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HM Prison Wormwood Scrubs

Lord Dholakia asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Williams of Mostyn: A dossier of complaints, compiled by Hickman Rose Solicitors, was forwarded to the Director General of the Prison Service through Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Prisons early last year. The Director General immediately ordered an internal investigation which subsequently recommended that a police inquiry be established.

The internal investigation was suspended on commencement of the police inquiry so that the criminal investigation would not be jeopardised. Having concluded their investigation, the police have now forwarded a dossier to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) covering allegations against 43 members of staff at Wormwood Scrubs prison.

The CPS are now considering whether to lay any criminal charges. A senior manager has been appointed by the Prison Service to co-ordinate all matters relating to Wormwood Scrubs. Ministers and the Prison Service will await the outcome of the CPS consideration before deciding on any further action.

Gibraltar: European Parliament

Lord Wallace of Saltaire asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Williams of Mostyn: British citizens living abroad who have been included on an electoral register in the United Kingdom at some time during the previous 20 years are eligible to register as electors and to vote by proxy in European Parliamentary elections. British citizens who live in other European Union member states are normally eligible to vote in European parliamentary elections where they are resident.

The ruling of the European Court of Human Rights in the case of Matthews v. United Kingdom applied only to Gibraltar. Gibraltar is part of the European Union whereas, except for the few limited purposes, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man are not.

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Gibraltar: Relationship with United Kingdom

Lord Wallace of Saltaire asked Her Majesty's Government:

    In what ways the relationship between the United Kingdom and Gibraltar differs from the United Kingdom relationship with the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man; and what are the historical and legal bases for any such differences.[HL1519]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: The most recent statement of the relationship between the United Kingdom and the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man is to be found in Part XI of Volume 1 of the Report of the Royal Commission on the Constitution, published in 1973 (known as the Kilbrandon Report). The report, however, acknowledged that there were areas of uncertainty in the existing relationship which itself was complex and did not purport to draw up a fully authoritative statement.

The United Kingdom Government are responsible for the defence and international relations of the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man and the Crown is ultimately responsible for their good government.

The Channel Islands were part of the Duchy of Normandy when Duke William, following his conquest of England, became King William I of England in 1066. They have since been subject to the English Crown as successor to the Dukes of Normandy, but did not become part of England nor, later, of the United Kingdom. The Lieutenant Governors of the Bailiwicks of Jersey and Guernsey are the personal representatives of the Sovereign.

The Isle of Man is an ancient Kingdom which finally became subject to the English Crown in 1765 following a long history of possession and disputed claims to possession by Norse, Scottish and English Kings. It did not, however become part of the United Kingdom. The Lieutenant Governor is the Sovereign's personal representative on the Island.

Gibraltar is a United Kingdom territory for whose international relations the United Kingdom is responsible. Its constitutional relationship to the United Kingdom is defined under the Gibraltar Constitution Order 1969. It enjoys a considerable measure of devolved government, with responsibility for a wide range of "defined domestic matters" devolved to local Ministers. The Governor, the personal representative of Her Majesty the Queen, has responsibility for all matters not specifically allocated to local Ministers; principally, defence, external affairs, internal security (including the Royal Gibraltar Police) and financial stability.

British title to the Rock of Gibraltar is based on Article X of the Treaty of Utrecht, signed in 1713, under which sovereignty was ceded in perpetuity to Britain by Spain. British title to the southern part of the isthmus connecting the Rock to Spain is based on continuous possession over a long period.

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Genetically Modified Animals

Lord Alton of Liverpool asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Written Answer by the Lord Williams of Mostyn on 8 March (WA 1) on genetically modified animals:

    (a) whether there is a statutory requirement to reveal, if an animal is being sold, that it has been modified with human genes;

    (b) what assessment is being made of the effect of such animals on the human food chain;

    (c) how many harmful mutants have been created;

    (d) what are these mutants; and

    (e) what harm they are likely to cause.[HL1507]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: There is no statutory requirement under the terms of the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 to reveal the status of animals being sold. However, animals can only be moved between establishments, transferred between different project licences or discharged from the controls of the Act (so that they may be exported) with the authority of the Secretary of State. Authorities may be granted in the relevant project licences or may be requested separately. Information must be provided, in both cases, about the genetic modification.

No animal produced or used under the terms of the 1986 Act has been allowed to enter the human food chain.

Although mutant strains that are of use in scientific procedures may be propagated in laboratories through selective breeding programmes, mutants are not created; they occur spontaneously, not only in laboratories but also in the wild. It is impossible, therefore, to estimate how many mutants have been produced, or to describe all the mutations and their effects.

Lord Alton of Liverpool asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Which laboratories have been granted licences to create transgenic animals between 1995 and 1999.[HL1572]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: Section 24 of the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 prohibits the disclosure of information given in confidence. One of the primary purposes of this clause was to guard the identity of establishments and scientists, thereby helping to protect them from animal rights extremists.

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What is the extent of the departmental responsibility of the Home Office for genetically modified animals or organisms.[HL1475]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: Under the terms of the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986, the Home Office is responsible in Great Britain for the production, breeding and use in scientific procedures of genetically modified "protected animals". Protected animals are

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defined under Section 1 of the Act as any vertebrate except man, plus one invertebrate species (Octopus vulgaris).

EU: General Affairs Council

Baroness Thornton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Following the conclusion of the General Affairs Council of the European Union meeting on 7 December, whether they will list (a) the adaptations necessary to the working structures in Justice and Home Affairs, and for what purposes; (b) when the changes were discussed at the meeting of the K4 Committee and who represented Her Majesty's Government; and (c) what instructions they have given to the United Kingdom Permanent Representatives on the Coreper in respect of its remit to prepare for the necessary changes.[HL1657]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: The conclusions of the General Affairs Council (GAC) on 7 December 1998 relate to preparation of the implementation of the Amsterdam Treaty.

It has been recognised for some time that the provisions of the Treaty of Amsterdam have legal and practical implications for Council working structures in the field of justice and home affairs (JHA). Whilst the JHA Council will maintain political oversight over all JHA areas, including those transferring to the First Pillar, adjustments will need to be made to working structures below the level of the Council. The main change arises from the fact that the co-ordinating committee under Article 36 of the revised Treaty on European Union which will replace the present K4 Committee will, unlike that Committee, have no responsibility for the matters transferring to the First Pillar. In the interests of ensuring effective co-ordination of future work on immigration, asylum and border controls, and on civil judicial co-operation, it has been decided to create new groups to assure such co-ordination. The opportunity has also been taken to review lower level working structures, with a view to achieving greater coherence and efficiency and to incorporating Schengen working structures into the Council structures. A number of changes to working groups have now been agreed, for implementation when the Amsterdam Treaty enters into force.

These matters have been discussed in the K4 Committee on a number of occasions, most recently at the meeting on 23-24 February, where the United Kingdom was represented by Mr. John Warne, Director of the Organised and International Crime Directorate at the Home Office.

The Presidency's proposals were approved by the Committee of Permanent Representatives (Coreper) on 17 March. It was also agreed that Coreper would review the new working structures at the end of the year 2000.

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