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28 Jun 2010 : Column 396W—continued

Departmental Responsibilities

Mr Douglas Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development which external organisations (a) he and (b) other Ministers in his Department have met since their appointment; and what the purpose of each such meeting was. [3728]

Mr Andrew Mitchell: The Department for International Development (DFID) publishes a list of all ministerial meetings with outside interest groups every quarter. Details of ministerial meetings for the period 13 May to 31 July will be published in August.

Developing Countries: Maternity Services

Mr Andrew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what recent assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the Government's aid programmes on maternal health and women's rights. [4000]

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Mr Andrew Mitchell: In the coming months the Department for International Development (DFID) will be reviewing its aid programme to determine how we can achieve better value for money for the taxpayer and accelerate progress towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

Maternal health and women's rights are major priorities for the UK Government and an area which the Prime Minister has personally championed. We want to improve sexual and reproductive health and rights, including access to modern family planning methods and promoting women's choice in the developing world. The recent G8 Summit, which the Prime Minister attended, has delivered a significant boost to efforts to improve maternal and child health. It is estimated that the G8 Muskoka Initiative will prevent 1.3 million under five child deaths, 64,000 maternal deaths and enable an additional 12 million women to have access to modern family planning in the period 2010-15.

UN Agencies

Mr Douglas Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development whether he has had discussions with the head of the (a) United Nations Development Programme, (b) UN Food and Agriculture Organisation and (c) United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation since his appointment. [3729]

Mr Andrew Mitchell: I have had discussions with Helen Clark and Irina Bokova several times. I have not yet had the opportunity to speak with Dr Jacques Diouf since the general election.

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Bangladesh: Counter-terrorism

Mrs Main: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he has had with the Bangladeshi government on allegations of human rights abuses relating to (a) Faisal Mostafa, (b) Gulam Mustafa and (c) other British nationals committed by Bangladeshi counter-terrorism officials; whether the Government have requested the Bangladeshi authorities to investigate any British nationals; and if he will make a statement. [3315]

Alistair Burt: We take all allegations of mistreatment seriously and, with the consent of the individual concerned, raise them vigorously with the appropriate authorities.

It is not our normal procedure to go into detail about individual consular cases as we have a duty to respect privacy. We have provided, and will continue to provide consular assistance to British nationals detained in Bangladesh in line with our publicly stated policy, and have raised various concerns with the Bangladeshi authorities at senior levels when asked to do so. In all our dealings with British nationals detained in Bangladesh their welfare is our primary concern.

We have consistently called on Bangladesh to ensure that all arrests, detentions and trials are conducted with respect for fundamental individual rights, consistent with international obligations.

28 Jun 2010 : Column 398W

It is the policy of the Government not to comment on operational intelligence matters, including whether we have asked foreign Governments to investigate British nationals.

Jamal Elshayyal

Mr Andrew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations his Department has made to the Israeli Government on the case of Jamal Elshayyal following his detention on the Mavi Marmara. [4440]

Alistair Burt: I have raised several issues in relation to the British nationals who were on board Mavi Marmara with Israel's ambassador to the UK. Our ambassador to Israel and other members of the British embassy have also raised the matter on a number of occasions with the Israeli authorities. It has also been raised by the EU presidency, on behalf of EU heads of mission, with the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Among the issues raised was that of three missing British passports, including Mr El Shayyal's. I can now confirm that we have recently received all three passports. These will be returned to the holders. The Government and officials on the ground have spent significant time and resources assisting British nationals in this case. We will continue to seek clarification on the missing possessions and to underline the importance of ensuring that the Commission established by Israel provides a full, credible, impartial and independent investigation that the international community can respect.

Deputy Prime Minister


Alun Michael: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister whether his proposals to change parliamentary constituency boundaries will apply in the same way to each of the constituent parts of the UK. [4499]

Mr Harper: Proposals to implement this aspect of the coalition agreement are being carefully considered within Government. Details will be announced in due course and Parliament will have the opportunity to debate them.


Kevin Brennan: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister whether he plans to proceed with his proposal for a 55 per cent. majority requirement to trigger a dissolution of Parliament if it is voted for by more than 50 per cent. but less than 55 per cent. of (a) Members of the House and (b) Members voting. [4294]

Mr Harper: As I made clear to the hon. Member on 22 June 2010, Official Report, column 146, the Bill establishing Fixed Term Parliaments will be considered on the Floor of the House and Members will have the opportunity to debate it in detail then.

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Voting Rights: Prisoners

Michael Dugher: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what plans his Department has to bring forward proposals to allow prisoners to vote in elections. [3977]

Mr Harper: The Government are considering afresh the best way forward on the issue of prisoner voting rights.

