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Firearms Forms and Rules: Review

Lord Burton asked Her Majesty's Government:

2 Jun 1998 : Column WA27

    (c) why all consultees were not sent the Home Office Working Party Note of the main issues raised at the meeting on 19 February to discuss the forms, when requesting further written submissions; and

    (d) when it is intended that there should be a meeting to discuss these matters which involve public safety.[HL1983]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: The arrangements made for meeting representatives of the Police Service and shooting organisations to discuss these forms are as set out in my earlier Written Answer of 7 May, (WA 87). Implementation of the new Rules and forms will take place after they have been made by the Secretary of State, probably on 1 September. The minutes of the working group meeting held on 19 February 1998 were intended solely as a record for those attending, but were reflected in the draft forms subsequently sent out for comment. No further meeting are planned.

Firearms Licensing: Good Practice

Lord Burton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they agree with the Home Office Operational Police Policy Unit written statement by Richard Worth on 12 May to a consultee in respect to the administration of the Firearms Acts, firearms forms and Rules revision that "long standing practice" represents good, lawful or safe practice; and whether they agree that such practices should continue.[HL1984]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: The administration of the firearms licensing system is a matter for the chief officer of police. The Home Office has sought to promote good practice through issuing guidance and circulars to the police, copies of which are placed in the Library. Many elements of this guidance are of long standing and reflect lawful and established best practice.

General Election Voting Percentages

Earl Russell asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What percentage of electors eligible to vote voted for the winning party in the general elections of: (a) 1945; (b) 1959; (c) 1966; (d) 1983; (e) 1987; and (f) 1997.[HL1998]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: The number of votes cast for the winning party expressed as a percentage of the electors eligible to vote is as follows:

YearPer cent.

2 Jun 1998 : Column WA28

Firearms Law Revision

The Earl of Haddington asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will publish in the Official Report the dates in the last 24 months on which members of the Association of Chief Police Officers Administration of Firearms and Explosives Licensing Sub-Committee attended the Home Office working group on the revision of the Home Office Firearms Law: Memorandum of Guidance on the Administration of Firearms Acts; whether they will give the names of all committee members attending, and any others present at each of these meetings; and by what date they expect the working group to report.[HL2006]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: There have been no such meetings.

Anglo-Israeli Military Co-operation

Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether the previous Secretary of State for Defence entered into any kind of military strategic agreement, arrangement or understanding with Israel; and, if so, what was its content.[HL2005]

The Minister of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Gilbert): Her Majesty's Government have not entered into any military agreement, arrangement or understanding which one might define as "strategic". There is a Memorandum of Understanding on Defence Material Co-operation signed in May 1995, which covers defence equipment procurement issues. There are also talks organised between senior defence officials on an approximately annual basis.

Miners' Health Claims: Financial Provision

Earl Attlee asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Answer by the Lord Haskel on 11 May (H.L. Deb., col. 818), whether they have made any financial provision for miners' claims which are likely to be agreed; and, if so, what are the provisions for this year and next.[HL1933]

The Minister of State, Department of Trade and Industry (Lord Clinton-Davis): Provision for all liabilities in respect of former British Coal employees, including health liabilities, in 1998-99 is £273 million. Due to a number of continuing uncertainties--not least because each claim for special damage in particular has to be assessed individually--it is still too early to say how much of this will be required to meet the specific cost of miners' health claims. Provision for 1999-2000 is still subject to the outcome of the Comprehensive Spending Review.

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