Rt Hon Lord Lilley

    Mr. Peter Lilley (Hitchin and Harpenden): The Minister won the respect of the House when he was sacked for revealing the communications between his old Department and others. He seems to have been reappointed on the condition that he does not repeat the offence or gives the impression that no communication is taking place. Will he now tell the House which Department is co-ordinating this very important humanitarian operation? If it is DFID, why is not the excellent Under-Secretary of State for International

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    Development giving us much more informative answers, as I am sure that she could? If it is not DFID, does that reflect the uncertain status of the Secretary of State for that Department?

    Mr. O‘Brien: The right hon. Gentleman is a former Secretary of State, and I expect something more from him than cheap comments like that. We are dealing with issues of conflict, refugees and ensuring that lives are protected. The cheap comments that he comes out with make his questions barely worth answering, but let me try to do so in any event.

    He asked which Department is co-ordinating the operation. Obviously, DFID is co-ordinating it through other Departments and committees. Cabinet Committees are also dealing with the issue, and DFID is co-ordinating some of the operations between the UN and the various other NGOs that will deal with the post-conflict situation.

    The reason why I am answering questions is that I have just come back from Washington, where I discussed the terms of the UN resolutions and the detail of how the post-conflict humanitarian circumstances will be dealt with by the United States and by this country.