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Volume 450: debated on Thursday 26 October 2006

To ask the Prime Minister (1) pursuant to the answer of 9 October 2006, Official Report, column 4W, to the hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland (Mr. Carmichael) on gifts, on what basis the decision was made that it would be inappropriate to disclose the information requested; (96822)

(2) when gifts have been given to overseas dignitaries at public cost by his Office in accordance with the rules set out in the Ministerial Code at paragraph 10.19 since 1997; to whom such gifts were given; what the gifts were; what the value of each gift was; and whether gifts were offered in exchange in each case.

It would not be appropriate to provide details of the gifts and their cost as to do so could cause offence and discourtesy.

To ask the Prime Minister (1) when he last held discussions with the Cabinet Secretary about the exchange of gifts with overseas dignitaries; what discussions the Cabinet Secretary has with departmental permanent secretaries on the advice they should provide to Ministers on the (a) exchange and (b) offering of gifts to overseas dignitaries; and what consideration has been given to the inclusion of explicit guidance on this issue in the Ministerial Code; (96842)

(2) pursuant to paragraph 10.19 of the Ministerial Code, what the applicable rules are governing the offer of gifts to members of other governments or governmental organisations; and on what basis permanent secretaries determine whether rules are applicable.

Guidance about the giving and receiving of gifts, and the role of permanent secretaries is set out in the Ministerial Code. Information relating to internal meetings, discussion and advice is not disclosed as to do so could harm the frankness and candour of internal discussion.