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Lord Annan: My Lords, does the Chairman of Committees agree that it may well be that the Tate is changing its policy because of the great expansion in space which will come into effect when the Bankside power station is reconditioned as part of the Tate?

Does the noble Lord also agree that it is reasonable for galleries and museums to lend pictures and objects to any state building and that that is reasonable particularly

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when the paintings or other objects may not be on display to the general public? That is a crucial point. All the reserve has always been on display in the National Gallery, although naturally it is not as well hung in the reserve area. But in many museums and galleries such items are locked up and cannot be seen. Therefore it is reasonable that they should be lent.

The Chairman of Committees: My Lords, the noble Lord's second point is very powerful indeed. In our further explorations, your Lordships' Curator of Works of Art has not been unmindful of what can be done by the other galleries around the country. This part of the Palace of Westminster is a wholly appropriate place in which to exhibit some of those paintings.

To deal with the noble Lord's first point, he is quite right. The Tate Gallery's collection has been increasingly stretched. Apart from the point that he mentioned, the gallery has opened branches in Liverpool and St. Ives, it will open the Tate Gallery of Modern Art at the former Bankside power station in the spring of the year 2000 and will relaunch the Tate Gallery of British Art in 2001.

Baroness Rawlings: My Lords, following on from the question put by the noble Lord, Lord Annan, even after Bankside opens the Tate Gallery will still have on show only 40 per cent. of its collection; the other 60 per cent. will still be unshown. Will the Chairman of Committees consider asking Nick Serota, the director of the Tate Gallery, to reconsider the matter and think of some other paintings to lend to this House?

The Chairman of Committees: My Lords, I cannot from my own knowledge confirm the figures given by the noble Baroness, but I completely accept them from her. I have no doubt at all that a way will be found to pass on her wishes, which were echoed around this Chamber, if I interpreted the voices correctly. Mr. Nicholas Serota and others at his gallery have been tremendously helpful.

Baroness David: My Lords, are Ministers still able to borrow paintings from the government art collection for their rooms in their departments? If so, does the value of the paintings they borrow depend on their rank? When I was a Government Whip in 1978, I chose some very nice paintings for my room at the department and was told when I went out that they were too expensive for my rank and that I must choose something cheaper. Is that still the policy? If Ministers can still borrow from the government art collection, why not this House?

The Chairman of Committees: My Lords, on the noble Baroness's final point, I think that those in charge of the government art collection feel that places other than the Palace of Westminster take priority. The noble Baroness will not be surprised to hear me say that I have no responsibility for these matters. I am quite certain that her words will be heard by those who handle the government art collection. I can only say that my own

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experience at the Home Office in 1979 was to receive a very happy series of three Stanley Spencers, which I much enjoyed during the limited time that I was there.

Turkey: Human Rights

3.33 p.m.

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What representations they and the European Union are making to Turkey about the arrest and detention of nine leading members of the HADEP (People's Democratic) political party.

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: My Lords, we have learnt with concern of the arrest and charging of seven directors of HADEP (People's Democracy Party) on 16th February. The British embassy in Ankara is in contact with the Turkish Human Rights Association to establish what developments there have been in the case. Officials from the embassy will raise this case with the Turkish authorities during talks next week. We are not aware of any representations made by other EU missions on this issue.

We regret this action taken by the Turkish authorities and urge them to abide by their international undertakings to uphold freedom of expression and democratic pluralism. We believe that the prosecution of politicians for the non-violent expression of their views is at odds with Turkey's international obligations, and that such actions will damage Turkey's international standing.

Lord Hylton: My Lords, I thank the Minister for her helpful reply. Can she confirm that the Turkish Government have closed down four political parties in recent years? Now a fifth is under attack. Will steps be taken by this Government to make it absolutely clear to Turkey that the freedoms mentioned by the Minister are a pre-condition of membership of all European institutions?

Lord Symons of Vernham Dean: My Lords, sadly, I can indeed confirm that the Turkish authorities have closed down a number of political parties in the recent past--most notably, the Democracy Party (the DEP) in 1994 and the Refah or Welfare Party, earlier this year. We regret that. We expect Turkey to act in accordance with its international obligations and to strengthen its democratic institutions.

The noble Lord raises the issue of preconditions for membership of European institutions. We make it clear to Turkey at all times that its record on freedom of expression is one of the many factors that will have to be taken into account in the development of the Turkey/EU relationship. My right honourable and honourable friends have raised these issues with the Turkish Government on no fewer than seven occasions since September last year.

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Baroness Williams of Crosby: My Lords, will the Minister accept that many of us agree very strongly with the way in which she put the position in her Answer today? Many of us welcome the growing part that Turkey plays in central Asia. However, will the Minister further accept that all of us would wish her to put as strongly as possible to Turkey the absolute conditionality that human rights and civil liberties impose upon any would-be member of the European Union, and that Turkey has to understand that before the question of relations can be taken any further?

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: My Lords, the Luxembourg Council meeting made the points to the Turkish authorities that the noble Baroness puts so eloquently and trenchantly. We continue to urge the Turkish Government to distinguish between the peaceful campaigning of political parties and terrorism.

Lord Rea: My Lords, will the Government consider joining Greece in delaying the £260 million that is due to Turkey under the European Customs Union agreement at least until there is evidence that its human rights record is improving in the respects about which we have heard?

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: My Lords, these are matters that would be considered through the usual channels in the European Union. The Government are aware of the point that the noble Lord raises; it is one that will have to be considered during our presidency.