Youth Citizenship Commission

Jo Swinson: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister when he plans to respond to the recommendations of the Youth Citizenship Commission. [4588]

Mr Harper: The previous Government commissioned the Youth Citizenship Commission's report and responded to its recommendations in February this year. A link to their response is as follows:

Leader of the House

Members: Travel

Kevin Brennan: To ask the Leader of the House if he will introduce a scheme to pay for extended travel by (a) all hon. Members and (b) Opposition Front-Bench spokespersons. [4292]

Sir George Young: The payment of expenses to hon. Members, including travel expenses, is a matter for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority. There is a specific element of Short Money which is provided to meet the cost of official travel by Opposition Front- Bench spokespeople.

Kevin Brennan: To ask the Leader of the House how much was paid for extended travel by (a) hon. Members, (b) hon. Members of each of the three largest parties and (c) hon. Members who were Front-Bench spokespersons for Opposition parties in each year of the 2005 to 2010 Parliament. [4293]

Sir George Young: The overall amount paid to hon. Members for extended travel in each of the financial years from 2005-06 to 2010-11 was as follows:














The remainder of the information is not available in the form requested and can be collated only at disproportionate cost.


Cardiff Prison

John McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what the budget was of HM Prison Cardiff for 2009-10; and what budget has been allocated to the prison for 2010-11. [3897]

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Mr Blunt: The budget for HMP Cardiff in 2009-10 was £16,318,824.

The budget for HMP Cardiff for 2010-11 is £16,418,674.


Mr MacShane: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what plans he has to bring forward proposals for the reform of libel law. [3873]

Mr Djanogly: We are committed to reviewing the law on defamation to protect free speech, and are currently considering the issues involved.

Departmental Public Expenditure

Gordon Banks: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice (1) how many of his Department's contracts with its suppliers are under review as a result of the recently announced reductions in public expenditure; and what the monetary value is of all such contracts which are under review; [3644]

(2) how many officials in his Department are working on renegotiating contracts for the supply of goods and services to the Department as a result of recently announced reductions in public spending; what savings are expected to accrue to his Department from such renegotiations; how much expenditure his Department will incur on such renegotiations; and when such renegotiations will be completed. [3666]

Mr Blunt: The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) is undertaking a review of 1,300 contracts with third party suppliers. The value of contracts under review is £1.6 billion per annum.

There are 140 staff within MoJ that are engaged in renegotiating contracts for the supply of goods and services. It is expected that this exercise will take two years and result in savings in the region of £75 million. Using existing staff for this exercise will ensure that the Department does not incur additional expenditure.

Departmental Translation Services

Ian Austin: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what (a) documents and (b) other information for which (i) his Department and (ii) its associated public bodies are responsible are published or provided in the UK in languages other than English; for what reason each such publication is required to be made available in a language or languages other than English; and what estimate he has made of the cost to the public purse of the translation work so incurred in the latest period for which figures are available. [1772]

Mr Djanogly: The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) does not centrally collect information on the number, nature and cost of translations into languages other than English and it could be given only at disproportionate cost. This would involve contacting a large number of agencies associated with the department. Retrieving the data would involve searching their individual records.

The MoJ translates documents into Welsh, treating the Welsh and English languages on a basis of equality in accordance with Section 21 of the Welsh Language Act 1993.

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A formal Welsh Language scheme was commenced on 24 March 2010. The scheme covers my department's functions in three areas, policy development, recruitment and provision of services to the public. The scheme applies to the activities generally carried out under the corporate functions of this department.

HM Courts Service Welsh Language Unit, which supports the Ministry to meet its commitments to its published Welsh Language Scheme has been able to supply the information in following table.

During 2009-10 the Welsh Language Unit translated 2,426 documents at a cost of £150,051. These documents were translated to meet the Ministry's Welsh Language Scheme.

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Amount Cost (£)


Consultation Papers/Reports



Various (Letters/notices/general information for customers/sentences/agenda/minutes/presentations/newsletters)



Press Notice/Advert



Changes to Forms/Leaflets



LIBRA Offences









Judicial Appointments Commission

Application Pack



Completed Application Pack






Various (Letters/notices/general information for customers/sentences/agenda/minutes/presentations/newsletters)






Legal Services Commission

Various (Letters/notices/general information for customers/sentences/agenda/minutes/presentations/newsletters)



Changes to Forms/Leaflets



Consultation Papers/Reports



Press Notice/Advert





No cost




Office of the Public Guardian

Consultation Papers/Reports



Changes to Forms/Leaflets






Tribunals Service

Various (Letters/notices/general information for customers/sentences/agenda/minutes/presentations/newsletters)



Consultation Papers/Reports



Changes to Forms/Leaflets









Wales Office

Various (Letters/notices/general information for customers/sentences/agenda/minutes/presentations/newsletters)



Consultation papers/reports



Press notice/advert






HMI Probation

Various (letters/notices/general information for customers/sentences/agenda/minutes/presentations/newsletters)



Consultation Papers/Reports










HMCS (courts and office)



Total requests



Total external cost



Grand total amount



Grand total costs



(1) No cost

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