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Iraq: Saddam Hussein

Lord Oakeshott of Seagrove Bay asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Triesman): We regularly make the United Kingdom's opposition to the use of the death penalty in all cases clear to the Government of Iraq and will continue to do so.

Israel and Palestine: Gaza

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Triesman): The UN Human Rights Council met in special session on 15 November following the incident in Beit Hanoun on 8 November which resulted in the deaths

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of 19 Palestinian civilians. The council passed a resolution mandating an urgent fact-finding mission to Gaza. The UK, along with the EU, could not support the draft resolution as it was unbalanced and did not reflect adequately the complexity of the situation. We will, however, consider with interest the fact-finding mission's eventual report.

Israel and Palestine: Gush Enumim

Lord Dykes asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Triesman): We have no plans to discuss this specific matter with the US Government. The US Government share our concerns about the routing of the barrier and settlement construction. We fully recognise Israel's right to self-defence and agree that a barrier is a reasonable way to achieve this. However, we call for the barrier to be built either on or behind the Green Line. The route, which the Israeli Cabinet approved on 20 February 2005, takes in a number of Israeli settlements, whose presence is illegal under international law. It also threatens to split the West Bank in two, which in turn undermines the prospects for a two-state solution. We are profoundly concerned at the impact that the barrier has on the lives of Palestinians and deplore the destruction of Palestinian homes and the confiscation of land associated with its construction. We have made our concerns extremely clear to the Israeli Government and will continue to do so.

Israel and Palestine: Occupied Territories

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Triesman): We welcome the mutual ceasefire in Gaza between the Palestinians and Israel. We are concerned at the occasional firing of Qassam rockets from Gaza into Israel but we welcome the public commitments of Prime Minister Olmert and President Abbas to make it work. We continue to call on Israel to ensure that its actions are in accordance with international law. We are concerned by Israel's military actions and the effect this has on civilians. We were particularly

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concerned by the incident in Beit Hanoun. On 8 November my right honourable friend the Foreign Secretary issued a statement expressing our concerns. Israel has suspended its policy of punitive house demolitions. Israel does, however, destroy property on the grounds of security concerns.

We remain concerned at the restrictions on movement of Palestinians in and between Gaza and the West Bank. We continue to call on both sides to implement the agreement on movement and access in full. We also call on Israel to route the barrier on or behind the Green Line. The routing of the barrier on occupied land is illegal. We continue to raise these issues with the Israeli Government.

Israel and Palestine: Peace Talks

Lord Dykes asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Triesman: We remain deeply concerned that neither the Hamas-led Palestinian Authority nor Hamas as a movement has committed to the quartet's (EU, US, UN and Russia) three principles: to renounce violence, recognise Israel and accept all previous agreements and obligations. As my right honourable friend the Prime Minister made clear during his visit to the region on 9-11 September, we would be ready to re-engage with a Palestinian Government if they were based on the quartet principles. We welcome President Abbas’s continuing efforts to form a new Government.

Light Pollution

Lord Patten asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Andrews): The Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005 amended Section 79 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 to include artificial light emitted from premises which is prejudicial to health or a nuisance as capable of constituting a statutory nuisance.

The Government are developing guidance to manage the light environment in England as an annexe to Planning Policy Statement 23 (Planning and Pollution Control). The Government will aim to consult on the draft annexe in 2007.



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Ministry of Defence: Statutory Instruments Committee

Lord Morris of Manchester asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Drayson): I refer the noble Lord to the letter from my honourable friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State on page 23 of the House of Lords Merits of Statutory Instruments Committee's 49th Report of Session 2005-06 (HL Paper 275).

Office of Fair Trading

Lord Bradshaw asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Trade and Industry (Lord Truscott): The investigation of competition cases, and the approach adopted in doing so, is a matter for the Office of Fair Trading. I have therefore asked the office to provide a response to the point raised by the noble Lord. This is reproduced below.

