Ms Annabelle Ewing: I had not noticed that, so I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for pointing it out. It is indeed rather odd, given that the Conservatives argued at great length on Second Reading for the time for consideration of this important Bill to be extended. Not only are there no Conservative Back Benchers present, but the sole Scottish Tory MP, the so-called shadow Secretary of State for Scotland,...
Ms Annabelle Ewing: The hon. and learned Gentleman will be aware, since he has quoted a senior advocate, of the serious concerns expressed by the Faculty of Advocates about the proposals in general. As for his specific point about the composition of the panel and the number of judges, the faculty expressly called for a majority of Scottish judges on the panel dealing with Scottish cases.
Ms Annabelle Ewing: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport pursuant to her answer of 24 January 2005, Official Report, column 44W, on digital switch-over, what the few remaining issues relating to digital switch-over are that require to be resolved prior to the Government confirming the timetable for switch-over.
Ms Annabelle Ewing: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how the term rural is defined for the purposes of UK Government policy on post offices; and what discussions she has had with Ministers in the Scottish Executive about such a definition.
Ms Annabelle Ewing: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people are employed at the benefits offices earmarked for closure in Scotland.
Ms Annabelle Ewing: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) what cost-benefit analysis his Department has undertaken in the last five months of the introduction of citizens pensions; (2) what cross-departmental meetings involving his Department have been held in the last five months in the introduction of citizens pensions.
Ms Annabelle Ewing: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions when his Department first publicly described the financial assistance scheme as an emergency package.
Ms Annabelle Ewing: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) when he expects the financial assistance scheme to commence; (2) what cross-departmental meetings have been held in the last 10 weeks on the timing of the commencement of the operation of the financial assistance scheme.
Ms Annabelle Ewing: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the (a) total monetary value and (b) average value is of the (i) 2,560 stage one payments and (ii) 112 stage two payments which had been made as at 6 December 2004 to the Skipton Fund under the ex gratia payment scheme for people infected with hepatitis C.
Ms Annabelle Ewing: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list the locations in Scotland where the UK Passport Service plans to set up passport offices to meet the new requirements on passport issue announced on 21 December 2004.
Ms Annabelle Ewing: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what the gross (a) average and (b) median weekly earnings (i) including and (ii) excluding overtime are for (A) male, (B) female and (C) all full-time workers in (1) Scotland and (2) each of the unitary local authority areas in Scotland; (2) how many and what percentage of (a) male, (b) female and (c) all full-time workers in (i) Scotland, (ii)...
Ms Annabelle Ewing: As the MP for Perth, where the Black Watch has its regimental headquarters, I know that my constituents would wish me to make several points on their behalf today. I am therefore very pleased to have been given the opportunity to do so.This is the first time since the Defence Secretary wielded his axe to scrap the entire Scottish regimental system, further to his announcement on 16 December...
Ms Annabelle Ewing: The people of Scotland regard our brave soldiers as part of the fabric of the Scottish nation. They are proud of them and disgusted by the Government's decision to disband and amalgamate the Scottish regiments out of existence. Their disgust is even greater, given the fact that the announcement was made by the Defence Secretary just as soldiers from the Black Watch were returning home to...
Ms Annabelle Ewing: They had just served their second tour of duty within a year in Iraq, had been involved in the controversial deployment to northern Iraq and had sustained the loss of their comrades in arms.
Ms Annabelle Ewing: Thank you, Mr. Deputy Speaker. On the timing of the Defence Secretary's announcement, not only were soldiers from the Black Watch returning home after their second tour of duty in Iraq and a controversial redeployment but they had sustained the loss of their comrades. They had also been required to take part in a publicity shoot with the Defence Secretary, who visited them when they were...
Ms Annabelle Ewing: How do the hon. Gentleman's comments square with the fact that—to take one Scottish regiment—the Black Watch was recently deployed on its second tour of duty within a year in Iraq? The Royal Highland Fusiliers have just been sent out for their second tour of duty. I do not understand how that squares with what he is saying.
Ms Annabelle Ewing: The hon. Gentleman says that restructuring is a minor matter compared with the bigger context that he describes, but perhaps he could explain that to the six Scottish regiments, which regard it as far from minor. Scrapping the entire Scottish regimental system surely cannot be described as a minor matter.
Ms Annabelle Ewing: I think he is in my constituency.
Ms Annabelle Ewing: On recruitment, I have here an answer given by the Under-Secretary on 18 November to a question from the hon. Member for Congleton (Ann Winterton), in which she asked whether there had been a cap on recruitment for the infantry in the last three years. The Minister answered: "There have been control measures placed on all levels of the Army . . . to meet adjustments to funding...
Ms Annabelle Ewing: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the size of the army will be after the proposed re-organisation; and what it was in 1997.