Page last updated at 17:01 GMT, Monday, 26 October 2009

Oral questions

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Home Office minister Lord West of Spithead has told peers that the police are taking cases of bullying and abuse more seriously after the death of a single mother and her disabled daughter in a burning car.

Last month, Leicestershire Police and two councils were criticised by the jury at the inquest into the deaths of Fiona Pilkington and her 18-year-old daughter, Francecca Hardwick.

Ms Pilkington, her daughter and her severely dyslexic son Anthony, suffered more than 10 years of abuse from a gang of teenagers living in their street in Barwell, Leicestershire.

The 38-year-old set light to her family's car in 2007, while she sat in the driver's seat alongside Francecca.

Speaking in response to a question from Liberal Democrat peer Baroness Miller of Chiltern Domer, Lord West said the government had yet to be informed of any other cases that could develop into a similar tragedy.

Lord West said: "We have contacted the 338 crime and disorder reduction partnerships to ask if there are any other cases at all in their area that are anything like this dreadful Pilkington case.

"We have had no response to date to say there are any but I have real concerns because these things are a blight," he said.

Baroness Miller had said that "33 calls to the police weren't linked up" in the case of Ms Pilkington.

Peers also asked the government questions on the system of appeals from Commonwealth countries to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, tuberculosis awareness, and the economy.

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