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Written Question
Papua: UN High Commissioner for Human Rights
23 Sep 2021

Questioner: Lord Lexden (CON - Life peer)

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government what representations they have made to the government of Indonesia in support of a visit to West Papua by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights; and what response they have received.

Answered by Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon

We are aware of reports of internal civilian displacement in the provinces of Papua and West Papua following recent violent clashes between separatists and Indonesian security forces. The UK fully respects the territorial integrity of Indonesia, including the provinces of Papua and West Papua. Within this framework, we strongly support the efforts of the Indonesian authorities and civil society to address the legitimate concerns of the people of Papua and West Papua provinces, including strengthening human rights protections, providing humanitarian assistance and ensuring that all Papuans benefit from the sustainable and equitable development of their province. We support the proposed visit of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to Papua and encourage both sides to agree on dates for a visit.


Written Question
Papua: Internally Displaced People
23 Sep 2021

Questioner: Lord Lexden (CON - Life peer)

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government what representations they have made to the government of Indonesia, if any, regarding the displacement of villagers in West Papua; and what response they received.

Answered by Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon

We are aware of reports of internal civilian displacement in the provinces of Papua and West Papua following recent violent clashes between separatists and Indonesian security forces. The UK fully respects the territorial integrity of Indonesia, including the provinces of Papua and West Papua. Within this framework, we strongly support the efforts of the Indonesian authorities and civil society to address the legitimate concerns of the people of Papua and West Papua provinces, including strengthening human rights protections, providing humanitarian assistance and ensuring that all Papuans benefit from the sustainable and equitable development of their province. We support the proposed visit of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to Papua and encourage both sides to agree on dates for a visit.


Written Question
Metropolitan Police: Misconduct
26 Jul 2021

Questioner: Lord Lexden (CON - Life peer)

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the reply by Baroness Williams of Trafford on 8 July (HL Deb, col 1429), what plans they have, if any, to establish an independent investigation of alleged misconduct during Operation Midland, including that of the Independent Office for Police Conduct.

Answered by Baroness Williams of Trafford

Following the receipt of responses by the Metropolitan Police Service and Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) to the Home Secretary’s letter of 16 March, the Government is considering whether further steps are necessary to address concerns raised about Operation Midland, and the subsequent IOPC investigation.


Written Question
Mike Veale
26 Jul 2021

Questioner: Lord Lexden (CON - Life peer)

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the reply by Baroness Williams of Trafford on 8 July (HL Deb, col 1429), when the inquiry by the Independent Office for Police Conduct into the alleged misconduct by former Chief Constable Mr Mike Veale will be concluded; and when it will publish its report.

Answered by Baroness Williams of Trafford

The Independent Office for Police Conduct’s investigation into the alleged misconduct by former Chief Constable Mike Veale was completed in February this year and their report has been shared with the Police & Crime Commissioner (PCC) for Cleveland. It is now for the PCC to take forward any actions arising – after which the investigation report will be published.


Written Question
Care Homes: Children
6 Jul 2021

Questioner: Lord Lexden (CON - Life peer)

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the reply by Baroness Berridge on 21 June (HL Deb, col 14), what is the average annual cost of a place in a (1) children’s home, and (2) boarding school.

Answered by Baroness Berridge

A summary of a project commissioned by the department to understand fees paid by local authorities for children’s homes in England was published in November 2020. It can be found at this link: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/analytical-associate-pool-summary-of-projects.

This reports a mean average fee for children’s homes of £3,962 per week.

The department does not collect data on the cost of boarding schools for children in care.


Written Question
Extracurricular Activities: Coronavirus
28 Jun 2021

Questioner: Lord Lexden (CON - Life peer)

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government what restrictions will apply to camps for schoolchildren this summer under COVID-19 regulations.

Answered by Baroness Berridge

Since 17 May, all out of school settings, which includes youth residentials and summer camps, have been able to undertake residential visits for children. From 21 June, these settings have been able to do so in groups of 30 children, in line with the position for school residential visits. The Department has provided updated guidance on ‘Protective measures for holiday or after-school clubs and other out-of-school settings for children’, which sets out how providers can conduct residential visits safely. The guidance can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/protective-measures-for-holiday-or-after-school-clubs-and-other-out-of-school-settings-for-children-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak.

Throughout the COVID-19 outbreak, the Government has listened carefully to the views of the scientific community, in particular from the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) and its subgroups, when taking decisions on the best way to tackle the COVID-19 outbreak. Gathering in larger groups, including as part of residential visits, does increase the risk of transmission. COVID-19 spreads more easily indoors, especially over prolonged periods, for example in shared sleeping arrangements, which increases the risk of residential visits. The Department continues to keep these restrictions under constant review and will ensure they remain proportionate to the threat to public health posed by COVID-19.

