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Volume 448: debated on Wednesday 5 July 2006

To ask the hon. Member for North Devon, representing the House of Commons Commission, how many officials of the House accompanied delegations of hon. Members overseas in the last 12 months. (81509)

The Overseas Office (European Section) in the Clerk's Department comprises five staff, two or three of whom accompany the UK delegations of hon. Members and Peers to each plenary session of the inter-parliamentary assemblies of the Council of Europe, NATO, OSCE and the Western European Union. One or two European Section staff accompany hon. Members and Peers to some of the assemblies' committee meetings.

Over the period from 1 June 2005 to 31 May 2006, eight different House staff were involved in undertaking these duties.

Details of the numbers of staff accompanying Select Committees on visits abroad are given in the annual sessional return published by TSO which is available online, in the Vote Office and in the Library.

The British Group of the Inter-Parliamentary Union, the UK Branch of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, the British-American Parliamentary Group and the British-Irish Inter-Parliamentary Body are funded directly by the Government; the staff who accompany delegations of hon. Members and Peers belonging to those organisations are not employed by the House of Commons Commission.