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The Minister of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Gilbert): Work to collate this information has now been completed and my honourable friend, the Minister of State for the Armed Forces, published a detailed paper entitled Testing for the presence of depleted uranium in UK veterans of the Gulf conflict: The Current Position last Friday. Copies have been placed in the Library of the House.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Baroness Hayman): Between 2 May 1997 and 16 March 1999 my right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Health made twenty-one oral statements to the House of Commons. We are satisfied that Parliament has ample opportunity to scrutinise the Government's policies on health.
What consultations they held, and with whom, when they decided to go against their commitments, undertaken in the light of the Jenkins Reports on the Royal Parks, to restrict the commercialisation of the Royal Parks; and whether they will now consult with all the bodies who were consulted by the Jenkins Commission; and [HL1466]
Why, while they consulted the public over proposals to construct a memorial garden to Diana, Princess of Wales, in Kensington Gardens, they have not consulted the public over their plans for the commercialisation of Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens; and whether they will now do so.[HL1467]
Lord McIntosh of Haringey: The Government want to see the Royal Parks, which are a great national asset, used for more events both to attract a greater range of visitors and to increase income for investment in the fabric of the parks. An increase in the number of events proposed for the Royal Parks this summer can, we believe, be undertaken without undermining the principles in the reports of the Royal Parks Review Group, chaired by Dame Jennifer Jenkins, or our own commitment to restricting commercialisation of the Royal Parks.
We shall, of course, review the impact of the 1999 season in due course, but it is not evident what purpose would be served by a formal cost-benefit analysis of the kind suggested, even if it were possible.
Consultations on the preliminary proposals for a garden to commemorate Diana, Princess of Wales, were undertaken because of the high level of public interest and because they would permanently affect the fabric of Kensington Gardens. Concerts in the Royal Parks are a familiar part of the summer season in London and the proposed increase in their number will have only a temporary, occasional effect which does not merit such extensive consultation. Nonetheless, the Royal Parks Agency has discussed its proposed programme of events with the relevant authorities and informed Friends' Groups of its plans.
Of the 248 prisoners released, 78 were convicted of murder, 76 received life sentences and 2 were detained at the Secretary of State's pleasure, none were held solely on discretionary life sentences, and 8 were serving sentences for offences which they had committed in England.
Of the 200 prisoners who remain in custody and who could be or have been deemed by the Commissioners to be eligible for release, 70 were convicted of murder, 68 received life sentences and 2 are detained at the Secretary of State's pleasure, none are held solely on discretionary life sentences, and 26 are serving sentences for offences which they had committed in England.
The Secretary of State may suspend a licence under Section 4 or 6 of the Northern Ireland (Sentences) Act 1998 if she believes the person concerned has broken or is likely to break one of the conditions of his licence. A person's licence is subject only to the conditions: that he does not support a specified organisation (within the meaning of Section 3 of the Act); that he does not become concerned in the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism connected with the affairs of Northern Ireland; and in the case of a life sentence prisoner, that he does not become a danger to the public.
On consideration of a person's case, if the Commissioners think he has not broken and is not likely to break a condition imposed by this section, they shall confirm his licence, otherwise they shall revoke his licence.
The Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Lord Donoughue): There is no scientific proof that BSE can be transmitted to man by eating beef, but this is seen by the Spongiform Encephalopathy Advisory Committee as the most likely explanation, and all our control measures are based on the assumption that it is. In these circumstances, before it will be possible to calculate with any degree of certainty the risk to an individual as a result of eating beef on the bone, we need the answers to a number of key scientific questions: how much infectivity is needed to cause disease in humans; whether repeated exposure to small amounts of infectivity over a period of time can cause disease or whether a single dose is sufficient to result in disease; how susceptible man is to BSE compared with, for example, cattle or mice; whether there are factors such as genetic susceptibility, or the physiology of the human gut, that might affect susceptibility or incubation period in humans compared with other species.
Lord Donoughue: A number of factors have affected prices in the banana market over the last 15 years, especially the introduction of the European Single Market in bananas in 1993. However, the quality of bananas from the Caribbean is recognised by the trade to have improved substantially.
Lord Donoughue: In its report of July 1998 to Ministers, the Independent Scientific Group on TB in cattle recommended that an external auditor be appointed to check field operations. Cresswell Associates, Environmental Consultants of Stroud, Gloucestershire, have now been appointed to carry out this work until November 1999. Audit work after that date will be the subject of a further invitation to tender.
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