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Professor Ross Cranston: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what recent discussions she has had with the Office of Fair Trading on minimum pricing as a means of tackling alcohol misuse.
Professor Ross Cranston: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how the National Offender Management Service will interrelate with the Criminal Justice Intervention Panels; and what impact on crime rates he expects to result from such interrelation.
Professor Ross Cranston: I congratulate the Opposition on raising this serious issue; but, on balance, they are wrong. I accept all that the hon. Member for Beaconsfield (Mr. Grieve) has said about the need for my right hon. and hon. Friends to respect the judiciary, but mutual respect is needed. The judiciary itself must respect what Parliament has done and what the Executive do in accordance with our constitution,...
Professor Ross Cranston: I did borrow the word, but I did not purloin it. The words "the duty to ensure the provision of resources for the efficient and effective support of the courts" require the provision of adequate resources. There is no difference between us on the need for there to be adequate resources.
Professor Ross Cranston: I do not accept that analysis. Obviously, resources ultimately have to be voted for by Parliament, but the function of the Lord Chancellor, or the Secretary of State for Constitutional Affairs, will be to press the Government for adequate resources. The Department has a range of responsibilities. There are many functions for it to perform. In terms of the allocation of resources within those...
Professor Ross Cranston: Does the hon. Gentleman concede that if the Government do not appoint enough judges, build courts and provide staff for judges, the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary will not be protected?
Professor Ross Cranston: I am not persuaded by the hon. Gentleman. Let me make three brief points. The rule of law subsumes the notion of the laws and usages of the realm. The elimination of those words does not subtract from the importance of the principle of the rule of law. In retrospect, I realise that I went on at inordinate length on Second Reading about what the rule of law entails. I went back to Dicey—
Professor Ross Cranston: I will on this occasion. I also talked about modern definitions, but there is no suggestion that we are excluding the notion of the laws and usages of the realm. Both oaths take into account defending the independence of the judiciary, which is fundamental. The objection seems to be to the words in relation to ensuring the provision of adequate resources. If there is one thing that we have...
Professor Ross Cranston: I think that the correct position is that, under the Bill that was considered yesterday, the Lord Chancellor has discretion to formulate the first set of rules, but under schedule 1 to this Bill, if the Lord Chancellor does not do that, those rules will be made in the ordinary way. Certainly, subsequently, once those rules are launched, they will be dealt with by amendment and by substitution...
Professor Ross Cranston: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will set out, with statistical evidence relating as closely as possible to the constituency, the effects of his Department's policy since 1997 on Dudley, North constituency; and if he will make a statement.
Professor Ross Cranston: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what evidence she has collated on availability of JIB-PMES assessors related to the Construction Skills Certification Scheme within the plumbing industry in the Black Country; and if she will make a statement.
Professor Ross Cranston: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will set out, with statistical evidence relating as closely as possible to the constituency, the effects of his Department's policy since 1997 on Dudley, North constituency; and if he will make a statement.
Professor Ross Cranston: To ask the Solicitor-General how many people have been charged with offences relating to the stirring-up of racial hatred; how many files on such cases have been put to the Attorney-General; in how many of those cases prosecutions were approved; in which years; how many of those prosecutions were successful; and what the nature was of the issues in successful cases.
Professor Ross Cranston: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how much capital funding has been invested in (a) primary schools and (b) secondary schools in Dudley, North in each year since 1996–97; and if she will make a statement.
Professor Ross Cranston: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the conclusions and recommendations contained in the report on the justice system in Zimbabwe published by the Bar Council of England and Wales.
Professor Ross Cranston: If he will list his official engagements for Wednesday 9 February.
Professor Ross Cranston: I want to ask my right hon. Friend about identity cards. All the evidence on the doorstep and on the phone in Dudley, North is that more than 80 per cent. of people support ID cards. Obviously, they do not want a "Show me your papers, please" society, and that is not what is being proposed. The one issue raised with me is cost, in particular to the less well-off. May I ask for an assurance...
Professor Ross Cranston: I congratulate the hon. Member for Winchester (Mr. Oaten) on the measured way in which he made his proposals, although I do not accept all of them. The only blot was when he bracketed us with Burma and North Korea, which is simply incorrect. Much of the debate about this issue is simplistic. As my hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow, Cathcart (Mr. Harris) said, it often equates Belmarsh with...
Professor Ross Cranston: If he will make a statement on the UK contribution to the international security assistance force in Afghanistan.
Professor Ross Cranston: I thank my right hon. Friend for his answer, and I am sure that the whole House wishes to pay tribute to our troops in Afghanistan. I welcome the progress in ISAF's work, but it would be useful to have an idea of when stage two will begin. May I also ask whether ISAF's remit still includes disposing of munitions, and in particular anti-personnel mines?