Lord Avebury: My Lords, will the noble Baroness ensure that in the statement which I hope is being drafted for presentation by the United Kingdom in its presidency of the European Union at the UN Human Rights Commission--which is to meet in Geneva on 16th March--reference will be made not only to these arrests but to the imprisonment of Leyla Zana and her colleagues from the predecessor in title of the HADEP; the banning of the Refah Party which she mentioned; and the constant harassment and intimidation of all legal Kurdish parties? These actions have made it impossible for them to function and have driven so many into the arms of the PKK.

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: My Lords, as I said, Her Majesty's Government continue to make representations on a wide range of different issues. The noble Lord mentions the case of Leyla Zana, which has been raised with the Turkish Government. The case has been raised of the noble Lord's own banning in Turkey, as indeed that of Mr. Jonathan Sugden. I regret to say that, following our previous discussion on this matter, we received a letter stating that the bans are still in place. We continue to make representations on these points, both bilaterally and through the presidency.

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Criminal Justice (International Co-operation) (Amendment) Bill [H.L.]

Lord Evans of Parkside: My Lords, I beg leave to introduce a Bill to amend Section 12 of the Criminal Justice (International Co-operation) Act 1990. I beg to move that the Bill be now read a first time.

Moved, That the Bill be now read a first time.-- (Lord Evans of Parkside.)

On Question, Bill read a first time, and to be printed.

Competition Bill [H.L.]

3.38 p.m.

Read a third time.

Clause 1 [Enactments replaced]:

Lord McNally moved Amendment No. 1:

Page 1, line 14, at end insert--
("( ) Paragraphs 5 to 9 of Schedule 13 make particular transitional provision in relation to the Restrictive Trade Practices Act 1976 and the Resale Prices Act 1976.").

The noble Lord said: My Lords, I rise to speak instead of the noble Lord, Lord Morris of Manchester, who is unfortunately unwell, although happily now out of hospital. Noble Lords will recall that on Report, on 23rd February, in tabling these amendments the noble Lord said that they had two purposes. The first was to stay the Director General of Fair Trading's legal proceedings under the old Act where not to do so would put community pharmacies in double jeopardy. The second was to secure resale price maintenance for over-the-counter medicines for a minimum five-year period of transition. At that time the noble Lord, Lord Morris, said that he would withdraw the amendment to give him time to consider the Government's reply and to inquire further about the activities of the Director General of Fair Trading who, it had been reported, had been lobbying against his amendments.

On that point, the Director-General of Fair Trading said that he had not been lobbying but providing press briefing in order to inform the debate. I suppose one could say: "He informs the debate; I lobby; they improperly influence". I believe that regulators should be careful about their activities while Parliament is debating their powers and responsibilities. From his sick bed, the noble Lord, Lord Morris, is not happy with the director general's explanation.

There are other noble Lords more qualified than I to argue the merits of the amendment. It seems to me that there is a genuine dilemma between health and retailing, between community service and competition. Having listened to the previous debate, what worries me is that at this stage parallel objectives seem to be at work, with health Ministers talking about their commitment to community pharmacies and DTI Ministers emphasising, quite properly, their desire to see the consumer obtain the best value when paying for their medicines.

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I believe there is a genuine case for a pause before action is taken under old legislation or new legislation is put in place which may irretrievably damage the community pharmacy provisions and before the Government know the full implications of the competition law that they are introducing. A strong case can be made on both sides, but I believe that there is an even stronger case for the Government to pause and for there to be some departmental co-ordination to ensure that the full impact of their proposals for competition law will not have a devastating effect on health and pharmacy provision.

3.45 p.m.

Baroness O'Cathain: My Lords, I rise to oppose the amendment. The noble Lord, Lord McNally, said that there was a case for looking at the matter again. He said that, if the amendment were not passed, pharmacy provision would be irretrievably damaged. We need to consider what is involved here. We are talking about over-the-counter medicines, which account for between 3 per cent. and 7 per cent. of the total turnover of pharmacies; we are not talking about prescription medicines, which account for about 80 per cent. of the work of pharmacies. The idea that the Bill's effect on that 3 to 7 per cent. can damage the future of community pharmacies is unbelievable.

We need to look at the matter again. We are talking about resale price maintenance. This is a competition Bill. The amendment is anti-competitive; it is in breach of Article 5 of the Treaty of Rome. The OFT survey found that the proposal would not be sensible since such a small proportion of products would be affected. It would be a tax on the low-income shopper, a blunt instrument which would maintain higher than necessary prices. Lone parents and low-paid customers desperately need price competition.

I draw the attention of the House to the fact that, when the Net Book Agreement collapsed, many predicted the death of small bookshops. That did not happen. When in doubt, policy-makers should always err on the side of the consumer, particularly when discussing the Competition Bill.

Finally, I draw attention to a paper in Consumer Policy Review, published by the Consumers' Association, in November 1996, which said that resale price maintenance of these products,

    "is inappropriate because it is the wrong instrument for the wrong target. Rural and disadvantaged communities should have adequate access to pharmacy services. However, a regressive tax on all consumers is not the best means of attaining this goal. The inadequacy of RPM as a means of protecting marginally profitable pharmacies has been implicitly recognised by successive governments in the establishment and maintenance of the Essential Small Pharmacies Scheme and support for self dispensation by General Practitioners. It is to these schemes and this type of approach that we should look when attempting to protect access to rural and vulnerable consumers".

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