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Lord West of Spithead: The decision to request the release and return of Mr Mohamed was taken in light of work by the US Government to reduce the number of those detained at Guantanamo with the aim of closing the facility and our wish to offer practical and concrete support to those efforts. I cannot comment on individual cases but, as my right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs made clear in his public statement of the 23 of February: “In reaching this decision we have paid full consideration to the need to maintain national security and the Government's overriding responsibilities in this regard”.

Asked by Baroness Neville-Jones

Lord West of Spithead: We do not discuss the immigration status of individuals. However, as with any foreign national, consideration will be given as to whether their presence in the United Kingdom is conducive to the public good and, as always, all appropriate steps will be taken to protect national security.

Human Rights


Asked by Lord Evans of Watford

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): Only persons with the right of abode in the UK under Section 2 of the Immigration Act 1971, being British citizens and certain Commonwealth citizens, are free to enter and remain in the UK without being subject to immigration control.

British nationals without the right of abode do not enjoy a right as set out in the Protocol four of the European Convention on Human Rights. This is because the UK has signed but not ratified Article 3 of Protocol 4 to the European Convention on Human Rights. The

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protocol was signed in 1963 but not subsequently ratified because of the potential conflict with our domestic law in relation to the issue of British passports and the acquisition of a right of abode by categories of British nationals who do not currently have that right.

British nationals continue to be admitted freely to the United Kingdom on production of a United Kingdom passport issued in the United Kingdom and Islands or the Republic of Ireland prior to 1 January 1973, unless their passport has been endorsed to show that they are subject to immigration control. British nationals may also naturalise or register as a British citizen under the British Nationality Act 1981 and therefore acquire the right of abode in the UK under the Immigration Act 1971.

Asked by Lord Stoddart of Swindon

Lord West of Spithead: Her Majesty's Government are obliged under the European Convention on Human Rights Article 41 (just satisfaction) to pay compensation awarded by the European Court of Human Rights. Failure to pay the full amount of any such compensation, without good reason, would be a breach of our obligations under the convention.

Internet: Broadband


Asked by Lord Dykes

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Communications, Technology and Broadcasting (Lord Carter of Barnes): The UK has one of the most competitive broadband markets in Europe as a result of both infrastructure competition and, where appropriate, competition through regulatory intervention. Under Digital Britain, we will be looking to establish a government-led strategy group to assess the necessary demand side, supply-side and regulatory measures to underpin existing market-led investment plans, and to remove barriers to the timely rollout, beyond those declared plans, to maximise market-led coverage of Next Generation broadband.

Internet: Security


Asked by Lord Dykes

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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Communications, Technology and Broadcasting (Lord Carter of Barnes): The Government believe that the choice of security technologies is a matter for the companies concerned. Advice made available to those companies has emphasised the importance of good risk management and the selection of appropriate controls. Clearly, cryptography has an important role to play and public key cryptography has an increasing role to play in the authentication of parties in high value transactions.

The Government have passed legislation that enables the use of these technologies. The Electronic Communications Act of 2000 is part of the legislative framework, along with the Electronic Signatures Regulations and the E-Commerce Regulations (both 2002), intended to support electronic communications and transactions.

The Act led to the creation of tScheme ( which is the independent, industry-led, self-regulatory scheme set up to create strict assessment criteria, against which it will approve trust services. BERR actively participates in the work of tScheme, particularly its efforts to promote wider take up.

Licensing: Lap Dancing


Asked by Baroness Gould of Potternewton

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): The Government are confident that the provisions in the Policing and Crime Bill to reclassify lap-dancing clubs as sex-encounter venues will give local communities the necessary powers to control the number and location of lap-dancing clubs.

However, in the light of concerns raised during the Committee stage in the House of Commons regarding the exemption and optional nature of the provisions, the Government have agreed to look into these issues further and are currently considering whether any amendments are required.

Ministry of Defence: Operating Costs


Asked by Lord Astor of Hever

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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Baroness Taylor of Bolton): The expenditure in the notes requested is expressed in total resource costs terms. Near-cash expenditure is not separately identified in the final resource accounts or the centrally held supporting records and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

NHS: Pharmaceutical Services


Asked by Earl Howe

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Darzi of Denham): We do not consider it appropriate to award specific appeal rights to specific parties in respect of the pharmaceutical needs assessments (PNAs) carried out by primary care trusts (PCTs). Instead, the Health Bill proposes that regulations will set out specific matters to which a PCT must adhere when formulating its assessment. Such matters must include the information to be contained in these assessments and may, in particular, make provision requiring consultation with specified persons about specified matters, the manner in which an assessment is to be made and matters to which a PCT must have regard when making an assessment. Consequently, we do not consider that PCTs will usually fail to identify service needs in their assessments since the Bill already contains powers to enable the regulations to make particular provision as to the pharmaceutical services to which their assessment must relate and to consult as required.

