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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (Lord Drayson): Defence Estates, which handles the disposal of MoD sites, has already been in contact with the Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister to ask whether any of the Northern Ireland government departments would be interested in the site. Invest Northern Ireland has expressed an interest in part of the site.
Defence Estates will also consider whether it is necessary to offer part of the site back to its former owner under the Crichel Down rules. Once discussions with Invest Northern Ireland and on the Crichel Down rules are complete, the site or outstanding parts of the site will be offered for sale on the open market.
Why, and by what authority, the Governor of Ascension Island has suspended the Island Council (Ascension) Ordinance 2002 and has decided that in place of an elected council there should be an advisory body chosen by him.[HL4467]
Baroness Royall of Blaisdon: The Island Council (Ascension) Ordinance 2002 was suspended by the Governor of St Helena and its dependencies in April because insufficient nominations were received for the election of an island council. The governor sought and received ministerial approval for this action. The governor has appointed an advisory group to provide him with advice on such legislative and policy decisions as he needs to take for continuing good governance of Ascension during the temporary period of suspension. The governor acted under the authority of section 27(b) of the constitution of St Helena and its dependencies.
Who are the members of the governor's advisory group on Ascension Island; what are their terms of reference; and how they reconcile the appointment of the body with the principles of democracy. [HL4523]
Baroness Royall of Blaisdon: The members of the advisory group are Cyril Leo, Ray Ellick, Mal Moss JP, Stedson Stroud MBE JP and Ian Coverdale. The
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What were the circumstances of the incident at the Galway air show on 24 June when the door to a Royal Air Force Merlin helicopter in flight was reported to have fallen off and injured three civilians on the ground; and whether a board of inquiry has been convened.[HL4503]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (Lord Drayson): An Air Accident Board of Inquiry (BoI) was convened by Joint Helicopter Command on 25 June to investigate the circumstances surrounding the incident and to identify the possible causes. It would not be appropriate to prejudge the outcome of the BoI, a copy of which will be placed in the Library of the House in due course.
Further to the Written Answer by Lord Triesman on 14 June (WA 267) regarding Nepalese citizenship law, and having regard to paragraph 4.86(3) of the Companion to the Standing Orders (Resolution on ministerial accountability), why they will not place the British record of the discussions, which has been available on the internet since 10 June, in the Library of the House; and whether they will now place that record in the Library of the House. [HL4428]
Baroness Royall of Blaisdon: We requested the Nepalese authorities formally to agree our record of the meeting. This agreement has not been forthcoming. We therefore informed the Nepalese Ministry of Foreign Affairs on 14 June that we assume its agreement of our record as a true record of the discussions which took place on 22 November 2006. That record has now been placed in the Library of the House.
Under what circumstances the British consulate-general in Hong Kong does not forward every document submitted by a person in support of an application for British citizenship to the Home Office; and whether the consulate-general will consider ceasing the sifting of documents from
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Baroness Royall of Blaisdon: Our consulate-general in Hong Kong's procedures for forwarding applications to the Home Office do not include sifting supporting documents. Every document provided by an applicant which is relevant to the application is included and forwarded to the Home Office.
How many British citizens convicted of (a) serious, and (b) minor or technical offences committed in the United States have been deported from the United States to the United Kingdom in recent years; whether they have made representations to the Government of the United States on this subject; and, if so, with what result. [HL4437]
Baroness Royall of Blaisdon: The United States is not under a legal obligation to inform us of the deportation of British nationals following their convictions for criminal offences. Where Foreign and Commonwealth Office consular officials are aware of imminent deportations, either from local authorities or the prisoners themselves, they will offer appropriate assistance and, in the case of serious offences, inform the Serious and Organised Crime Agency. These details will also be noted by consular officials on individual electronic case files. But the number of deportations is not held centrally and it would incur disproportionate cost to collate the information requested by the noble Lord. We have not made any recent representations to US authorities on this issue.
Whether they will make representations to the Government of Sierra Leone about the incidence of female genital mutilation of girls, and in particular the exclusion of this subject from a recent Child Rights Bill in that country. [HL4567]
Baroness Royall of Blaisdon: We were disappointed that a provision in the recent Child Rights Bill in Sierra Leone specifically referring to initiation practices was removed. However, the United Nations Childrens Fund (UNICEF) has said that the Bill nevertheless protects children against any harmful practice.
We support the Government of Sierra Leones statement in their reproductive health policy, which states that they are committed to limiting all forms of gender-based violence and other practices that are
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How many selective licensing zones have been approved; what is the location and size, in terms of the number of properties, of each one; and with which local authorities they are currently in discussions over the establishment of selective licensing zones. [HL4451]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Andrews): The Government have approved applications for six selective licensing designation areas to date, details of which are set out in the table below. The department is not currently in discussion with any other local authority over the establishment of a scheme.
|Local Authority||Area||Estimated Number of Rented Properties subject to Selective Licensing||Effective Date of the scheme|
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): Decisions to recall offenders on licence are taken on the basis of the severity of the breach and the potential risk of reoffending presented by the offender. Although data on the reasons for recall are not held centrally, identifying the number of breaches in every case would be a manual exercise and, as such, would incur disproportionate cost.
Lord Bassam of Brighton: Presently there are a limited number of ticket vending machines at East Midlands stations and these are to be found only at principal locations. Stagecoach Midland Rail, which will operate the new East Midlands franchise from 11 November this year, will progressively install a minimum of 65 self-service ticket vending machines across the franchise to reduce ticket office queues.
What position they intend to adopt in relation to the attendance of President Mugabe at the European Union-African Union conference scheduled for November in Lisbon; and whether the European Union is likely to have a common approach on the issue.[HL4485]
Baroness Royall of Blaisdon: The Government have been clear in their commitment to Africa and the EU-Africa relationship and their support for an EU-Africa summit later this year that delivers real results. Our position is that we support holding a summit that is consistent with the EU common position on Zimbabwe. All EU partners are working towards a successful summit that is in the best interests of our shared objectives for Africa.
Whether they have evidence that senior Zimbabwean government personnel have transferred assets outside the country; and what steps they and their European Union partners have taken to prevent or to intercept money being fraudulently laundered.[HL4484]
Baroness Royall of Blaisdon: The Government hold information concerning the total amount of assets frozen in the UK only of those who are subject to targeted measures under the EU common position. To date, 42 accounts have been frozen, containing approximately £172,000. Regular and ongoing co-operation with EU partners occurs in order to prevent those subject to the EUs targeted measures moving their assets to or from accounts elsewhere in the EU. Where suspicious transactions are identified, they are investigated by the appropriate national authorities, which in the case of the UK are HM Treasury and the Serious Organised Crime Agency.
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