John Barrett: I commend the hon. Member for North Thanet (Mr. Gale) on his passionate speech, in which he described many detailed and moving cases. I also congratulate him on his long track record on this matter, and on everything he has said today. He has done more than anyone to highlight what is an all too familiar tale of a Department that is willing to use every trick in the book to avoid meeting its...
John Barrett: Does the hon. Gentleman agree that that is the major failing of the Bill? It has redefined the word "eradicate". Eradicating poverty means to wipe it out, and the target is not to wipe it out.
John Barrett: The hon. Lady is making an interesting and well considered argument. Does she agree that the fear generated by the draft press release from the Conservative party makes life even tougher for constituents whose lives are already often difficult?
John Barrett: Does my hon. Friend agree that, in the run-up to the general election, now is an opportune time for all parties to make a clear commitment to a high-speed rail network throughout the UK that serves all major cities, so that no area suffers from blight?
John Barrett: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when his Department's International Group regional co-ordination unit of the EC errors team will reply to the hon. Member for Edinburgh West's correspondence of 5 November 2009 with regard to Mr. Kamal Ramdani.
John Barrett: What recent discussions she has had with the Attorney-General on the implications of the proposed Bribery Bill for the role of the Attorney-General.
John Barrett: I thank the Solicitor-General for that answer, but what can she do to assure the House that never again will the Government use bogus reasons for not proceeding with Serious Fraud Office offences? I simply mention the murky BAE Systems-Saudi arms deal.
John Barrett: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many visa applications submitted to the British consulate in Islamabad are outstanding; and what steps he plans to take to expedite the processing of such applications.
John Barrett: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what steps he is taking to maintain levels of funding for the arts during the recession.
John Barrett: What the Government's latest estimate is of the costs of disposal of the UK's current nuclear waste.
John Barrett: Does the Minister accept that when the full costs of disposing of nuclear waste are taken into consideration, electricity generation by nuclear power proves to be a very expensive option?
John Barrett: The Leader of the House said in her statement that the House of Commons had to "fully resolve this damaging episode", but does she agree that it cannot be fully resolved until the issue of flipping homes for the avoidance of capital gains tax has been investigated?
John Barrett: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what targets apply to the British consulate in Islamabad on timescales for replying to letters from hon. Members on visa applications.
John Barrett: I am listening carefully to the hon. Gentleman. This issue becomes quite complicated because it is within the power of Scottish Ministers to devise a strategy that requires UK benefits to be raised to a certain level to wipe out poverty in Scotland.
John Barrett: I listened to what the hon. Lady was saying, and she is making some important points. She referred to an 82-year-old grandmother, but would she accept that there is another group that is badly affected—the many grandmothers who are still of working age? Dealing with a crisis immediately puts a stop to their income and has a knock-on effect.
John Barrett: It has been an excellent debate, with contributions from all parties. I congratulate the right hon. Member for Enfield, North (Joan Ryan), who opened with a powerful speech containing moving examples of detainees' life in the camps. I will not go through each of the contributions, but some have been excellent. I will, however, pick out the contribution of the hon. Member for Ilford, North...
John Barrett: I certainly agree. We have all, no doubt, had an update from the Sri Lankan high commission, but on one hand we have its response, and on the other-I admit to an interest as a fully paid-up member and supporter of Amnesty International-we have a completely different point of view. We also have first-hand evidence of exactly what has happened from people with family and friends detained out...
John Barrett: I think that we have economic leverage. The GSP plus has already been mentioned as one lever that can be pulled. I think that we can press at every level to ensure that both economic sanctions and pressure can be used in all international bodies, so that people get their human rights. It is not just an argument about what might be happening to individual constituents. As has been mentioned,...
John Barrett: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what targets apply for timescales for processing visa applications at the British consulate in Islamabad.
John Barrett: My hon. Friend the Member for Northavon does not often leave his colleagues with much to say on such issues, so I feel like an apprentice with the master by his side. One group of people who have been very keen on the Bill are those with a disabled child or a disabled parent in the family, because they realise that the move towards the targets will have a great impact on them. As has been...