If a PCT subsequently failed to identify a service need, did not adequately address how such needs were already being met locally or otherwise did not comply with the requirements of the relevant regulations then we would expect the PCT or strategic health authority to identify this and for the PCT to take appropriate action to correct the failure.

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The Health Bill contains provisions to enable the Secretary of State for Health to set out in regulations the circumstances in which a PCT must make a new assessment. It would also be open to an aggrieved person to challenge the adequacy of a PCT's assessment of pharmaceutical needs through the courts by means of a judicial review application.

We would expect the regulations to set out the rights for parties to appeal decisions of PCTs not to grant pharmaceutical applications using the existing powers in the National Health Service Act 2006 and to follow the procedures currently used in such cases. The NHS litigation authority is constituted to hear appeals of such decisions and its procedures are well established so we anticipate that it will continue to hear appeals when the new test is brought into effect. Where the NHS litigation authority considers that the PCT's assessment of local pharmaceutical needs did not comply with prescribed requirements and that, as a result of this, the PCT would have been unable to undertake a proper assessment of whether or not to grant the application, then it would be open to it to make such a finding. In such a circumstance, the PCT would need to review its PNA and reconsider the application accordingly.

Further information about the likely content of regulations relating to PNAs is given in the Explanatory Notes and supplementary information on secondary legislation accompanying the Health Bill. In summary, the regulations must set out the minimum information requirements which each assessment must contain and the procedures for publication and undertaking a new assessment. For example, the regulations might stipulate that a PNA must contain information on the demography of the people in its area and any seasonal trends or variations, as well as longer-term population projections and age profiles. They might also stipulate, for example, that PCTs must undertake a new assessment where important new health data, trends in disease or evidence of the effectiveness or ineffectiveness of certain types of service emerge.

The regulations might also include the kinds of pharmaceutical services which the PNA must relate to, for example, the provision of certain services such as reviews of patient medication and clinical support for patients starting medication to treat a long-term condition.



Asked by Lord Greaves

The Lord President of the Council (Baroness Royall of Blaisdon): No central guidance is issued. Individual departments have responsibility for the handling of petitions submitted to them.

Asked by Lord Greaves

Baroness Royall of Blaisdon: This is a matter for individual departments that have responsibility for the handling of petitions submitted to them.

Asked by Lord Greaves

The Financial Services Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Myners): Information is not kept centrally and could only be obtained at disproportionate costs. There are no arrangements for generally publicising petitions.

H M Treasury deals with each petition, and other representation received, on a case-by-case basis as to receipt and processing and response.

Asked by Lord Greaves

Asked by Lord Greaves

The Minister of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change & Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): The ASK Defra section of the Defra website uses the No. 10 e-petitions system. Defra e-petitions are sent to the No. 10 website where they are logged and responded to. Open and closed petitions and the Government response can be viewed on the No. 10 website.

Electronic environmental petitions are publicised on the No. 10 website. Records show 602 petitions in 2007 and 833 petitions in 2008.

Defra does not hold central records of petitions received on paper. Petitions are received either by the relevant Minister or by policy units, as part of stakeholder engagement. The petition organiser will receive a response.

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Increasingly. organisations are using campaigning postcards—these are received centrally. 70,000 postcards on 101 campaigns were received in 2007 and 125,000 postcards on 97 campaigns in 2008.

Asked by Lord Greaves

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): The Home Office does not maintain central records of the number of petitions received, and the information requested could only be obtained at disproportionate cost. No arrangements are made to publicise the information contained in them, and there are currently no plans to place details of petitions received in the Library of the House.

Asked by Lord Greaves

Lord West of Spithead: No special arrangements exist for receiving petitions from members of the public. All petitions received in the Home Office are acknowledged. Following receipt they are allocated to the policy unit best able to deal with the subject matter of the petition. They would normally reply direct to the petition organiser within 20 working days.

Asked by Lord Greaves

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord Bach): The Ministry of Justice does not record the number of petitions it receives separately from other correspondence. There are no plans at present to either publicise the petitions it receives or to place copies in the Library of the House.

Asked by Lord Greaves

Lord Bach: Petitions may be delivered to the headquarters building of the Ministry of Justice or sent there by post. Correspondence is recorded on the department's management system, assigned to the most appropriate officials and monitored to ensure that a detailed response is sent within 15 working days.

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