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To ask the Deputy Prime Minister
(1) how many panel members will determine the outcome of the Diamond Jubilee City Status competition;
(2) what process he plans to follow to assess entries in the Diamond Jubilee City Status competition.
As was made clear in the publicity material which accompanied the launch of the competition, responsibility for advising Her Majesty on civic honours and other royal matters rests with the Deputy Prime Minister and Lord President of the Council, assisted by the Minister for Political and Constitutional Reform. The Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport, my right hon. Friend Mr Hunt, is responsible for co-ordinating the Government's involvement in the diamond jubilee. Other Ministers who will be involved as appropriate include the Secretary of State for Scotland, Michael Moore, the Secretary of State for Wales, my right hon. Friend Mrs Gillan, the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, my right hon. Friend Mr Paterson and the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, my right hon. Friend Mr Pickles.
The contents of the applications received will be assessed 'in the round' and on their individual merits. As a royal prerogative matter relating to honours the process will remain confidential, as will Ministers' conclusions until the results are announced. The Queen's decision, made on ministerial advice, will be final and no reasons will be given for applicants' success or failure in the competitions. Local authorities will be sent brief comments on their entries when the decisions are announced.