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Baroness Cumberlege: My Lords, it is a matter for the water companies to decide whether or not they wish to fluoridate the water. The guidance will be useful to water companies as well as to health authorities.

Pilgrim Trust

3.28 p.m.

Lord Cocks of Hartcliffe asked Her Majesty's Government:

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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of National Heritage (Lord Inglewood): My Lords, if any noble Lord ever has evidence of impropriety by any charity and passes it on to me, in turn I will pass it on to the Charity Commission.

Lord Cocks of Hartcliffe: My Lords, I thank the Minister for that reply. It is my understanding that the Pilgrim Trust has given the money to the Constitution Unit, which is not a charity, for general purposes. Does the Minister agree that this is a matter to which the attention of the Charity Commissioners should be drawn?

Lord Inglewood: My Lords, the noble Lord, Lord Cocks, having raised the matter on the Floor of the House, I will pass on his comments to the Charity Commission.

Lord Jenkins of Hillhead: My Lords, I should declare an interest, although it will become obvious, having had the pleasure of being a trustee of the Pilgrim Trust for some 21 years. Successive chairmen have been: to begin with Lord Harlech, the father of the present noble Lord, Lord Harlech; Lord Richardson of Duntisbourne, a former Governor of the Bank of England; Sir Harry Fisher, an ex-High Court judge; now it is Mrs. Mary Moore. My fellow trustees of the Pilgrim Trust are now the Lord Chief Justice of England and a variety of other distinguished people including, from the noble Lord's own party, Sir Claus Moser.

The noble and learned Lord, the Lord Chief Justice, was present at the launching of the Constitution Unit study, as was the present Secretary of the Cabinet, Sir Robin Butler. The previous Secretary of the Cabinet, the noble Lord, Lord Armstrong of Ilminster, is also a trustee of the Pilgrim Trust. The idea or the implication of the noble Lord's Question that the Pilgrim Trust and the Constitution Unit are politically motivated bodies is an example of the extraordinarily malign fantasies which occasionally seize the mind of the noble Lord, Lord Cocks.

Lord Inglewood: My Lords, standing at the Dispatch Box it is not for me to answer the questions that have been posed. It is a matter for the Charity Commissioner.

Lord Cocks of Hartcliffe: My Lords, I am sure that the Charity Commission will give due weight to the remarks of the noble Lord, Lord Jenkins, since he recently led a major debate on transparency in political funding. Will the Minister give a sense of urgency to the Charity Commission? I have already waited nine months for the results of its investigation into the Scarman Trust, which was formerly the Charter 88 Education Trust.

Lord Inglewood: My Lords, in the case of the Scarman Trust, formerly the Charter 88 Trust, I gather that the inquiry had to look at a number of complex issues. The inquiry is soon to be finalised. I understand that emerging findings are that the trust will be required to clarify and, where necessary, review and revise its relationship with other organisations. I am sure that the

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Charity Commissioner will take forward his inquiries as speedily as possible, consistent with carrying out a thorough and proper inquiry.

Fur Imports: EU Regulation

3.32 p.m.

Baroness Castle of Blackburn asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What steps they are taking in the Council of Ministers to ensure that Regulation 3254/91 banning the import into the European Union of furs from animals caught in the leghold trap is implemented without any further delay.

The Minister of State, Department of the Environment (Earl Ferrers): My Lords, the Government have strongly supported the regulations which were adopted by the Council of Ministers in November 1991. The European Commission is negotiating with the main fur-producing countries an agreement by which the principles of the regulations can be implemented. The Council of Ministers has requested the Commission to introduce an import ban if no satisfactory agreement can be reached.

Baroness Castle of Blackburn: Yes, but is it not a fact that it is five years since the regulation was passed? It is over a year since an agreed date for its implementation was fixed as January 1996. There is no end date for the negotiations yet agreed so that the implementation can begin. Is not the villain of the piece the Commissioner for trade? I am sorry to say he is a British Commissioner in the European Community who is holding up the obvious desire of the Environment Council, the responsible body, on which I am glad to say our British Minister has played a distinguished and firm role, by all sorts of procrastination and dragging of feet?

Does the Minister agree that the fur trade in this country and throughout Europe has become uppish again as a result of that dilatoriness? So today we see restored on the backs of beautiful women from Madonna to the models on the catwalk the furs which may have come from animals caught in that barbaric and cruel trap. Does the Minister therefore agree with me that we should encourage British women to refuse to wear fur, saying that it is not a badge of fashion but a badge of shame?

Earl Ferrers: My Lords, I admire the noble Baroness, Lady Castle, enormously and always have done. I long to agree with her. I always have done. But, unfortunately I have never been able to. I am afraid I do not agree with her today at all. She says that there is no end date to the negotiations. She is perfectly right. There are no end dates to negotiations; you have to find a solution to them. She blames the Commissioner for Trade but she is, if I may say so, quite wrong. She says that there has been procrastination and, if I may say so, she is quite wrong. In 1991 the environment Ministers agreed to ban the import of furs. What we are trying to do now is to agree how that

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should be done with those countries--in particular Russia, Canada and America--where there are problems. It is better to have an agreement. If we do not get an agreement, there is the problem of contravention of World Trade Organisation agreements and a trade war. That is what we are trying to avoid.

Lord Pearson of Rannoch: My Lords, does my noble friend agree that it is often impossible to know the genuine provenance and destination of many goods circulating in Europe, given the fraudulent nature of the single market? In this case, can my noble friend tell the House how the regulation proposes to tell the difference between the skin of an animal that has been caught in a leghold trap and the skin of an animal that met with a less painful end?

Earl Ferrers: My Lords, that is one of the factors in the negotiations.

Baroness Nicol: My Lords, will the Minister accept that when I started in politics quite a long time ago, I was known as "the poor man's Barbara Castle"? I now realise what a compliment that was. Given that this country banned the traps as long ago as 1954, is it not a great shame that we now have to reproach a British Commissioner with apparently delaying the implementation of the new agreement? I wish to add my compliments to the present Secretary of State for the Environment who has worked hard to get the agreement adopted. I think we should give him credit for that. However, perhaps some reproach should be given to the British Commissioner for not implementing the agreement.

Earl Ferrers: My Lords, the compliment paid to the noble Baroness was a good one and she need feel no shame about it. It is a great glory. Having said that, I believe that she also is wrong. We must get away from the business of trying to reproach the Commissioner. What happened was that the environment Ministers agreed that there should be a prohibition. What was not agreed was how the ban should be implemented. It is in order to try to negotiate how to implement the ban and the factors involved that the discussions are continuing. My right honourable friend the Secretary of State wants an unconditional ban on steel-jawed leghold traps and action to phase out padded leghold and aquatic traps. If an agreement cannot be arrived at, then the instructions are that the proposal should be implemented. But there are dangers with it. It is better to get an agreement than to have a trade war.

Lord Carter: My Lords, is the Minister aware that the proposal being considered for approval by the International Organisation for Standardisation, which has a role, would allow traps that take up to three minutes to kill the animal? That would allow significant injuries such as the amputation of digits, bone fractures and tissue lacerations. The proposal would allow a trap-to-death time of at least three minutes and probably much longer. Do the Government agree with the Labour Party that such

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traps are completely unacceptable and, with us, will they oppose any attempt to allow them as a way of getting round the proposed ban on the import of furs?

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