It is important that education and childcare settings continue to be supported with appropriate guidance on safety measures. The Department remains committed to ensuring that schools and colleges can effectively manage risks, create an inherently safer environment, and that we can maximise face-to-face education wherever possible. As new evidence or data emerges, the Government will act accordingly to ensure that all settings have the right safety measures in place.

The advice on residential visits will be reviewed again in advance of Step 4.


Written Question
Defamation: Northern Ireland
8 Jun 2021

Questioner: Lord Lexden (CON - Life peer)

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking, if any, to assist with the extension of the Defamation Act 2013 to Northern Ireland.

Answered by Lord Wolfson of Tredegar

The civil law of defamation is a devolved issue in Northern Ireland. As such, the development of, or any reform to, the law in this area is a matter for the Northern Ireland Executive and Northern Ireland Assembly to consider.

I note that the Northern Ireland Minister for Finance, Conor Murphy MLA, updated the Assembly late last year and that work is underway in his department to review defamation law. An MLA (Member of the Legislative Assembly) has also been granted consent by the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland to introduce a Bill into the Northern Ireland Assembly on this issue. I understand that the proposed Bill is currently being considered by the NI Assembly Speaker as per usual processes.


Written Question
Schools: Crown Dependencies
21 May 2021

Questioner: Lord Lexden (CON - Life peer)

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have, if any, to give schools in the Crown Dependencies access to the Department for Education's Barred List Checking Service Sign-in portal.

Answered by Baroness Berridge

The regulations that are used to determine the eligibility for access to the Department for Education's Barred List Checking Service apply to England only.

The School Staffing (England) Regulations 2009 are for maintained schools and can be accessed here: https://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2009/2680/regulation/24/made.

The Education (Independent School Standards) Regulations 2014 are for academies, free schools and alternative provision academies, and can be accessed here: https://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2014/3283/pdfs/uksi_20143283_en.pdf.

The Non-Maintained Special Schools (England) Regulations 2015 and The Further Education (Providers of Education) (England) Regulations 2006 can be accessed here: https://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2015/728/contents/made and https://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2006/3199/contents/made.

The Department has no plans to give schools in the Crown Dependencies access to the replacement service for Teacher’s Pension Online, the Children’s Barred List Status Check. Teacher’s Pensions Online hosted the standalone barred list check service until 31 March 2021. The replacement service transferred to the Teaching Regulation Agency on 1 April 2021. Schools in the Crown Dependencies should contact the Disclosure and Barring Service directly to obtain an Enhanced plus Barred List information check for those employed in regulated activity.


Written Question
Metropolitan Police: Misconduct
31 Mar 2021

Questioner: Lord Lexden (CON - Life peer)

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the answer by Lord Wolfson of Tredegar on 16 March (HL Deb, col 167), what discussions they have had with the Independent Office for Police Conduct about the reasons (1) why the deputy assistant commissioner of the Metropolitan Police was not cross-examined in relation to allegations of misconduct during Operation Midland, and (2) for the length of time it took to complete its inquiry.

Answered by Baroness Williams of Trafford

Operational decisions made as part of its investigations are a matter for the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC). In response to Sir Richard Henriques’ recent letter to the Home Secretary, she has written to the IOPC asking that it replies directly to Sir Richard about its decisions concerning Operation Midland.

This letter is available on gov.uk at the following address:-https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/970281/HS_Letter_to_Michael_Lockwood_-_Op._Kentia.pdf


Written Question
Wiltshire Police: Misconduct
31 Mar 2021

Questioner: Lord Lexden (CON - Life peer)

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the answer by Lord Wolfson of Tredegar on 16 March (HL Deb, col 168), what independent public scrutiny of Operation Conifer has been carried out.

Answered by Baroness Williams of Trafford

Operation Conifer has been subject to scrutiny by its own Independent Scrutiny Panel, which checked and tested the decision-making and approach in the investigation; two reviews by Operation Hydrant in September 2016 and May 2017 which concluded that that the investigation was proportionate, legitimate and in accordance with national guidance; and a review in January 2017 by HM Inspectorate of Constabulary (as it then was) of whether the resources assigned to the investigation by the Home Office were being deployed in accordance with value for money principles. In addition, the Independent Office for Police Conduct has also considered specific allegations related to the former Chief Constable of Wiltshire Police.


Written Question
Private Education: Coronavirus
17 Mar 2021

Questioner: Lord Lexden (CON - Life peer)

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the answer by Baroness Berridge on 1 March (HL Deb, col 1002), how the education recovery schemes they are designing will operate; and what opportunities independent schools will have to contribute to any such schemes.

Answered by Baroness Berridge

The government is committed to helping all children and young people make up learning lost as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.

This is why the government has invested £1.7 billion to give education settings support to help pupils get back on track, including additional funding, tutoring, early language support and summer schools. We will provide further guidance to schools on the operation of new education recovery programmes shortly.

