HC Deb 13 February 1996 vol 271 cc514-5W
Mr. Spearing

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list the professional bodies consulted by(a) Ministers, (b) officials in his Department and (c) officers of the Prison Service in respect of its rules and practices concerning use of chains and similar equipment for (i) pregnant women, (ii) those in or approaching labour and (iii) those giving birth that applied prior to his oral statement of 18 January; and if he will place a copy of those rules in the Library. [11543]

Miss Widdecombe

[holding answer 23 January 1996]: Responsibility for this matter has been delegated to the temporary Director General of the Prison Service, who has been asked to arrange for a reply to be given.

Letter from Richard Tilt to Mr. Nigel Spearing, dated 13 February 1996: The Home Secretary has asked me to reply to your recent Question about handcuffing of women. The instructions which applied before the Home Secretary's announcement on 18 January are contained in sections 53 and 60 of the Manual on Security, copies of which are already held in the Library of the House. They were last amended in April 1995. No formal external consultation took place prior to the drawing up of the April 1995 instructions. In the context of the changes made and announced on 18 January I had extensive consultation with the Royal College of Midwives. On the basis of their advice, and after consultation with Ministers, I made the changes which were announced by the Home Secretary on 18 January.