There have been 175 exchanges between Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon and Foreign and Commonwealth Office
|Thu 17th September 2020||Taiwan (Lords Chamber)||21 interactions (844 words)|
|Mon 7th September 2020||Treaty Scrutiny: Working Practices (EUC Report) (Grand Committee)||3 interactions (2,739 words)|
|Thu 3rd September 2020||Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (Lords Chamber)||19 interactions (742 words)|
|Wed 12th February 2020||Bahrain: Mohamed Ramadan and Hussain Moosa (Lords Chamber)||10 interactions (437 words)|
|Mon 10th February 2020||Taiwan (Lords Chamber)||14 interactions (560 words)|
|Thu 30th January 2020||Middle East Peace Plan (Lords Chamber)||19 interactions (981 words)|
|Thu 30th January 2020||Iran: Stability in the Middle East (Lords Chamber)||4 interactions (1,973 words)|
|Wed 29th January 2020||Sudan and South Sudan (Lords Chamber)||15 interactions (566 words)|
|Wed 29th January 2020||Rohingya Muslims (Lords Chamber)||12 interactions (608 words)|
|Thu 23rd January 2020||Sanctions (Lords Chamber)||12 interactions (556 words)|
|Wed 22nd January 2020||Violence Against Journalists (Lords Chamber)||10 interactions (725 words)|
|Mon 20th January 2020||Kashmir (Lords Chamber)||10 interactions (572 words)|
|Mon 20th January 2020||China: Uighurs (Lords Chamber)||10 interactions (612 words)|
|Wed 15th January 2020||Hong Kong (Lords Chamber)||12 interactions (682 words)|
|Tue 14th January 2020||Iran: Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (Lords Chamber)||16 interactions (3,268 words)|
|Thu 9th January 2020||Sexual Violence Overseas: Treatment of Victims (Lords Chamber)||12 interactions (653 words)|
|Tue 7th January 2020||British Citizens: Working Abroad (Lords Chamber)||10 interactions (479 words)|
|Tue 7th January 2020||Middle East: Security Update (Lords Chamber)||28 interactions (3,487 words)|
|Tue 5th November 2019||Intelligence and Security Committee Report (Lords Chamber)||19 interactions (1,309 words)|
|Thu 31st October 2019||Brexit: Engagement with EU on Foreign Affairs (Lords Chamber)||12 interactions (652 words)|
|Thu 24th October 2019||Syria and Iraq (Lords Chamber)||6 interactions (2,096 words)|
|Thu 24th October 2019||Hong Kong (Lords Chamber)||5 interactions (3,266 words)|
|Wed 23rd October 2019||Yazidis: Attempted Genocide (Lords Chamber)||10 interactions (611 words)|
|Wed 23rd October 2019||North-east Syria (Lords Chamber)||13 interactions (1,115 words)|
|Thu 17th October 2019||South Africa: Money Laundering and Corruption (Lords Chamber)||14 interactions (820 words)|
|Tue 15th October 2019||Northern Syria: Turkish Incursion (Lords Chamber)||17 interactions (1,356 words)|
|Tue 15th October 2019||Queen’s Speech (Lords Chamber)||7 interactions (3,198 words)|
|Tue 8th October 2019||Falkland Islands: Landmines (Lords Chamber)||16 interactions (669 words)|
|Tue 8th October 2019||Syria: Withdrawal of US Troops (Lords Chamber)||15 interactions (885 words)|
|Mon 7th October 2019||Hong Kong: Emergency Powers (Lords Chamber)||14 interactions (711 words)|
|Mon 7th October 2019||Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe (Lords Chamber)||15 interactions (1,269 words)|
|Mon 9th September 2019||Hurricane Dorian (Lords Chamber)||17 interactions (1,055 words)|
|Wed 4th September 2019||Saudi Arabia: Human Rights (Lords Chamber)||14 interactions (704 words)|
|Tue 3rd September 2019||Hong Kong (Lords Chamber)||16 interactions (866 words)|
|Thu 25th July 2019||China: Organ Harvesting (Lords Chamber)||12 interactions (463 words)|
|Thu 25th July 2019||United Kingdom’s Ambassador to the United States: Leaked Messages (Lords Chamber)||2 interactions (1,876 words)|
|Wed 24th July 2019||FCO Support for Persecuted Christians (Lords Chamber)||12 interactions (654 words)|
|Wed 24th July 2019||Bahrain (Lords Chamber)||10 interactions (723 words)|
|Wed 24th July 2019||Council of Europe: House of Lords Members’ Contribution (Lords Chamber)||2 interactions (1,828 words)|
|Tue 23rd July 2019||Commonwealth: Decriminalising Homosexuality (Lords Chamber)||16 interactions (566 words)|