The Office of Fair Trading receives around 1,200 competition complaints each year. It cannot pursue all of these complaints and thus uses a set of published criteria to assist in prioritising those cases that it should take forward. These criteria are used to help the OFT judge how best to use its limited resources; maximising its impact for the benefit of UK consumers. The most recent set of criteria was published in October 2006, but related criteria have been in use since autumn 2004.

Subject to strategic questions around the best mix of cases for the OFT to pursue (including whether the OFT is itself best placed to pursue a particular matter), the OFT's prioritisation criteria for competition cases are set out in the following six steps:



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an estimate of the direct consumer benefit that would result from intervention—or, in other words, the consumer harm that would be reduced/removed by taking action;deterrent effect—including any estimate of the wider consumer detriment reduced/removed as a result of deterrence;any aggravating or mitigating factors;the precedent, policy or profile value of the particular case;an estimate of the OFT resources required to achieve the desired outcome in the case; andan estimate of the likelihood of success.

Any predation case, whether involving national or local firms, would be assessed against these criteria and a decision reached on whether OFT action was warranted as a matter of administrative priority. These criteria permit the OFT to take forward all forms of predation cases, whether involving national or local firms. For example, a “local” predation case might not be rated highly on step 1 of the above criteria but might rate higher on some other criteria, in particular deterrence or precedent value. Equally, a “national” case may be rated highly on step 1 (for example, because of the greater number of consumers affected), but then less well on other steps.

Olympic Games 2012: Roadshow

Lord Luke asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Davies of Oldham: All roadshow venues and locations for the 2012 roadshow were agreed in conjunction with the London 2012 nations and regions group and regional stakeholders. Venues were selected to ensure that there was a wide and diverse coverage of events and locations from within each region in England and Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. As well as all four capital cities and other major towns, the roadshow visited 2012 competition venues, sporting events, venues with special significance for the Olympic or Paralympic movement, cultural venues and tourist attractions.

A number of events were held in major regional centres in order to be accessible to as many people as possible. Guests from across a much wider area than single constituencies were invited and attended these events.

The Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport invited every MP whose constituency was visited to join the event as well as inviting the Conservative and Liberal Democrat Olympic spokesmen to visit the roadshow at any convenient point.

In total, the roadshow visited 62 constituencies, of which 37 were Labour-held seats, 12 were Conservative-held seats, five were Liberal Democrat-held seats, one

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was a Plaid Cymru-held seat, one was a Scottish National Party-held seat, two were Social Democratic and Labour Party-held seats, three were Democratic Unionist Party-held seats and one was an Ulster Unionist Party-held seat. A list of the constituencies is shown below.

City of London & Westminster

Cardiff Central

Vauxhall

Swansea West

Hornsey & Wood Green

Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire

West Ham

Caernarfon

Beckenham

Wrexham

Wimbledon

Sheffield Central

Islington

Leeds Central

North Birmingham, Perry Barr

Kingston upon Hull East

Birmingham, Ladywood

Darlington

Stratford-on-Avon

Sunderland North

Dudley South

Newcastle upon Tyne Central

Ludlow

Edinburgh North & Leith

Leicester South

Perth and North Perthshire

Loughborough

Aberdeen

Nottingham South

North Stirling

Derby South

Glasgow Central

Brentwood & Ongar

Glasgow South

Broxbourne

Foyle

North East Cambridgeshire

South Antrim

Milton Keynes

East Antrim

North East Milton Keynes

Belfast South

South West Aylesbury

North Down

Beaconsfield

Belfast North

Brighton, Pavilion

Dumfries & Galloway

South Dorset

Westmoreland & Lonsdale

Tiverton & Honiton

Preston

Plymouth, Sutton

Blackburn

Bath

Rossendale & Darwen

Bristol West

Stretford & Urmston

Newport East

Manchester Central

Newport West

Liverpool, Riverside


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