Transnational Bribery

Oral Answers to Questions — Solicitor-General – in the House of Commons at 10:30 am on 26th November 2009.

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Photo of Hugh Bayley Hugh Bayley NATO Parliamentary Assembly UK Delegation 10:30 am, 26th November 2009

What plans the Government have for legislation to amend the law on transnational bribery; and if she will make a statement.

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Photo of Vera Baird Vera Baird Solicitor General, Attorney General's Office

The Bribery Bill, already referred to, will provide a modern and comprehensive scheme of bribery offences to equip the prosecutors and the courts to deal effectively with bribery both at home and abroad.

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Photo of Hugh Bayley Hugh Bayley NATO Parliamentary Assembly UK Delegation

When I introduced my draft International Bribery and Corruption Bill in February 1998, it was opposed by Michael Fabricant, who sits on the Conservative Front Bench today, and who described it as "fundamentally naïve". Has my hon. and learned Friend discussed the Bribery Bill with the Opposition Law Officers and will they now support it?

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Photo of Vera Baird Vera Baird Solicitor General, Attorney General's Office

I do not think there is anything fundamentally naïve about this Bill. At first sight, it looks as if the Bill is going to hit the spot and will be much more modern, clearer and less fragmented than what applies currently. Whether the Opposition will support it, I do not know. It will be introduced in the other place by my noble Friend Lord Bach, and when it comes here it will be dealt with by the Under-Secretary of State for Justice, my hon. Friend Claire Ward, who I have no doubt at all will have conversations with the Opposition. May I congratulate my hon. Friend Hugh Bayley, who has had a long-term interest in this issue and has focused primarily on ensuring that bribery and corruption go out of overseas development funding? I hope that he will be pleased with the Bill when it comes through.

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Photo of Peter Bone Peter Bone Conservative, Wellingborough

Has the Solicitor-General had representations about alleged systematic bribery in overseas offices by entry clearance officers, allowing people effectively to buy visas to enter this country?

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Photo of Vera Baird Vera Baird Solicitor General, Attorney General's Office

No, I have not, although I have read, as I am sure the hon. Gentleman has, about some suggestions along those lines. When they are brought to the attention of the authorities, they will, of course, be taken very seriously.

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