|Tue 23rd July 2019||Hong Kong (Lords Chamber)||15 interactions (1,151 words)|
|Mon 22nd July 2019||The Situation in the Gulf (Lords Chamber)||19 interactions (3,687 words)|
|Mon 8th July 2019||Israel Defense Forces (Lords Chamber)||14 interactions (587 words)|
|Mon 8th July 2019||UK’s Ambassador to the USA (Lords Chamber)||15 interactions (974 words)|
|Thu 20th June 2019||Anti-Semitism (Lords Chamber)||9 interactions (2,851 words)|
|Thu 6th June 2019||Sudan (Lords Chamber)||10 interactions (599 words)|
|Tue 21st May 2019||UK Foreign Policy in a Shifting World Order (International Relations Committee Report) (Lords Chamber)||3 interactions (3,416 words)|
|Wed 15th May 2019||Wilton Park (Lords Chamber)||16 interactions (536 words)|
|Tue 14th May 2019||Attacks on Journalists (Grand Committee)||2 interactions (2,092 words)|
|Mon 13th May 2019||Saudi Arabia: Torture of Political Detainees (Lords Chamber)||12 interactions (685 words)|
|Mon 13th May 2019||Iran and Gulf Security (Lords Chamber)||16 interactions (911 words)|
|Thu 9th May 2019||Nigeria: Fulani (Lords Chamber)||10 interactions (638 words)|
|Thu 9th May 2019||Sri Lanka: UNHCR Refugees (Lords Chamber)||11 interactions (1,545 words)|
|Thu 9th May 2019||Syria (Sanctions) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019 (Lords Chamber)||7 interactions (3,039 words)|
|Wed 8th May 2019||Iran Nuclear Deal (Lords Chamber)||12 interactions (1,342 words)|
|Wed 1st May 2019||Lord Mayor’s Show: Taiwan (Lords Chamber)||18 interactions (765 words)|
|Wed 1st May 2019||Burma (Sanctions) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019 (Lords Chamber)||5 interactions (2,230 words)|
|Wed 1st May 2019||Republic of Guinea-Bissau (Sanctions) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019 (Lords Chamber)||2 interactions (27 words)|
|Tue 30th April 2019||Sudan (Lords Chamber)||14 interactions (684 words)|
|Wed 10th April 2019||Hong Kong: Pro-democracy Activists (Lords Chamber)||17 interactions (1,320 words)|
|Thu 4th April 2019||China: Religious Freedom (Lords Chamber)||14 interactions (577 words)|
|Tue 2nd April 2019||Venezuela: Russian Troops (Lords Chamber)||14 interactions (787 words)|
|Tue 2nd April 2019||Sexual Violence (Grand Committee)||2 interactions (2,170 words)|
|Mon 1st April 2019||Yemen: Giving Peace a Chance (International Relations Committee Report) (Lords Chamber)||3 interactions (2,834 words)|
|Thu 21st March 2019||War Criminals: International Mechanisms for Prosecution (Lords Chamber)||12 interactions (678 words)|
|Wed 20th March 2019||Brexit: Bilateral Relations with European Union Member States (Lords Chamber)||12 interactions (694 words)|
|Thu 7th March 2019||Yemen: Women and Girls (Lords Chamber)||12 interactions (755 words)|
|Thu 28th February 2019||Nord Stream 2 Pipeline (Lords Chamber)||14 interactions (646 words)|
|Thu 28th February 2019||Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019 (Lords Chamber)||5 interactions (350 words)|
|Wed 13th February 2019||Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019 (Grand Committee)||6 interactions (1,736 words)|
|Mon 11th February 2019||China: Uighur Muslims (Lords Chamber)||14 interactions (833 words)|
|Thu 7th February 2019||Venezuela (Lords Chamber)||14 interactions (649 words)|
|Tue 5th February 2019||Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty (Lords Chamber)||9 interactions (1,593 words)|
|Tue 5th February 2019||Sri Lanka (Lords Chamber)||2 interactions (1,553 words)|
|Thu 31st January 2019||Zimbabwe (Lords Chamber)||4 interactions (1,788 words)|
|Wed 23rd January 2019||Open Doors 2019 World Watch List (Lords Chamber)||10 interactions (678 words)|
|Mon 21st January 2019||Zimbabwe (Lords Chamber)||18 interactions (907 words)|
|Tue 15th January 2019||Sudan (Lords Chamber)||10 interactions (501 words)|
|Thu 10th January 2019||China: Human Rights (Lords Chamber)||10 interactions (546 words)|
|Thu 10th January 2019||Western Balkans (Grand Committee)||3 interactions (3,374 words)|
|Wed 9th January 2019||Brexit: UK Nationals (Lords Chamber)||16 interactions (781 words)|
