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EU Legislative Proposals: UK Support

Lord Pearson of Rannoch asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: Although the Commission indicates the new legislative initiatives it will be pursuing each year in its Annual Work Programme, there is no exhaustive list of proposals likely to come before the Council in any given period. Moreover, the negotiating period for individual proposals varies enormously. Whether or not the Government support a particular proposal depends on its content. This may well change during the course of negotiations. For that reason, it is also extremely difficult to predict whether a proposal will be supported by other member states.

Military Consultants: Regulation

Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: We are examining a number of options for national domestic regulation of so-called private military companies operating out of the United Kingdom. As part of this process, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office is currently looking at measures taken by other governments, including recent South African legislation.

EU Economic and Social Committee:UK Candidates

Lord Davies of Oldham asked Her Majesty's Government:

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Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: We have today submitted to the Council Secretariat details of the United Kingdom's 24 nominees for membership of the Economic and Social Committee, along with 24 reserve nominees.

The nominees are: Group I

    Malcolm Levitt--European Adviser, Barclays Bank

    John Little CBE--Former Chairman, CBI Scotland

    Peter Morgan--Director, South West Wales Electricity

    Kenneth Walker--Management Consultant

    Clive Wilkinson--Director of the Gin and Vodka Association

    Bill Tosh--Chief Director of Unidare Plastics

    Dr. Sandra Thomas--Nuffield Council for Bioethics

    Yvonne Thompson--European Federation of Black Women Business Owners Group II

    Tom Jenkins--Europe Unit, TUC

    Helen McGrath OBE--NUKFAT, TUC Women's Committee

    George Wright--Welsh TGWU

    Campbell Christie CBE--Scottish TUC

    Eddy Warillow--Regional Secretary, GMB

    Ken Jackson--AEEU

    Josie Irwin--Royal College of Nursing

    Alison Shepherd--UNISON Group III

    Ann Davison--Consumers in Europe

    Sukhdev Sharma--Commission for Racial Equality

    Professor Rose D'Sa--University of Glamorgan

    Tim Pape--Shaw Trust

    David Evans CBE--ex-Director General, NFU

    Professor James Petrie--Aberdeen Royal Infirmary

    John Simpson--Economics Consultant

    Alma Williams--Consumer Issues

The reserve nominees are: Group I

    Keith Welton--Mid Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce

    Brian Prime--Federation of Small Business

    Jim Foulds--ex-Chemical Industries Association

    Leonard Collinson--Forum of Private Business

    Pamela Shimell--Managing Director Industry and Environment Associates

    Doug Franks--Biscuits, Cakes, Chocolate & Confectionery Alliance

    Balram Gidoomal--Chairman of Winning Communications

    Alan Blackburn--Ex-Nat West

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    Group II

    David Triesman--Association of University Teachers

    John Lyons CBE--Engineers and Managers Association

    Sir Alex Macara--BMA

    Ian Partridge--Lloyds TSB Group Union

    Rory Murphy--NatWest Staff Association

    John Andrews--Management and Professional Staff Association

    Tom Leney--Association of Teachers and Lecturers

    Christopher Minta--NATFHE Group III

    Robert Moreland--Business Graduate Association

    Catherine O'Donnell--Low Pay Unit

    Sean Mayo--Union of Independent Companies

    Iain Robertson--Highland and Islands Enterprise

    John Fergusson, OBE--Royal Pharmaceutical Society

    Chris King--Avon Rubber

    Felicity Huston--Northern Ireland Consumer Council

    Fitzroy Andrew--Windsor Fellowship

In selecting these nominees the Government have sought to provide a delegation with a wide range of experience who will be able to represent the views of differing social and economic groups throughout the United Kingdom.

Diplomatic Community: Alleged Offences

Baroness Pitkeathley asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many serious offences were committed in 1997 by persons entitled to immunity from prosecution.[HL2499]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: From a diplomatic community of over 17,000 persons, 17 alleged serious offences by persons entitled to immunity were drawn to the attention of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in 1997. "Serious offences" are defined in accordance with the report to the Foreign Affairs Committee, The Abuse of Diplomatic Immunities and Privileges (1985), as offences which fall into the category which in certain circumstances attract a maximum penalty of six months' imprisonment or more: the majority involved drinking and driving and shoplifting.

In relation to this Question, I refer my noble friend to the Answer I gave to the noble Lord, Lord Marlesford, on 1 June (WA15-16) that one diplomat was withdrawn at the department's request from his post in the United Kingdom as a result of alleged offences, compared with six the previous year.

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Immigration Appellate Authority:Computer Delivery

The Countess of Mar asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What was the cost of the computers delivered to the Immigration Appellate Authority at Taylor House in March; what are the terms of the contract with the supplier; why the computers remain unpacked; whether they can guarantee that the software will meet the needs of the authority; why staff have been trained on computers they cannot use; and when they expect the equipment to be brought into service.[HL2329]

The Lord Chancellor (Lord Irvine of Lairg): The total cost of computers and IT equipment delivered to Taylor House in March 1998 was £102,410.43. This figure includes all hardware, software and licences delivered and paid for during the month for the centre as a whole. The terms of contract are those normally applied in the public sector between contractor and supplier. Delays in the realignment of some IT support service functions while those services were contracted out to the private sector meant the support services were unable to install the equipment until a number of outstanding issues had been resolved. It was decided the training programme should not be put on hold, although it would have been more desirable to train staff and judiciary on their own computers had they been available for use at the time. The difficulties have now been resolved and the equipment is timetabled to be installed during July, when checks will be made to ensure the software meets the requirements for which it was intended.

Asylum Appeals

The Countess of Mar asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How may appeals to (a) adjudicators and (b) the tribunal are currently outstanding for (i) asylum and (ii) other cases; and at what rate these cases are being heard.[HL2331]

The Lord Chancellor: As at the end of May 1998 there were 21,255 asylum and 6,429 non-asylum adjudicator appeals outstanding. These are being disposed of at a rate of 1,600 asylum appeals per month. At the same time there were 1,006 asylum applications and 1,378 asylum tribunal appeals outstanding. There were an additional 844 and 1,460 non-asylum applications and appeals outstanding respectively. These are being disposed of at an average rate of nearly 1,200 per month.

The Countess of Mar asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What was the total number of asylum appeals heard by the Immigration Appeal Tribunal in 1996 and 1997; and how many of these cases were returned to adjudicators for hearing de novo by the Immigration Appeal Tribunal.[HL2332]

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The Lord Chancellor: There were 2,435 tribunal appeals (not applications) heard during 1997-98, 1,957 during 1996-97 (estimated figure) and 1,230 during 1995-96. There are no reliable data currently available to distinguish the number, or proportion, of appeals returned to adjudicators de novo from the tribunal.

Legal Services Ombudsman: Annual Report

Baroness Pitkeathley asked Her Majesty's Government:

    When the Legal Services Ombudsman intends to publish her seventh annual report.[HL2465]

The Lord Chancellor: The Legal Services Ombudsman has today published her seventh annual report, and copies have been placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

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