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The 2009 Hansard trawl, featuring a very expensive smoking shelter, the parsimony of the Welsh Office and Glenys Kinnock bigging up the UN.

How much does a glorified bus shelter cost?

Mr. Hoban: To ask the hon. Member for North Devon, representing the House of Commons Commission how much the smoking shelter constructed between Norman Shaw North and Portcullis House is expected to cost. 

Nick Harvey: The smoking shelter is forecast to cost £49,000.

Good grief.  A company here is knocking out its 'premier smoking shelter' at £3,160.75 ex VAT.  Having checked, it would appear that one cannot buy a one bedroomed house anyway in these islands for 49 large, but I imagine quite a sizeable mobile home or caravan could be had.  Furthermore, by the time the shelter has been finished, smoking will be illegal anyway.  Probably.  

Special pleading department:

Lindsay Roy: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what recent discussions he has had with the insurance industry on reducing the cost of travel insurance for  (a) older people and  (b) older people with health problems. 

Sarah McCarthy-Fry: Treasury Ministers and officials have discussions with a wide variety of organisations in the public and private sectors as part of the process of policy development and delivery. As was the case with previous Administrations, it is not the Government’s practice to provide details of all such representations.

Reckon he is hacked off at how much he paid this year?  He's 60.   *Amazingly* enough, Roy does not have an actuarial background.

Moving swiftly on...

Mr. Dai Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what events in (a) the United Kingdom and (b) overseas territories took place on 24 October 2009 to celebrate United Nations Day. 

And they pulled out all the stops, as will  be seen:

Mr. Ivan Lewis: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) is not informed of all events commemorating UN day across the UK or in the Overseas Territories. However, to mark UN Day 2009, my noble Friend Baroness Kinnock, FCO Minister for the UN, will host a reception for members of the UN Association-UK’s young professionals network at the FCO on 28 October 2009. The reception will give young professionals from across the vocational spectrum the opportunity to hear about the ways in which the UK supports the work of the UN. Baroness Kinnock has also paid tribute to the UN and its staff by posting a message on the FCO website.
I bet Ban Ki-Moon is chuffed to bits about that.  The message is here. I've skimmed it for you, so do not bother - it really isn't worth the effort.

On not being invited to the office Christmas party:

Mr. Prisk: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many Christmas functions arranged by his Department (a) he and (b) officials of his Department (i) hosted and (ii) attended in 2008; what the cost to the public purse was; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Hain: My predecessor the right hon. Member for Torfaen (Mr. Murphy) hosted one Christmas function at a cost of £1,054.05. Officials did not attend this reception.

I'm sure the peons at the Welsh Office really appreciated that. 

Something I will be keeping an eye open for:

Paul Farrelly: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice pursuant to the Prime Minister’s Answer of 14 October 2009, Official Report, column 204, what steps he plans to take to assess the implications of the injunction obtained in the High Court by Trafigura in the case listed as (1) RJW (2) SJW-and-(1) The Guardian (2) Persons unknown for (a) parliamentary privilege, (b) investigative reporting and (c) legislative safeguards for whistleblowers. 

Mr. Straw: I have asked senior officials at the Ministry of Justice to meet representatives of the national press and to consult the judiciary to assess the situation. I will then consider the situation in the light of these discussions and will make a statement in due course.

Oh aye.

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