|Wed 9th January 2019||Forced Marriages: Repatriation Charges (Lords Chamber)||10 interactions (556 words)|
|Wed 19th December 2018||China: Uighur Muslims (Lords Chamber)||14 interactions (680 words)|
|Wed 19th December 2018||Yemen (Lords Chamber)||24 interactions (3,268 words)|
|Tue 18th December 2018||Nigeria: Intercommunal Violence (Lords Chamber)||12 interactions (736 words)|
|Mon 17th December 2018||Rohingya Refugees (Lords Chamber)||12 interactions (692 words)|
|Mon 17th December 2018||Ukraine (Grand Committee)||8 interactions (1,936 words)|
|Mon 10th December 2018||Freedom of Religion or Belief (Lords Chamber)||14 interactions (659 words)|
|Mon 10th December 2018||Sudan and South Sudan (Lords Chamber)||14 interactions (622 words)|
|Thu 15th November 2018||Yemen (Lords Chamber)||2 interactions (1,872 words)|
|Wed 24th October 2018||Freedom of Religion or Belief (Lords Chamber)||14 interactions (665 words)|
|Wed 24th October 2018||Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (Lords Chamber)||14 interactions (774 words)|
|Tue 23rd October 2018||Jamal Khashoggi (Lords Chamber)||22 interactions (3,166 words)|
|Mon 23rd July 2018||Jammu and Kashmir: Human Rights Abuses (Lords Chamber)||18 interactions (706 words)|
|Mon 23rd July 2018||British Overseas Territories: Same-Sex Marriage (Lords Chamber)||10 interactions (650 words)|
|Thu 19th July 2018||Freedom of Religion or Belief (Lords Chamber)||12 interactions (871 words)|
|Thu 28th June 2018||Sudan (Grand Committee)||2 interactions (1,719 words)|
|Thu 28th June 2018||Violent Extremism (Grand Committee)||2 interactions (1,826 words)|
|Wed 27th June 2018||Turkey: Prisoners (Lords Chamber)||8 interactions (394 words)|
|Thu 21st June 2018||Turkey: Pride March (Lords Chamber)||12 interactions (637 words)|
|Tue 12th June 2018||BBC Persian Staff (Lords Chamber)||14 interactions (679 words)|
|Tue 12th June 2018||Burma (Lords Chamber)||12 interactions (652 words)|
|Mon 11th June 2018||Yemen (Lords Chamber)||9 interactions (1,386 words)|
|Thu 7th June 2018||Palestinian Territories (Lords Chamber)||5 interactions (2,788 words)|
|Thu 24th May 2018||UK and the Western Balkans (IRC Report) (Lords Chamber)||5 interactions (2,828 words)|
|Mon 21st May 2018||Iran and Saudi Arabia: Co-operation on Syria and Yemen (Lords Chamber)||14 interactions (804 words)|
|Mon 21st May 2018||Commonwealth: Discriminatory Legislation (Lords Chamber)||14 interactions (580 words)|
|Mon 21st May 2018||Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Bill [HL] (Lords Chamber)||47 interactions (7,793 words)|
|Mon 21st May 2018||United Nations Human Rights Council: Resolution on Gaza (Lords Chamber)||13 interactions (1,104 words)|
|Tue 15th May 2018||Syria (Lords Chamber)||14 interactions (756 words)|
|Tue 15th May 2018||Gaza (Lords Chamber)||19 interactions (1,050 words)|
|Thu 10th May 2018||Myanmar (Grand Committee)||2 interactions (1,880 words)|
|Wed 9th May 2018||Syria: Idlib (Lords Chamber)||12 interactions (634 words)|
|Wed 9th May 2018||Iran Nuclear Deal (Lords Chamber)||26 interactions (3,255 words)|
|Wed 9th May 2018||European Organization for Astronomical Research in the Southern Hemisphere (Immunities and Privileges) (Amendment) Order 2018 (Grand Committee)||5 interactions (1,859 words)|
|Thu 3rd May 2018||Brexit: Sanctions Policy (European Union Committee Report) (Lords Chamber)||5 interactions (3,572 words)|
|Wed 25th April 2018||Commonwealth Summit: Freedom of Religion or Belief (Lords Chamber)||12 interactions (597 words)|
|Tue 27th March 2018||Israel-Palestine Conflict (Lords Chamber)||16 interactions (688 words)|
|Mon 26th March 2018||Nigeria (Lords Chamber)||12 interactions (635 words)|
|Thu 22nd March 2018||Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting 2018 (Lords Chamber)||3 interactions (1,628 words)|
|Thu 22nd March 2018||Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting 2018 (Lords Chamber)||2 interactions (3,755 words)|
|Wed 21st March 2018||Commonwealth Summit: Human Rights (Lords Chamber)||18 interactions (628 words)|
|Tue 20th March 2018||Syria (Lords Chamber)||14 interactions (598 words)|
