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Mental Health Act 1983: Responses to White Paper

Baroness Gould of Potternewton asked Her Majesty's Government:

Prostate Cancer and PC-SPES

Lord Acton asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: The University of California research assessed the potential anti-tumour activities of PC-SES, a herbal mixture used by some patients with prostate cancer in the USA. Evidence of its effectiveness will be considered in the systematic review of evidence undertaken as part of the development of Improving Outcomes guidance for urological cancers. This guidance is being developed by the National Institute for Clinical Excellence and will be published next year. The guidance will focus on aspects of service design and best treatment for patients with urological cancers.

Department of Health: Legal Advisers

Lord Pearson of Rannoch asked Her Majesty's Government:

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Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: The Department of Health, like any other government department, is free to seek legal advice from independent private sector lawyers. Such lawyers could, provided they avoided any conflict of interest, provide legal advice to the French Government also. The United Kingdom Government are not aware that in-house lawyers employed by the French Government hold themselves out as available to advise the UK Government.

Home Office and Lord Chancellor's Department: Staff Numbers

Lord Windlesham asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What was the total number of staff employed in (a) the Home Office and (b) the Lord Chancellor's Department in 1997, 1998, 1999 and 2000; and what was the annual cost of staff employed in each department in each of these years. [HL4575]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Bassam of Brighton): The source of this information for the Home Office was given on 6 November Official Report, col. (WA 122-124). The costs and staff figures for the Lord Chancellor's Department for the years 1997-2000 are given at paragraph 163 on page 56 of the Lord Chancellor's Department's Departmental Report 1999-2000 (Cm 4606), which is available in the Library.

Electronically Monitored Curfew Orders for 10 to 15 Year-olds

Baroness David asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What action they intend to take in respect of electronically monitored curfew orders for 10 to 15 year-olds following the pilots in Greater Manchester and Norfolk. [HL4715]

Lord Bassam of Brighton: My right honourable friend the Home Secretary has announced today that, following successful trials, electronically monitored curfew orders for 10-15 year olds will be available to the courts from 1 February 2000.

The curfew orders will be a means of keeping young offenders at home, off the streets and away from shopping centres and other places where they may get into trouble. By keeping young offenders out of harm's way, we believe the curfew order should be able to prevent young offenders from reoffending and help protect the public.

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The roll-out of electronically monitored curfews for 10-15 year olds should be seen within the context of the youth justice reforms as a whole. Tackling youth crime and reforming the youth justice system remains a key priority.

The evaluation report of the trials is being published today. Copies have been placed in the Library.

Immigration Detainees: Internal Reviews

Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Why reasons for continued detention in Immigration Service detention reviews are not routinely disclosed to detainees. [HL4611]

Lord Bassam of Brighton: When people are initially detained they are given reasons for their detention in writing. Similarly they are informed in writing when the basis of their detention changes. The cases of those held in detention under the Immigration Act 1971 are subject to regular reviews by the Immigration Service. These review are part of the internal process designed to ensure that continued detention is justified in every case. Detainees receive full information about the reasons for their detention and the progress on their case. For this reason it is not necessary to provide details of these internal reviews.

Third Way Policy

Lord Patten asked Her Majesty's Government:

    On what date the Prime Minister last announced a new policy specifically as a Third Way policy; and what was the nature of the announcement. [HL4317]

The Minister of State, Cabinet Office (Lord Falconer of Thoroton): I refer the noble Lord to my Answer of 25 October, Official Report, col. WA 34.

Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What are the criteria used by the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission in deciding whether to investigate a case; and whether the Commission will investigate the murder of Billy Wright in the Maze Prison in December 1998.[HL4418]

Lord Falconer of Thoroton: Section 69(8) of the Northern Ireland Act 1998 provides the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission with the power to conduct "such investigations as it considers necessary or expedient", for the purpose of exercising its

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functions. The commission's programme of investigations is therefore a matter for the commission itself. I have asked the Chief Commissioner of the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission to write to the noble Lord. A copy of his letter will be placed in the Library.

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission intends to fulfil its commitment, as stated in its Strategic Plan 2000-02, "to be completely independent from any outside influence" such as "a non-governmental human rights organisation", when six out of 10 of the commission's members are also members of the Committee for the Administration of Justice.[HL4485]

Lord Falconer of Thoroton: How the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission intends to fulfil its commitments is a matter for the commission, which is an independent body. I have therefore asked the Chief Commissioner to reply to you direct. A copy will be placed in the Library of the House.

Electronic Communications Act 2000, Section 8

Lord Hughes of Woodside asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What progress has been made in the use of the powers in Section 8 of the Electronic Communications Act 2000. [HL4600]

Lord Falconer of Thoroton: The Electronic Communications Act 2000 contains in Section 8 a power to amend legislation by statutory instrument, to authorise or facilitate electronic communication or storage. The first order laid before Parliament under this section is the Companies Act 1985 (Electronic Communications) Order 2000 amending company law, of which a draft was laid before the House on 23 October under the affirmative resolution procedure.

The second order to be laid before Parliament is planned to be an order by my honourable friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions (DETR), to allow electronic communication between the DETR and local authorities of Housing Revenue Account subsidy determination and decisions.

In her memorandum submitted to Parliament during the passage of the Electronic Communications Bill in January 2000, my honourable friend the Minister for Small Business and e-Commerce said, "The Government envisages that the first Order would be subject to an affirmative resolution, but that Orders under clause 8 would normally be subject to a negative resolution. After the first Order therefore the

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affirmative resolution procedure would be used only exceptionally, with any Orders that raised major issues of principle."

As no major issues of principle are raised by the DETR order, my honourable friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, DETR, has made it subject to the negative resolution procedure. This will enable it to come into force in time for the annual determination of Housing Revenue Account Subsidy. The order has therefore been made, and is likley to come into force, before the company law order.

Millennium Dome: Future Plans

Lord Dubs asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What plans they have for the future of the Millennium Dome after 31 December 2000. [HL4714]

Lord Falconer of Thoroton: Since the withdrawal of the bid from Nomura for the Dome in September, we have received numerous unsolicited expressions of interest from parties interested in procuring the Dome, including one from PY Gerbeau. These have all been outside the terms of the competition.

Within the context of the competition, the competition team has been continuing its discussions with Legacy plc, and in the light of progress the Government has now decided to grant Legacy preferred bidder status. Legacy plc have been awarded preferred bidder status because they have confirmed that they will resolve all outstanding contractual issues within an agreed timetable. Negotiations will continue, and if all goes well we expect to exchange contracts during February. Progress will be reviewed regularly.

English Partnerships will be working closely with Legacy plc to agree a masterplan for the Dome and associated land.

In addition, English Partnerships and the London Borough of Greenwich are working together, and are in discussion with the London Development Agency, to put in place a new partnership for the next stage of the regeneration of the Greenwich Peninsula, This will build on the work done so far on the development of the Peninsula, including the Dome site, the Millennium Village, and retail and commercial investments, and the emerging development framework for East Greenwich Riverside.

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