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Local Government Reorganisation: Lord Lieutenants

Lord Gisborough asked Her Majesty's Government:

Viscount Cranborne: On 1st April 1996 the following arrangements will come into effect:

In the former county of Avon

Mr. Jay Tidmarsh will become the new Lord Lieutenant of the new county of Bristol.

Sir John Wills, Lord Lieutenant of Somerset, will cover the unitary authorities of Bath and North East Somerset and North Somerset as part of the new ceremonial county of Somerset.

Mr. Henry Elwes, Lord Lieutenant of Gloucestershire, will cover the unitary authority of South Gloucestershire as part of the new ceremonial county of Gloucestershire.

In the former country of Cleveland

You, at present Lord Lieutenant of Cleveland, will become Lieutenant of North Yorkshire, when the unitary authorities of Middlesbrough, Redcar and Cleveland and Stockton-on-Tees (south of the River Tees), previously in Cleveland, become part of the new ceremonial county of North Yorkshire.

Sir Marcus Worsley will continue as Lord-Lieutenant of the whole county of North Yorkshire, including the new unitary authority of York.

Mr. David Grant, as Lord Lieutenant of Durham, will cover the unitary authorities of Hartlepool and Stockton-on-Tees (north of the River Tees) within the new ceremonial county of Durham.

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In the former county of Humberside

Mr. Richard Marriott will become the Lord Lieutenant of the new county of the East Riding of Yorkshire, covering the unitary authorities of Kingston upon Hull and the East Riding of Yorkshire.

Mrs. Bridget Cracroft-Eley, as Lord Lieutenant of Lincolnshire, will cover the unitary authorities of North and North East Lincolnshire, will cover the unitary ceremonial county of Lincolnshire.

UK Forces under US Command

Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they have held any discussions on the desirability of subordinating British defence capabilities to those of the United States; and if so, with whom.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Earl Howe): No. We retain overall direction of UK forces. However, we may agree from time to time to relinquish operational command or control of elements of those forces under arrangements to which we have agreed for the conduct of alliance or other multinational coalition operations. Such arrangements are regularly rehearsed in exercises such as the bilateral exercise Purple Star, to be held with the United States in April and May this year, during which British units will be subordinated for exercise purposes to US commanders, and vice versa.

Arms Exports: Public Information

Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether, following the recommendation of the Scott Report that details of weapon sales to foreign countries should be published, they will list the details of licences issued in 1995, and 1996 to date, for arms transfers worth more than £100,000.

Earl Howe: No, but we intend to review the practice of successive governments not to reveal details of the export of defence related equipment in reply to parliamentary Questions.

A paper has been placed in the Library of the House which sets out current policy and practice in informing Parliament about arms sales matters. We hope that this will be a useful document to take the discussion forward.

Bulk Carrier Losses

Lord Clinton-Davis asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many bulk carriers were lost during each of the years from 1990 to 1995; how many of them disappeared without trace; and how many lives were lost in consequence.

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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Transport (Viscount Goschen):

Total number of bulk carriers lost 2024169185
Total lives lost as a result of loss of bulk carriers125154287414881
Total number of bulk carriers lost without trace31--------
Total lives lost as a consequence of bulk carriers lost without trace9026--------

The above figures have been obtained from Lloyd's Register's Casualty Data.

Holding Centres: Independent Commissioner's Annual Report

Lord Brabazon of Tara asked Her Majesty's Government:

    When they intend to publish Sir Louis Blom-Cooper's third annual report as Independent Commissioner for Holding Centres.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Northern Ireland Office (Baroness Denton of Wakefield): I have today arranged for the copies of Sir Louis Blom-Cooper's annual report for 1995 to be placed in the Library.

My right honourable and learned friend the Secretary of State is grateful to the commissioner for his report and for the assurance that it provides that he has found absolutely nothing that might give anyone the slightest cause for concern about the care and treatment of detainees held in the custody of uniformed officers of the RUC.

He will be studying carefully the recommendations which Sir Louis has made in the light of the changed circumstances since the ending of PIRA's cessation of military operations.

Secure Training Centres

Lord Acton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether it will be a necessary precondition for success that contractors tendering for secure training centres have previous experience in working with difficult and delinquent young adolescents.

The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Blatch): The original advertisement in the Official Journal of the European Communities required potential bidders to give details of any work undertaken in the

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previous three years demonstrating capability in the provision of services for young people. This information was taken into account in deciding who should be invited to tender.

Lord Acton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether 12 to 14 year-old girls as well as boys will be liable to be sent to the proposed secure training centres at Gringley in Nottinghamshire and Cookham Wood in Kent, and if so what special arrangements are planned to ensure their wellbeing.

Baroness Blatch: The Secure Training Order will be available for both male and female offenders. The operational specification requires that females should be accommodated in facilities capable of being completely separated from males. Sleeping accommodation must be physically separate. The arrangements proposed by tenderers to ensure the necessary degree of protection, privacy and protection of trainees will be given very careful consideration before any contracts are awarded.

Public Interest Immunity Claims

Earl Russell asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they accept the recommendation of Lord Justice Scott "that for the purposes of court hearings of PII claims by Government Departments, counsel instructed by the Departments should not be counsel for the prosecution".

The Lord Chancellor (Lord Mackay of Clashfern): There are already occasions when separate counsel are instructed to deal with PII claims. This recommendation will be given careful and detailed examination in conjunction with other recommendations on public interest immunity.

Matrix Churchill Case: Public Interest Immunity

Earl Russell asked Her Majesty's Government:

    On what authority the Treasury Solicitor's Department in the Matrix Churchill case instructed counsel "to seek to avoid the disclosure of the documents covered by the various public interest immunity certificates".

The Lord Chancellor: The Treasury Solicitor's Department was authorised to act in relation to public interest immunity on behalf of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the Department of Trade and Industry and the Ministry of Defence. The Attorney-General gave evidence to the Scott Inquiry that the instructions to prosecuting counsel in relation to the DTI were inadequate and that counsel should have been shown the correspondence between the Attorney-General and the then President of the Board of Trade. This is recorded in the report.

In the event, prosecuting counsel, in line with the then President's specially drafted PII certificate, emphasised

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to the court that Ministers were doing no more than performing their duty to assert PII, and that it was for the court to decide which documents should be disclosed. At counsel's invitation the trial judge read every document covered by the certificates and duly decided which should be disclosed.

Prosecution Policy

Earl Russell asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they accept, as a matter of future policy, that, where there is a significant public interest impediment to disclosure of documents which might prove the innocence of a defendant in a criminal trial, the prosecution should be discontinued.

The Lord Chancellor: Prosecution policy is a matter for the independent prosecuting authorities and not for Her Majesty's Government. It has long been the practice of prosecuting authorities to discontinue proceedings if it is not possible to make disclosure of documents or information acknowledged by them or held by the court to be necessary for a fair trial.

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