|Ministry of Justice: current PA contracts
|Business group/details of contract
Mr. Maude: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice whether Electoral Commission guidance on trigger rules associated with the Political Parties and Elections Bill will be subject to delegated legislation procedures. 
Mr. Wills: The Political Parties and Elections Bill provides that the Electoral Commission may give guidance on triggering (clause 11 of the Bill). This guidance would form part of the code of practice on candidate spending definitions which the Commission has been empowered to produce since the Electoral Administration Act 2006 inserted provision into paragraph 14 of schedule 4A of the Representation of the People Act 1983. Under that provision, any code of practice produced by the Commission must be submitted to the Secretary of State for approval. It must then be laid before Parliament by the Secretary of State (unmodified, or with his explanation of the modifications he has made to it). Parliament then has 40 days to annul the draft if it chooses to do so, and if no such resolution is made, the code shall be published by the Commission to take effect on a date appointed by the Secretary of State.
Mr. Maude: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice whether the provisions within the Political Parties and Elections Bill on the introduction of new trigger rules will apply to candidates for election to the (a) European Parliament, (b) London Assembly, (c) post of London Mayor, (d) Welsh Assembly (e) Scottish Parliament, (f) Northern Ireland Assembly and (g) posts of directly elected mayors in local authorities; and what plans he has to include mechanisms to apply such provisions to future elected assemblies in the UK. 
Mr. Maude: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice whether the provisions within the Political Parties and Elections Bill on the introduction of new trigger rules are intended to apply to local campaign expenditure by hon. Members who are reselected as candidates by their local association prior to the dissolution of Parliament; and whether the trigger rules will apply to Communications Allowance expenditure by hon. Members in their constituencies. 
Mr. Wills: Incumbent Members of Parliament seeking re-election will be subject to the new regulations governing candidate expenditure in the same way as non-MPs. The date of Dissolution of Parliament, or adoption as a candidate (whichever is later) will no longer be the determining factor as to when the candidate spending limits contained in section 76 of the Representation of the People Act 1983 start to apply in a parliamentary general election.
Once the provisions in the Political Parties and Elections Bill take effect, those limits will apply to any spending for the purposes of the candidates election on the matters set out in schedule 4A of the Representation of the People Act 1983, whenever it is incurred.
MPs receive parliamentary allowances to enable them to fulfil their duties as an MP. The Communications Allowance is provided to MPs to enable them to communicate proactively with their constituents and inform them about their parliamentary duties. The rules governing use of the Communications Allowance are very clear: the allowance must not be used for personal benefit or for party political campaigning. Provided the allowance is used in accordance with parliamentary rules, this means that expenditure of it would not trigger the candidate spending restrictions. Changes to the rules governing use of the Communications Allowance, further strengthening the prohibition on spending for political purposes, were approved by this House in July, and will come into force in spring 2009.
Mr. Straw: Since 1997, the prison population has increased by 35 per cent. (from 61,500 in June 1997 to 83,200 in June 2008). Crime as measured by the British crime survey has decreased by 39 per cent. (2007-08 compared to 1997). As I have said on a number of occasions it is highly probable there is a link between these two trends, but there are no reliable estimates of the precise connection. Crime levels are affected by a range of factors, including demographic, social economic, crime prevention measures (for example, target handling of premises and vehicles), more effective policing, the use of modern techniques (including CCTV) and the area crime reduction approach adopted by local authorities and communities. There is no accepted methodology for disaggregating these factors, either here or abroad. Some further information is available in the Managing Offenders, Reducing Crime report December 2003 by Lord Carter, and in Modelling Crime Reduction (Home Office online report 38/04).
John McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many and what proportion of female prisoners he estimates have experienced (a) domestic violence, (b) sexual abuse and (c) mental illness in each of the last five years. 
Mr. Hanson: The National Offender Management Service and the Department of Health do not routinely keep information on the number of female prisoners who have experienced domestic violence, sexual abuse and/or mental illness. The findings from research indicate that up to half of women in prison may have experienced domestic violence; that up to a third may have been victims of sexual abuse; and that four fifths have diagnosable mental health problems.
Mr. Garnier: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many offenders (a) released from prisons and (b) who completed community sentences had already served one or more (i) custodial and (ii) community sentence, broken down by the number of previous sentences, in England and Wales in each of the last 10 years for which figures are available. 
Mr. Hanson: The requested information is not available. However, published statistics on reoffending include information on offenders who have completed their prison sentence or began a community sentence for the 1st quarter of 2000, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2006. These statistics show the number of previous custodial sentences and the number of previous convictions.
The following table shows how many offenders (released from prisons or commencing community sentences) had received at least one previous custodial sentence broken down by the number of previous custodial sentences
|Offenders released from prison
|Offenders commencing court orders