Thursday, March 20, 2008

Week in Westminster

Last Friday Phil Clarke came to see me about the research we have been conducting for several years on the statistical discrepancies in the various estimates of the number of refugees from Rwanda in the DRC at the end of 1996.. The Ministry of Defence had agreed to make available some large high resolution photographs taken from overflights of eastern Zaire (as it was then) by an RAF Canberra at the end of November 1996. More of this anon.

Monday I asked a supplementary on Lord Skelmersdales question on National Insurance numbers, which give a rough picture of the numbers entering the workforce. Only 3% of these people claim outof work benefits within six months, indication that the large majority of them are making a productive contribution to the economy.

Tuesday, to the West Ham football ground to speak at a conference of Traveller teachers in the morning, then back to Westminster for Roger Roberts' question on gay asylum seekers from Iran. Under pressure, the Government have agreed to give Mehdi Kazemi a new hearing. The Minister who was answering, Alan West, wasn't very well briefed, we thought.

Today I had a question on the situation in Tibet, and spoke later in Norman Fowler's debate on Iranian refugees and displaced people - four and a half million of them, who lost their homes because of the egregious folly of the invasion five years ago today.

Now we have Good Friday and Easter Monday off,with a dreadful weather forecast for the Easter weekend.

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