13 Mar 2013 : Column WS11

13 Mar 2013 : Column WS11

Written Statements

Wednesday 13 March 2013

Elections: Local and Mayoral Elections

Statement

Lord Wallace of Saltaire: My right honourable friend the Minister for the Cabinet Office (Francis Maude) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

Guidance has today been issued to civil servants in UK departments and those working in NDPBs on the principles that they should observe in relation to the conduct of government business in the run-up to the forthcoming elections to local authorities in England and Wales, and for the directly elected mayors in Doncaster and North Tyneside. These elections will take place on Thursday 2 May 2013.

The guidance sets out the need to maintain the political impartiality of the Civil Service, and the need to ensure that public resources are not used for party political purposes. The period of sensitivity preceding the elections starts on 11 April.

Copies of the guidance have been placed in the Libraries of the House and on the Cabinet Office website at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/election- guidance-for-civil-servants

Falkland Islands

Statement

The Senior Minister of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Warsi): My right honourable friend the Foreign Secretary has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

I would like to update the House on the Government’s response to the Falkland Islands referendum on their political status as a British Overseas Territory.

On 10 and 11 March 2013, the Falkland Islanders voted overwhelmingly to maintain their current constitutional arrangements with the United Kingdom. The result is a clear democratic expression of the islanders’ wishes and was conducted in a free, fair and transparent way.

We believe that the result should be recognised by the whole international community as a definitive act of self-determination. It has sent the clearest possible message to the Argentine Government that their demands

13 Mar 2013 : Column WS12

to control the Falkland Islands against the wishes of the people who live there are fundamentally incompatible with modern democratic values. Attempts to intimidate the islanders must cease.

Representatives of the Falkland Islands Government will travel widely in the coming weeks to convey the result around Latin America and elsewhere. More broadly, the Government will continue to strengthen our engagement with Latin America, as I set out in my Canning House speech in November 2010. The UK has considerable interests in the region, with high potential for future economic growth. I am confident that this increased co-operation and partnership with the countries of Latin America is consistent with our desire to ensure that the interests and wishes of the Falkland Islanders are respected and protected.

Rape and Domestic Violence

Statement

The Advocate-General for Scotland (Lord Wallace of Tankerness): My right honourable friend the Attorney-General (Dominic Grieve QC) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) is today publishing a study undertaken by the Crown Prosecution Service into perverting the course of justice and wasting police time in cases involving allegedly false rape and domestic violence allegations.

The DPP published new legal guidance on perverting the course of justice in July 2011 and, for a period of 17 months, required CPS areas to refer all cases involving an allegedly false allegation of rape, domestic violence or both to him to consider.

The report examines all of those cases and in only a very small number of cases was it considered that there was sufficient evidence and that it was in the public interest to prosecute a person suspected of making a false allegation of rape or domestic violence.

While the report shows that false allegations of rape and domestic violence are very rare, they are nevertheless very serious where they do exist. The report’s conclusions suggest that the CPS guidance for prosecutors on this issue is broadly in the right place and the findings will help the CPS ensure that it is able to make consistent and sound decisions in these difficult cases.

This publication is part of a wider programme of work for the CPS to improve its handling of cases involving violence against women and girls.

Copies of this report have been placed in the Libraries of both Houses.