HC Deb 31 March 1999 vol 328 c693W
Mr. Collins

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, pursuant to the answer of 1 February 1999,Official Report, column 431, what discussions with French Ministers and officials (i) have taken place and (ii) are scheduled to take place concerning (a) the death of Mr. Clive Allison in May 1998 and the degree of co-operation with the British coroner in that case and (b) the degree of co-operation of French officials with British coroners. [79525]

Mr. Fatchett

On 30 November, Baroness Symons, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, met senior French officials of the Ministry of Interior to discuss the handling of deaths of British Nationals and to press for more vigorous investigations by the French authorities.

We have had no discussions with French Ministers specifically concerning the death of Clive Allison in France. Nor have Ministers discussed the degree of co-operation with British coroners in this case. No Ministerial discussions are scheduled to take place on either topic.

The Consular Division of the FCO forwarded HM Coroners's letter requesting a police report into Mr. Allison's death to the French authorities in June 1998. The French authorities issued a report which was passed to HM Coroner on 4 September. In a letter dated 5 October, HM Coroner requested more information regarding Mr. Allison's death. His request was translated and forwarded to the French authorities on 6 November. Our Consulate in Lyon continues to press for a response.

French officials have no direct contact with British Coroners. Requests from HM Coroner for reports into the death of a British national in France are directed to the French authorities through the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Co-operation is good; the French authorities have to comply with their own formalities. Requests for supplementary information may take longer for the French to process.

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