HC Deb 09 June 2004 vol 422 cc257-8
2. Mr. Elfyn Llwyd (Meirionnydd Nant Conwy) (PC)

When he last met the First Minister to discuss amendments to the Civil Contingencies Bill specifically called for by the National Assembly for Wales' Local Government and Public Services Committee; and if he will make a statement. [177355]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Wales (Mr. Don Touhig)

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State and I meet the First Minister and Welsh Assembly Government Ministers regularly to discuss a range of matters, which has included the Civil Contingencies Bill.

Mr. Llwyd

I acknowledge the Minister's response, but it does not address the question that I tabled. The question was about the information given by the Welsh Assembly to the Minister during the passage of the Civil Contingencies Bill. The Local Government and Public Services Committee requested two specific amendments and they have been dispatched by Westminster. The Minister often refers to a partnership in respect of legislating, but that does not sound like a partnership to me. Frankly, it is rather one-sided.

Mr. Touhig

I know of the hon. Gentleman's interest in this matter, and on Third Reading he raised a number of important points about the Bill. I can tell him that, personally, as a Minister, I have not received any representations about amendments from the National Assembly's Local Government and Public Services Committee. The Minister for the Cabinet Office, my hon. Friend the Member for Paisley, South (Mr. Alexander), has rec rived them and he will reply. I am prevented by time constraints from giving the hon. Gentleman a more detailed response, but if it would help him—I know of his particular interest—I will write to provide him with further information.

Lembit Öpik (Montgomeryshire) (LD)

The Minister will know that 300 Tetra masts are being installed for Welsh police communications. Is he aware that they are a cause of local concern in communities such as Llanidloes, where local people simply do not feel consulted? They are angry that council officials are threatening to use the Government's emergency powers legislation to force mast installations, regardless of local feeling. Are those officials allowed to do that; and, if so, what rights do local citizens have to stop unwelcome mast installations?

Mr. Touhig

I was not aware of the issue until the hon. Gentleman just raised it as a matter of concern in his constituency. I will look further into the matter—I understand that he has spoken about his concerns to my officials this morning—and I will write to him about it.