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Written Answers

Monday, 25 October 2004.

Parliament Act 1949

Lord Brightman asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Secretary of State for Constitutional Affairs and Lord Chancellor (Lord Falconer of Thoroton): The Government have of course given consideration to the doubts expressed about the validity of the Parliament Act 1949 in responding to the issue when it has been raised in debates in your Lordships' House; for example, the Bill introduced by the noble and learned Lord, Lord Donaldson of Lymington, in December 2000. The Government's view remains that expressed by the late Lord Williams of Mostyn, that "There is no ambiguity in the Parliament Acts which needs to be corrected. The Parliament Act is a valid act of Parliament" (Official Report, 19/1/01; col. 1328).

Lord Brightman asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Falconer of Thoroton: No.

Iraq: UK Public Expenditure

Lord Lester of Herne Hill asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean): My right honourable Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer set aside £3 billion in Budget 2003 as a special reserve to cover the cost of operations in Iraq; £1 billion was drawn down by the Ministry of Defence in the spring supplementary estimate for 2002-03.

The remaining £2 billion of this special reserve was carried forward to 2003-04. The Ministry of Defence drew down £1,539 million in the 2003-04 winter and spring supplementary estimates.

In the Pre-Budget Report 2003 the Chancellor announced a further £500 million for the special reserve in the financial year 2003-04 and a further £300 million for Iraq in 2004-05.
 
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Since May 2003, the Iraq strategy of the Global Conflict Prevention Pool (GCPP) has received a total allocation of £24 million. Of this, £22.2 million has already been spent, or committed, on conflict prevention projects in Iraq, including work with the Iraqi Police Service.

The UK made a total financial commitment towards Iraq's reconstruction of £544 million for the three years from April 2003, including our share of proposed European Community spending in Iraq. To date, the Government, through the Department for International Development (DfID), have committed over £331 million for humanitarian and reconstruction assistance in Iraq, including projects to increase capacity in Iraqi government ministries.

Lord Lester of Herne Hill asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: It is too early to assess the military costs for 2004–05.

It is estimated that £19 million will be spent through the Global Conflict Prevention Pool (GCPP) on conflict prevention projects in Iraq during 2004–05. This projected spend includes projects with the Iraqi Police Service.

The Department for International Development (DfID) estimates that it will spend £91 million on reconstruction assistance to Iraq during 2004–05, including projects to increase capacity in Iraqi government ministries.

Iraq: UN Activities

Lord Astor of Hever asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: The UN has one official in Basra responsible for overseeing the deployment in the immediate future of a five-to-six person UN liaison detachment. The UN has plans for an increase to 10 or 12 staff over the next two months, to include political, electoral and humanitarian staff. The UN is currently providing humanitarian assistance in the south from offices in Baghdad, Amman and Kuwait and through local staff in Iraq. Regular discussions continue between us, the UN and US officials to ensure adequate security arrangements for the UN throughout Iraq.
 
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Israel and Palestine: Peace Education

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: Any initiatives which encourage Israelis and Palestinians to work together, find partners for peace and encourage a return to the negotiating table are welcome. We therefore commend the work done by the Israel/Palestine Center for Research and Information (IPCRI). We have shown our support for IPCRI in the past by funding initiative projects run by it.

European Convention on Human Rights: Derogation

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: The UK is the only European Union member state to have a current derogation from the European Convention on Human Rights for the purposes of combating terrorism.

Arms Brokers

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: The European Union adopted a Common Position on the Control of Arms Brokering on 23 June 2003 (2003/468/CFSP). The Government are working for the revised EU Code of Conduct on Arms Exports to subject applications for arms brokering licences to the common criteria which are already applied to export licence applications. The Council of Europe currently has no activities in this area.

Somalia

Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty's Government:

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Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: The EU issued a statement on 14 October congratulating Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed on his election as transitional President of the Somali Republic. We have reminded him of the importance of showing respect for existing zones of tranquility and of not resorting to military options for the resolution of differences.

Bahrain Centre for Human Rights

Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: Our ambassador has expressed our concerns to the Bahraini authorities. We are following events closely.

Gibraltar: Employment Framework Directive

Lord Lester of Herne Hill asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: Council Directive 2000/78/EC establishing a general framework for equal treatment in employment and occupation was transposed into Gibraltar law by the Equal Opportunities Ordinance (Numbers 6 of 2004), published in the Gibraltar Gazette on 26 February 2004. Implementation of the provisions of the directive on age and disability discrimination is not required until 2006.


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