In January 2021, my right hon. Friend, the Prime Minister, committed to work with parents, teachers and pupils to develop a long-term plan to help pupils make up their learning over the course of this parliament. We have appointed Sir Kevan Collins as the Education Recovery Commissioner to advise on this broader plan. The objectives of the Education Recovery Commissioner, as outlined in the Terms of Reference, are to advise on the design and implementation of potential interventions that will help students catch up learning lost due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

The Education Recovery Commissioner will be expected to engage with a range of education experts and settings to improve implementation and refine proposals to improve the effectiveness of the delivery of outcomes.

Independent schools have been actively involved in cross-sector partnerships, forming impactful and mutually beneficial partnerships with state school colleagues across several areas including curriculum development, quality of teaching, school leadership, and other school improvement initiatives. Independent schools are also involved in the Broadening Educational Pathways programme aimed at increasing the support of the sector for vulnerable children. All of this is consistent with the department’s joint understanding with the Independent Schools Council, which outlines how independent schools can work in partnership with state schools to help raise attainment and, in particular, help pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds. I would very much like to see this spirit of collaboration extended to our COVID-19 recovery efforts.

The terms of reference for the Education Recovery Commissioner is published here (and can be viewed in the attached document):

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/960070/Terms_of_reference.pdf#:~:text=Education%20Recovery%20Commissioner%3A%20role%20specification%20and%20terms%20of,approach%20for%20education%20recovery%2C%20with%20a%20particular%20focus.


Written Question
Borders: Northern Ireland
22 Jan 2021

Questioner: Lord Lexden (CON - Life peer)

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact of the Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland on the sovereignty of the UK.

Answered by Lord True

The European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Act 2020 was approved by Parliament on 23 January 2020. It implemented the agreement between the United Kingdom and the EU under Article 50(2) of the Treaty on European Union. It sets out the arrangements for the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the EU including the Northern Ireland Protocol. As the Protocol itself makes clear, the UK as a whole, including Northern Ireland, has left the EU customs territory. The future of the Protocol is in the hands of the people of Northern Ireland, with Northern Ireland’s elected institutions to determine whether to extend or end its alignment provisions four years after the end of the transition period.


Written Question
United Kingdom
22 Jan 2021

Questioner: Lord Lexden (CON - Life peer)

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government what are the principal measures they have taken to strengthen the Union between Northern Ireland and the rest of the United Kingdom.

Answered by Lord True

The Government is committed to protecting and promoting the combined strengths of our Union, building on 300 years of partnership. As part of this, we work closely with the devolved administrations on a variety of different policy agendas, including the response to the Covid-19 pandemic, and the review of intergovernmental relations.

Additionally, we are undertaking a review into Union connectivity to improve links between our four nations, and to bring forward funding to accelerate infrastructure projects.

It is our intention to publish Lord Dunlop’s review of Union Capability alongside the completion of the review into intergovernmental relations, to provide as full a picture as possible. We are already in the process of implementing Lord Dunlop’s recommendations and will provide a full update when the review is published.


Written Question
United Kingdom
22 Jan 2021

Questioner: Lord Lexden (CON - Life peer)

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government what are the principal measures they have taken to strengthen the union between Scotland and the rest of the United Kingdom.

Answered by Lord True

The Government is committed to protecting and promoting the combined strengths of our Union, building on 300 years of partnership. As part of this, we work closely with the devolved administrations on a variety of different policy agendas, including the response to the Covid-19 pandemic, and the review of intergovernmental relations.

Additionally, we are undertaking a review into Union connectivity to improve links between our four nations, and to bring forward funding to accelerate infrastructure projects.

It is our intention to publish Lord Dunlop’s review of Union Capability alongside the completion of the review into intergovernmental relations, to provide as full a picture as possible. We are already in the process of implementing Lord Dunlop’s recommendations and will provide a full update when the review is published.


Written Question
UK Government Union Capability Independent Review
22 Jan 2021

Questioner: Lord Lexden (CON - Life peer)

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the answer by Lord True on 19 November 2020 (HL Deb, cols 1535–9), whether they are now in a position to publish the Dunlop Review into UK Government Union capability.

Answered by Lord True

The Government is committed to protecting and promoting the combined strengths of our Union, building on 300 years of partnership. As part of this, we work closely with the devolved administrations on a variety of different policy agendas, including the response to the Covid-19 pandemic, and the review of intergovernmental relations.

Additionally, we are undertaking a review into Union connectivity to improve links between our four nations, and to bring forward funding to accelerate infrastructure projects.

It is our intention to publish Lord Dunlop’s review of Union Capability alongside the completion of the review into intergovernmental relations, to provide as full a picture as possible. We are already in the process of implementing Lord Dunlop’s recommendations and will provide a full update when the review is published.