of the UK-China Human Rights Dialogue in Beijing in January. We do not dispute China's right or need to implement family planning policies, but we do believe they should be based on the principles of consent and not coercion. We will continue to encourage the Chinese to meet international human rights standards at every appropriate opportunity, both bilaterally and through the EU.

A more detailed survey of all the exchanges between UK Ministers and officials with Chinese authorities from 2006 would require a search of files held centrally and at all posts in China, which could be achieved only at disproportionate cost.

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions (a) he, (b) Ministers in his Department and (c) officials have had with the Government of China since 2006 about the implementation in Tibet of the Population and Birth-planning Law 2002; and if he will make a statement. [201935]

Mr. Jim Murphy: We have not discussed the implementation of China's population and family planning law with the Chinese Government with specific reference to Tibet. Foreign and Commonwealth Office officials did however discuss the One Child Policy during the recent round of the UK-China Human Rights Dialogue
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in Beijing in January. The main theme of the dialogue was ethnic minority rights and included a field trip to Tibet. We do not dispute China's right or need to implement family planning policies but we do believe they should be based on the principles of consent and not coercion. We will continue to encourage the Chinese to meet international human rights standards at every appropriate opportunity, both bilaterally and through the EU.

A more detailed survey of all the exchanges between UK Ministers and officials with Chinese authorities from 2006 would require a search of files held centrally and at all posts in China, which could be achieved only at disproportionate cost.

Commonwealth Scholarships: Finance

Ms Keeble: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs which other Government Departments he consulted prior to his written ministerial statement of 13 March 2008, Official Report, columns 22-24WS, on FCO scholarships and fellowships, announcing that his Department would phase out its funding for Commonwealth Scholarships from 2009. [203305]

Mr. Jim Murphy: The changes to Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) scholarship schemes are rooted in our 2006 review of the Chevening scholarship programme, on which the FCO consulted widely. My right hon. Friend did not consult other Government Departments before making his statement.

Cuba: USA

Adam Price: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether Ministers in his Department have met Caleb McCarry since his appointment as Cuba Transition Co-ordinator for the Bush Administration. [203957]

Dr. Howells [holding answer 7 May 2008]: Foreign and Commonwealth Office Ministers have not met Caleb McCarry since his appointment as Cuba Transition Co-ordinator in 2005.

Departmental Catering

Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps are being taken on food hygiene standards in the canteen at Admiralty Building, Whitehall, following the latest inspection by Westminster City Council; and if he will place in the Library a copy of the latest Westminster City Council food hygiene inspection report relating to the canteen (case 05/47821/FOOD); and if he will make a statement. [202839]

Dr. Howells: Westminster city council last inspected the Old Admiralty Building’s ‘The Mall Café’ on 31 May 2006. Five issues were highlighted in the inspection and the necessary follow up action has been taken. A copy of the inspection report has been placed in the Library of the House.


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EU Budget

Mr. Spellar: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how much and what proportion of funding the UK contributed to the EU Budget in each of the last three years. [203893]

Kitty Ussher: I have been asked to reply.

Details of member states contributions to the EC budget over the period 2004 to 2006, the last three years for which outturn data are currently available, can be found in annex 4 (pages 59-61) of the European Commission’s “EU budget 2006 Financial Report” which was published in September 2007. This report can be found at:

Members: Correspondence

Sir Michael Spicer: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when he will reply to the letter, dated 26 March 2008, transferred from the Prime Minister, about meeting the Dalai Lama. [203392]

Dr. Howells [holding answer 6 May 2008]: My noble Friend Lord Malloch-Brown, replied to the hon. Member on 1 May.

Morocco: Political Prisoners

Joan Walley: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports he has received on the hunger strike by 60 Sahrawi political prisoners in Moroccan jails; and if he will make a statement. [203298]

Dr. Howells: The Government are aware of a number of Sahrawi prisoners in Moroccan jails currently on hunger strike. I understand they are calling for improvements in prison conditions and to be treated as political prisoners.

The UK has worked hard to help Morocco improve prison conditions in recent years. In 2005-07, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office funded a prison management project aimed at raising awareness of prisoners’ rights and improving working practices.

As part of this, our embassy in Rabat organised regional prison conferences in May 2006 and April 2007, aimed at tackling radicalisation, preventing recruitment, promoting rehabilitation and promoting the rule of law and human rights in Islamic countries’ prisons.

We continue to engage with the Moroccan Government at various levels to ensure the rule of law is upheld and the rights of prisoners are respected.

Overseas Students: Scholarships

Ms Keeble: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment his Department has made of the differences in performance of the Chevening, Commonwealth and Marshall scholarship programmes. [203306]


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Mr. Jim Murphy: The purpose of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s (FCO) scholarship schemes is to build personal relationships with international leaders of the future. Following a recent review of all scholarship funding, in accordance with the FCO’s global strategy and priorities, it was concluded that the Chevening and Marshall scholarship schemes achieved this purpose more effectively than the Commonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship Plan.

Pakistan: Terrorism

Mr. Tyrie: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many British nationals have been detained in Pakistan on suspicion of terrorist offences since 2000. [203571]

Dr. Howells [holding answer 6 May 2008]: We are aware of six cases of British or dual British/Pakistani nationals having been detained on suspicion of terrorist offences in Pakistan since 2000.

Simon Mann

Dr. Julian Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs on what dates consular officials have requested access to Simon Mann in Black Beach Prison since his abduction from Zimbabwe to Equatorial Guinea; how many such requests have been (a) granted and (b) refused; what reasons have been given for such refusals; and what representations have been made to the government of Equatorial Guinea in consequence. [196717]

Dr. Howells [holding answer 25 March 2008]: Since Simon Mann’s detention in Equatorial Guinea we have sought consular access twice. Access was given on the first occasion, but refused on the second. Despite strong representations on our part the Equatorial Guinea authorities told us that access could not be given because of an ongoing police investigation. We have expressed our concern to the Equatorial Guinea authorities and are urgently seeking another consular visit.

Somaliland: Politics and Government

Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the Government's policy is on claims of independence by Somaliland. [201850]

Mr. Jim Murphy: The UK does not recognise Somaliland as an independent state. The Government's policy on Somaliland's claims of independence is that the Somaliland authorities should negotiate with the Transitional Federal government to determine their future relationship.

Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports he has received on discussions between the Pentagon and the US State Department on the recognition of Somaliland as an independent state. [202892]


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Dr. Howells: My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary has received no reports of discussions between the Pentagon and the US State Department on the recognition of Somaliland as an independent state.

Somaliland: Shipping

Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment has been made of the likely effect on the safety of shipping using the Gulf of Aden and the port of Berbera were Somaliland to be recognised as an independent state. [201849]

Mr. Jim Murphy: No assessment has been made of the effect of Somaliland being recognised as independent on the safety of shipping using the Gulf of Aden and port of Berbera.

The incidents of piracy and risks to shipping in the region are a result of insecurity in parts of Somalia and limited maritime security capacity provided by the governing authorities. Addressing these issues will have the greatest impact on improving the safety of shipping.


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