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Written Answers

Volume 491: debated on Wednesday 9 December 1987

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Written Answers

Conventional Stability Negotiations

asked Her Majesty's Government:What parts of the Atlantic are under consideration in the talks "in Vienna to agree the framework for negotiations on conventional stability covering the Atlantic to the Urals" referred to by Sir Geoffrey Howe in a Written Answer on 21st October 1987 [HC Deb. Col. 765].

The informal NATO/Warsaw Pact discussions currently taking place in Vienna have not yet agreed a definition of the geographic zone of application for the forthcoming negotiations on conventional stability. But the allied view is that the negotiations should cover the conventional forces of the participants based on land within the territory of the participating states in Europe from the Atlantic to the Urals.

Binary Weapons

asked Her Majesty's Government:Whether their proposal for a treaty banning chemical weapons would result in a ban on so-called binary weapons.

Yes. Negotiations taking place at the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva are aimed at agreeing a comprehensive verifiable and global ban on all chemical weapons. This would include binary weapons.

Used Car Mileage Records

asked Her Majesty's Government:Whether they will consider redesigning vehicle registration documents to prevent dealers "clocking" cars.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Transport
(Lord Brabazon of Tara)

"Clocking"—turning back mileometers for fraudulent purposes—is one of a number of problems affecting used cars which my honourable friends the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport and the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Corporate and Consumer Affairs will be discussing later this month with the Director General of Fair Trading. They will consider whether a central record of mileage readings would prevent "clocking". If such a system were introduced, we would consider appropriate changes to the vehicle registration document.

Council Of Ministers/European Commission: Division Mechanism

asked Her Majesty's Government:Whether, in elaboration of the reply given on 19th November at col. 285, they will confirm that:

  • (a)despite ratification of the Single European Act, it is correct that should the Council of Ministers wish a matter to be decided by qualified majority voting, this can be done only if the Council accepts the Commission's proposal, and also
  • (b)it is correct that the Council of Ministers can only consider proposals set down by the Commission, being unable to bring forward proposals itself.
  • The Single European Act introduced a new procedure for Article 84 of the Treaty under which the common air transport policy would be adopted. Prior to that the Council could act under that Article on its own proposals but only unanimously. The effect of the Single European Act is that the Council can only act under Article 84 on a proposal made to it by the Commission and after consulting the European Parliament, but it can do so by a qualified majority. Thus a proposal must now be made formally by the Commission even if it originates in the Council. The Council may accept or reject it by a qualified majority. The Council can no longer vote to adopt a proposal of its own but pursuant to Article 149 it can amend the Commission's proposal, acting unanimously.

    Prisoners: Special Visiting Arrangements

    asked Her Majesty's Government:Whether the special arrangements made for noble Lords to visit prisoners apply also to members of their staff or other persons who may wish to accompany them.

    The arrangements in question are personal to noble Lords and to honourable and right honouralbe Members of the other place, and will only be extended to members of their staff or anyone else if the responsible Minister is satisfied that exceptional circumstances make it right to do so.

    Speeding Offences: Fixed Penalty Arrangements

    asked Her Majesty's Government:How many police authorities in England and Wales inflict a fixed penalty fine for exceeding a 40 mph limit over a distance of only one and a half metres, and what is the statute or regulation which permits this.

    Under Part III of the Transport Act 1982, which came into effect on 1st October 1986, a police constable may issue a fixed penalty notice in England and Wales for a range of road traffic offences, including speeding. The offences of exceeding a speed limit in Sections 17(4) and 89 of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 do not require proof of speeding over any specified distance. The enforcement of road traffic law, and the methods used, are matters for individual chief officers of police.

    Prevention Of Terrorism (Temporary Provisions) Act: Report

    asked Her Majesty's Government:What is their response to the review by Viscount Colville of Culross on the Prevention of Terrorism (Temporary Provisions) Act 1984.

    Viscount Colville of Culross' report of his review of the prevention of Terrorism (Temporary Provisions) Act 1984 is published today. We are very grateful to Lord Colville of Culross for his wide ranging and detailed study. I informed the House on 23rd July (cols. 1559–60) that we had decided that it would not be wise to discontinue the powers in Sections 4. 5 and 6 of the Act. The Government have considered the recommendations made by Viscount Colville of Culross on the use of these powers, and have concluded that the decision announced on 23rd July should be confirmed. In considering their response to the report's other recommendations, the Government will wish to take full account of views which may be expressed in Parliament and elsewhere. Viscount Colville of Culross' scrutiny of the operation of the Act in 1987 will be published in advance of the debates on the renewal of the Act.