Bill Rammell: The political situation is undoubtedly complex. Our first priority is to ensure the Gaza population receives humanitarian aid and reconstruction materials, and so we have made available £26.8 million for the relief operation and are pressing Israel to open the crossings more fully. The Egyptian efforts to embed the ceasefire and to bridge the divide in Palestinian politics are at the heart of improving the political situation. We strongly support their efforts. I am travelling to Cairo today to discuss Gazaand other issueswith Egypt.
Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations have been made to the Pakistani authorities on the decision to release A.Q. Khan from house arrest; and if he will make a statement. 
David Miliband: I met Pakistan Foreign Minister Qureshi on 7 February 2009. I expressed concern about the release of A.Q. Khan and made clear that the UK would still like to see A.Q. Khan interviewed about his proliferation activities. These concerns have been further reinforced with the Pakistani authorities in Islamabad at senior level through the acting high commissioner who also sought reassurance that A.Q. Khan would not be able to continue his proliferation activities.
Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps he has taken in co-operation with international counterparts and organisations to bring about a peaceful solution to the Tamil conflict in Sri Lanka. 
[holding answer of 29 January 2009]: My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister has made it clear that the UK wants to see an end to the conflict and a new drive for a lasting political solution. My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary repeated the Prime
Ministers call in his statement on 29 January urging the Government of Sri Lanka to announce a humanitarian ceasefire. He made this clear when he spoke to President Rajapakse on 30 January 2009. Foreign and Commonwealth Office officials are in regular contact with the EU, Commonwealth and UN member state counterparts about the situation in Sri Lanka.
Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps he has taken in co-operation with international counterparts to persuade the Government of Sri Lanka to allow access for UN and international observers in the northern region of the country. 
David Miliband: The UK regularly lobbies the Government of Sri Lanka to allow full humanitarian access, including monitoring in the northern regions, which are most affected by the conflict. This is done both bilaterally in talks with the Sri Lankan Government and in conjunction with international partners, through the EU, Commonwealth and UN.
My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister raised the issue of humanitarian access to the Vanni in his letter to President Rajapakse in January 2009. I also raised telephone conversations with President Rajapakse and the Foreign Minister Bogollogama, most recently on 13 February 2009.
My noble Friend Lord Malloch-Brown made clear in his address to the Human Rights Council in March 2008 that the UK supports a stronger mandate and presence for the UN human rights mission for Sri Lanka.
Norman Lamb: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many staff in his Department were on sick leave for (a) over 30 days, (b) over 50 days and (c) over 100 days in each of the last five years. 
|(1) Average is skewed by isolated incidents of long-term sickness absence.
Mr. Paterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland pursuant to the answer of 12 January 2009, Official Report, column 196W, on departmental drinking water, what reductions in the number of water coolers are planned. 
Mr. Woodward: The Northern Ireland Offices (excluding its Agencies and Executive NDPBs) total expenditure on newspapers in 2007-08 was £53,275. The information provided on the departments finance system does not allow the identification of costs which relate to subscriptions.
Mr. Paterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland pursuant to the answer of 18 December 2008, Official Report, column 995W, on departmental television, what criteria are used to decide which television subscriptions to subscribe to. 
Mr. Paterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland pursuant to the answer of 18 December 2008, Official Report, column 995W, on departmental television, what criteria are used to decide which makes of television are purchased. 
Mr. Paterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland pursuant to the answer of 18 December 2008, Official Report, columns 995-6W, on departmental travel, how much was spent on hotels used by his Departments staff in (a) 2003-04, (b) 2004-05, (c) 2005-06 and (d) 2006-07. 
Mr. Woodward: Prior to 2007-08, the Northern Ireland Office recorded expenditure relating to hotels under the general expense heading of overnight subsistence. The extraction of hotel costs would require the manual investigation of transactions within the overnight subsistence heading which could be done only at disproportionate cost.
Mr. Paterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland pursuant to the answer of 29 January 2009, Official Report, column 729W, on departmental travel, how much was spent by his Department's agencies on (a) staff travel within the UK and (b) international staff travel in each year since 1997. 
|Northern Ireland Prison Service
|(1) Not available.
The Northern Ireland Prison Service is able to provide a breakdown of UK and international travel expenditure from 2003-04 in the format required. To split the expenditure in the same way prior to this would involve a manual investigation of all claims which would incur disproportionate costs.
|(1) Not available.
Compensation Agency expenditure on travel is grouped under the same heading as subsistence. The figures therefore include both travel and subsistence. To provide separate costs and give details of whether the staff travel was within or outside the UK can be done only at disproportionate cost.
|Youth Justice Agency
|(1) Not applicable