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The Secretary of State for Transport (Lord Adonis): I would like to update the House on one of the specific decisions made by the Government following the recent review of aviation security-the introduction of advanced imaging technology (AIT) (also known as body scanners) at UK airports.
The requirement to deploy AIT machines at Heathrow and Manchester airports comes into effect today and I expect additional scanners to be deployed at these airports and to be introduced at Birmingham Airport over the course of this month. This will be followed by a nationwide rollout of scanners in the coming months. These scanners are designed to give airport security staff a much better chance of detecting explosives or other potentially harmful items hidden on a passenger's body.
The Department for Transport has introduced an interim code of practice covering privacy, health and safety, data protection and equality issues. The code will require airports to undertake scanning sensitively, having regard to the rights of passengers. This is available in the Libraries of the House and on the department's website.
Given the current security threat level, the Government believe it essential to start introducing scanners immediately. However I wish to consult widely on the long-term regime for their use, taking full account of the experience of the initial deployment. The department will, therefore, shortly be launching a full public consultation on the requirements relating to the use of scanners as set out in the interim code of practice, and will consider all representations carefully before preparing a final code of practice later in the year. I am grateful for the representations already received from the Equality and Human Rights Commission.
In the immediate future, only a small proportion of airline passengers will be selected for scanning. If a passenger is selected for scanning, and declines, they will not be permitted to fly. However, the interim code of practice stipulates: "Passengers must not be selected on the basis of personal characteristics (ie on a basis that may constitute discrimination such as gender, age, race or ethnic origin)".
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): My right honourable friend the Secretary of State for the Home Department (Alan Johnson) has today made the following Written Ministerial Statement.
In accordance with Section 14(3), 14(4) and 14(5) of the Prevention of Terrorism Act 2005, Lord Carlile of Berriew QC has completed the report on the operation of the Act in 2009, which will be laid before the House today. I am also laying before the House the Government's memorandum to the Home Affairs Committee on post-legislative scrutiny of the Act.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord Bach): My honourable friend the Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Maria Eagle), has today made the following Written Ministerial Statement.
Two years ago I announced our commitment to a fundamental change in how the criminal justice system deals with women. In December last year we reported on the substantial progress made through the Government's strategy to divert women away from crime.
Today I am announcing the creation of a Women's Diversionary Fund, a £2 million joint funding venture between the Ministry of Justice and the Corston Independent Funders' Coalition. The Women's Diversionary Fund will offer grants of up to two years and will assist us in consolidating good progress and in taking forward our strategy to divert women from crime, and reduce reoffending.
This exciting partnership between the Ministry of Justice and the alliance of charitable trusts forming the coalition represents a commitment on both sides to transform further the way women are treated by the criminal justice system. By working together in this exceptional way we will build on the initiatives already announced.
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Kinnock of Holyhead): My honourable friend the Minister for Europe (Chris Bryant) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.
I will today lay before the House the Foreign and Commonwealth Office Command Paper on prospects for the European Union in 2010. Copies will be placed in the Library of the House. Additional copies can also be obtained from the Vote Office and the Printed Paper Office. A copy will also be available on the Foreign and Commonwealth Office website (www.fco.gov.uk).
This Command Paper provides an overview of the priorities of the Spanish presidency for the first half of 2010 as set out in its political programme, which is available at www.eu2010.es. The main priorities of the Spanish presidency are full and effective implementation of the provisions of the Lisbon treaty, including establishment of the European External Action Service; recovery from economic crisis; reinforcing the global influence of the EU; and developing further the rights and freedoms of EU citizens.
The primary focus of the Spanish presidency's work on securing economic recovery will be to ensure quality job creation for EU citizens. In order to achieve that goal, the presidency will seek agreement on a successor to the EU's 2000-10 Lisbon strategy for jobs and growth. The UK fully supports this initiative and will work to ensure an ambitious reform programme consistent with the Prime Minister's proposal in October 2009 for a new EU compact for jobs and growth.
At the heart of any sustainable recovery must be measures to assist transition to a low-carbon economy. It is essential that the political agreement on emissions reductions and climate financing reached at the Copenhagen climate conference in December 2009 is now transformed effectively into a binding legal treaty. The Spanish presidency must be at the heart of EU work on this; the UK will support the presidency in ensuring agreements are turned into action.
The Spanish presidency will assist the new high representative for foreign affairs and security policy in bolstering further the EU's presence in the global arena. It will hold multilateral summits with Latin
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The Spanish presidency will seek to promote the rights, freedoms and security of EU citizens. The Stockholm programme for EU justice and home affairs co-operation was agreed during the Swedish presidency; the Spanish will take forward work on agreeing an action plan for its implementation. It will seek agreement on an EU internal security strategy, take forward work on gender equality, and assess the European pact on immigration and asylum.
The Dartford-Thurrock crossing charging scheme account for 2008-09 is published today under Section 3(1)(d) of the Trunk Road Charging Schemes (Bridges and Tunnels) (Keeping of Accounts) (England) Regulations 2003. A copy of the accounts will be placed in the House Library.
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