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There are no plans to reinforce either the PSNI or the PPS prior to devolution.

Polygamy

Questions

Asked by Lord Pearson of Rannoch

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord Bach): The Government are unable to estimate the number of unlawful polygamous households that exist under Islamic law in the UK. Polygamous marriage is not supported or condoned by the Government, and it is not possible to contract a polygamous marriage that will be legally recognised in England and Wales, nor is it possible for anyone domiciled in England and Wales to enter into a legally recognised polygamous marriage overseas. It is a criminal offence for anyone knowingly to enter into a second or

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subsequent legally recognised marriage while still legally married. Any such marriage would be bigamous and void under our laws.

If people enter into purely religious marriages in ceremonies that do not comply with UK marriage law, these marriages will be recognised by that religion, but not by the state. A separate civil ceremony will be required if the marriage is to be accepted as valid under the law of England and Wales. Polygamous marriages are not valid and a separate civil ceremony would not alter this position.

The Government believe that the most practical and effective way of ensuring that people who enter Islamic marriages are protected is to encourage the registration of mosques and imams for the purpose of carrying out marriages that comply with, and will be recognised under, the Marriage Act. We are currently working to achieve this and to raise awareness, particularly amongst Muslim women of the formalities required for a legally recognised marriage in England and Wales.

Asked by Lord Pearson of Rannoch

Lord Bach: Her Majesty's Court Service does not currently record data on the ethnicity or religion of parties to family court proceedings.

Information with regard to the provision of women's refuges is not collected centrally.

Asked by Lord Pearson of Rannoch

Lord Bach: The Government's policy of preventing the formation of polygamous households in the UK is very largely achieved by Section 2 of the Immigration Act 1988 and paragraphs 278 and 279 of the Immigration Rules. It is government policy to prevent the formation of polygamous households in this country.

However, entry clearance may not be withheld from a second wife where the husband has divorced his previous wife. The Government are not aware of divorce being used as a means of creating polygamous households. The UK Border Agency has stated that they are going to look at their guidance and whether any changes are required.

Asked by Lord Pearson of Rannoch



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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): The layout of the UK Border Agency Entry Clearance Guidance relating to polygamous spouses was altered with effect from 25 June 2009, and the relevant section is now SET14.8. This replicates in substance the guidance at Immigration Directorates Instruction chapter 8 annexe C subsection 8. My officials are not aware of any divorces of convenience but will consider whether changes to the guidance are required.

Post Office: Staff

Question

Asked by Lord Dykes

Lord Young of Norwood Green: The Hooper report highlighted the poor industrial relations that exist in Royal Mail. One of the Government's criteria for a potential partner was the capacity to manage stakeholder issues successfully including relations with the trade unions. Now that it has not been possible to secure a partner in the current market conditions, the Government are looking to the management and the unions to take forward the modernisation of the company. We encourage both the management and the unions to work together to achieve this.

Prisoners: Parole

Questions

Asked by Lord Corbett of Castle Vale

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord Bach): As at 31 May 2009, there were 1,904 prisoners overdue a parole hearing. Of those 1,904, the shortest delay for a parole hearing was one month. The longest delays were for 14 prisoners whose target date for their parole hearing was January 2008. However, these cases have now been reviewed and are awaiting reports about the prisoner's individual progress.

Racial Hatred

Questions

Asked by Lord Ahmed

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): The Government deplore all violence and particularly violent crime which is

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motivated by hatred. They are not, however, in a position to make specific assessments of offences committed abroad where neither the victim nor the offender are UK citizens.

The Government are determined to protect all UK citizens from violence, whatever their race or religion. We have robust police and prosecution policies, and police forces continue to be alert to crimes being committed against members of all faith communities and take appropriate steps to safeguard people and property. There are laws to tackle a range of racially or religiously aggravated offences which require sentencers to consider an increased sentence, and there are also laws against incitement to racial or religious hatred.

Asked by Lord Ahmed

Lord West of Spithead: Available information provided by the Ministry of Justice, covering the period from 2004 to 2007 (latest available) is provided in the attached table.

Number of persons found guilty at all courts for selected sections of the Public Order Act 1986, and the Racial and Religious Hatred Act 2006 (1)(2)
Year
2004200520062007

Public Order Act 1986(3)

Section 18(4)

2

1

3

7

Section 19(5)

-

6

2

-

Section 21(6)

-

1

-

-

Section 22(7)

1

1

2

-

Section 23(8)

-

-

-

2

Total

3

9

7

9

Racial and Religious Hatred Act 2006

:

:

:

-



21 July 2009 : Column WA364

Railways: Eurostar

Question

Asked by Lord Berkeley

The Secretary of State for Transport (Lord Adonis): Under the existing charging regime, each Eurostar service between London St Pancras International and the Channel Tunnel pays approximately £2,000 in operating maintenance and renewal charges (OMRC) and £8,000 in other access charges. The charges proposed in the current network statement for High Speed 1 would amount to circa £1,500 OMRC and a circa £2,200 investment recovery charge.

The Government believe that this will address the issues, highlighted by the European Commission, relating to financial sustainability of the existing charges, a view supported by the Commission in approving the changes to state aid necessary to financially restructure High Speed 1 and so deliver these significantly reduced charges.

Railways: Franchises

Question

Asked by Lord Bradshaw

The Secretary of State for Transport (Lord Adonis): Details of all franchise agreements that are not deemed to be market sensitive are published in the Public Register at www.dft.gov.uk/pgr/rail/passenger/public register.

Information pertaining to loan arrangements between individual franchisees and their parent organisations are a matter for the parties to those agreements.

Reforming Financial Markets

Questions

Asked by Lord Pearson of Rannoch



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The Financial Services Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Myners): The European Commission has confirmed that day-to-day supervision of financial institutions should remain at the member state level.

Asked by Lord Pearson of Rannoch

Lord Myners: The European Commission has indicated its intention to use Article 95 of the EC treaty as the legal basis for its proposals to establish a European System of Financial Supervisors, which requires qualified majority voting in the Council of Ministers. The European Commission has confirmed that day-to-day supervision of financial institutions should remain at the member state level.

Asked by Lord Pearson of Rannoch

Lord Myners: The European Commission has indicated its intention to use Article 95 of the EC treaty as the legal basis for its proposals to establish a European System of Financial Supervisors. The European Commission has confirmed that day-to-day supervision of financial institutions should remain at the member state level.

Roads: Surfacing

Question

Asked by Lord Patten

The Secretary of State for Transport (Lord Adonis): One stretch of the A303 trunk road between Mere and Hazlegrove roundabout has been resurfaced with "low noise" surfacing in the past five years. This was from the end of the A303 Mere bypass to the A303 Hazlegrove roundabout (0.9 miles), with the work being done in four sections between March 2005 and November 2006.


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