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Chinook Mark III Helicopter: Delivery Delay

Lord Chalfont asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Ministry of Defence (Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean): There has been a short delay in the delivery of the Chinook Mk III to allow work to ensure that some advanced equipment, including the computer driven "glass" cockpit, perform fully to specification.

Chinook Mark 2/2A Helicopter

Baroness Park of Monmouth asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: The sixth aircraft from the RAF Chinook Mark 2/2A fleet is currently being fitted with cockpit voice and flight data recorders as part of the Health and Usage Monitoring System (HUMS) programme, which leaves 34 of the fleet still to be so equipped. The programme is subject to the availability of aircraft not on operational duty, and the expected completion date is currently under review.

Legislatures: Qualifications for Membership

Lord Cope of Berkeley asked Her Majesty's Government:

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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Bassam of Brighton): Anyone can stand for the United Kingdom House of Commons. A Commonwealth citizen, or citizen of the Irish Republic, may take a seat in the House of Commons as long as (like British citizens) he or she is aged 21 or over. In United Kingdom law, there is a general disqualification in respect of members of legislatures outside the Commonwealth, subject to the exception that a Bill now before the Lordships' House seeks to create in respect of the Dail.

The Home Office does not hold information about members of the House of Commons who have also been elected members of other legislatures. Nor am I able to answer for the legal requirements of legislatures in other countries, such as member states of the European Union. There is nothing in United Kingdom law, however, to prevent a member of the Isle of Man or Channel Islands legislatures from also standing for and taking a seat in the House of Commons, as long as he or she is a Briton, Commonwealth or Irish citizen.

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Neither is there United Kingdom law which prevents one person standing for and being elected to represent two constituencies. The procedures where a member is elected for two seats are set out on page 34 of Erskine May.

The Scottish Parliament, the National Assembly for Wales and the Northern Ireland Assembly will govern who may be appointed Minister or Member of the Executive. Elected Members of the House of Commons have not been prevented from sitting as part of devolved legislatures, although the Scotland Act 1998 prohibits government Ministers from being members of the Scottish Executive.

Election to a local authority is governed by Sections 79 and 80 of the Local Government Act 1972, as amended by the Local Government Elections (Changes to the Franchise and Qualifications of Members) Regulations 1985, which sets residence qualifications in addiction to nationality requirements

Exclusion Orders

Lord Brett asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they intend to use their powers under Section 8B of the Immigration Act 1971, as inserted by Section 8 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999, to designate certain international instruments excluding certain individuals or categories of person from the United Kingdom.[HL3973]

Lord Bassam of Brighton: Yes. The Immigration (Designation of Travel Bans) Order 2000 was laid before Parliament today and comes into force on 10 October. The order designates certain United Nations Security Council Resolutions and European Union Common Positions in respect of Angola, Burma, the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and Sierra Leone.

Kosovan Refugees: Forced Repatriation

Lord Judd: asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What is their policy towards the forced repatriation of certain refugees to Kosovo on the ground that they have been guilty of a crime in the past, even when their sentences may have been long since completed; and what representations they are making to governments which pursue such a policy.[HL3857]

Lord Bassam of Brighton: The Government's policy in respect of the repatriation of those persons recognised as refugees in the United Kingdom, whatever their nationality or country of habitual residence, is in accordance with the provisions of the 1951 convention and the 1967 protocol relating to the status of refugees.

Article 1F(b) of the convention provides that the provisions of the convention shall not apply to any person with respect to whom there are serious reasons for considering that they have committed a serious non-political crime outside the country of refuge prior to admission to that country as a refugee.

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Article 33 of the convention, which prohibits the expulsion or return of those recognised as refugees, provides that the benefit of the prohibition may not, however, be claimed by a refugee whom there are reasonable grounds for regarding as a danger to the security of the country in which he is, or who, having been convicted of a final judgement of a particularly serious crime, constitutes a danger to the community of that country.

Each case is considered on its individual merits taking into account the provisions of the convention and relevant United Kingdom legislation.

No representations are being made to other governments in this respect.

Detention Centre Rules

Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they intend to consult Parliament about the draft Detention Centre Rules. [HL3928]

Lord Bassam of Brighton: The Detention Centre Rules will be laid before Parliament after they have been "made". This is likely to be in the late autumn.

The procedure for this Statutory Instrument was debated and determined during the passage of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999. The rules are subject to the ordinary negative resolution procedure and consequently the need for consultation in Parliament on the draft rules does not arise.

An extensive consultation process did accompany the drafting of the rules. The background to this will be explained to you when the Minister of State for the Home Office (Mrs Roche) responds to your letter of 6 September 2000.


Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will consult the Association of Chief Police Officers about measures to prevent the use of crossbows by criminals. [HL3927]

Lord Bassam of Brighton: There are no plans to consult the Association of Chief Police Officers on this issue.

The police already have statutory powers to deal with the misuse of crossbows. The Crossbows Act 1987 imposes restrictions on the sale and hire of crossbows to, and their possession by, people under 17 years of age. In addition, if the police believe that somebody is carrying a crossbow with intent to cause injury they may prosecute him or her under Section 1 of the Prevention of Crime Act 1953, which makes it an offence to carry an offensive weapon in a public place, carrying a maximum penalty of four years' imprisonment or an unlimited fine or both.

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