|Mon 19th March 2018||Foreign Policy: Parliamentary Participation (Lords Chamber)||12 interactions (723 words)|
|Wed 7th March 2018||Saudi Arabia (Lords Chamber)||9 interactions (1,125 words)|
|Wed 28th February 2018||ISIS: Trial of British Citizens (Lords Chamber)||12 interactions (527 words)|
|Wed 28th February 2018||International Development Committee: Burma Visas (Lords Chamber)||13 interactions (1,398 words)|
|Mon 26th February 2018||Syria: Humanitarian Situation (Lords Chamber)||13 interactions (1,439 words)|
|Thu 22nd February 2018||Syria: Eastern Ghouta (Lords Chamber)||16 interactions (1,003 words)|
|Tue 20th February 2018||Commonwealth Summit (Lords Chamber)||14 interactions (690 words)|
|Thu 8th February 2018||Gulf States: Human Rights (Lords Chamber)||14 interactions (705 words)|
|Thu 8th February 2018||Bermuda: Same-sex Marriage (Lords Chamber)||6 interactions (893 words)|
|Mon 29th January 2018||Turkey: Human Rights (Lords Chamber)||18 interactions (763 words)|
|Thu 25th January 2018||Brexit: Foreign Policy (Lords Chamber)||14 interactions (735 words)|
|Wed 24th January 2018||Hong Kong (Lords Chamber)||14 interactions (678 words)|
|Wed 24th January 2018||Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Bill [HL] (Lords Chamber)||17 interactions (2,541 words)|
|Thu 18th January 2018||Freedom of Religion and Belief (Lords Chamber)||14 interactions (735 words)|
|Thu 18th January 2018||United States: Foreign Policy (Lords Chamber)||3 interactions (3,162 words)|
|Wed 17th January 2018||Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Bill [HL] (Lords Chamber)||31 interactions (6,626 words)|
|Mon 15th January 2018||Commonwealth Summit: Faith Leaders (Lords Chamber)||20 interactions (620 words)|
|Mon 15th January 2018||Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Bill [HL] (Lords Chamber)||9 interactions (2,845 words)|
|Mon 15th January 2018||Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Bill [HL] (Lords Chamber)||26 interactions (4,509 words)|
|Wed 10th January 2018||Georgia (Lords Chamber)||14 interactions (607 words)|
|Wed 20th December 2017||Syria (Lords Chamber)||14 interactions (672 words)|
|Wed 13th December 2017||Commonwealth Summit 2018 (Lords Chamber)||16 interactions (698 words)|
|Tue 12th December 2017||Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Bill [HL] (Lords Chamber)||25 interactions (3,637 words)|
|Mon 11th December 2017||Foreign and Commonwealth Office: Ministerial Guidance (Lords Chamber)||12 interactions (608 words)|
|Mon 11th December 2017||Visit to Oman, UAE and Iran (Lords Chamber)||20 interactions (3,328 words)|
|Mon 11th December 2017||Sudan and South Sudan (Lords Chamber)||6 interactions (1,777 words)|
|Wed 6th December 2017||Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Bill [HL] (Lords Chamber)||8 interactions (1,183 words)|
|Wed 29th November 2017||Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Bill [HL] (Lords Chamber)||61 interactions (5,939 words)|
|Tue 21st November 2017||Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Bill [HL] (Lords Chamber)||80 interactions (11,358 words)|
|Mon 20th November 2017||Yemen: Humanitarian and Political Situation (Lords Chamber)||22 interactions (2,949 words)|
|Thu 16th November 2017||Permanent Structured Cooperation (Lords Chamber)||12 interactions (574 words)|
|Wed 15th November 2017||West Papua (Lords Chamber)||12 interactions (634 words)|
|Wed 15th November 2017||Saudi Arabia and Iran (Lords Chamber)||13 interactions (575 words)|
|Wed 15th November 2017||Zimbabwe (Lords Chamber)||15 interactions (1,569 words)|
|Tue 14th November 2017||Daesh: Raqqa (Lords Chamber)||16 interactions (1,004 words)|
|Thu 2nd November 2017||Commonwealth Summit 2018 (Lords Chamber)||2 interactions (2,133 words)|
|Wed 1st November 2017||Terrorism: Sexual Violence (Lords Chamber)||12 interactions (569 words)|
|Wed 1st November 2017||Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Bill [HL] (Lords Chamber)||8 interactions (6,232 words)|
|Fri 27th October 2017||Asset Freezing (Compensation) Bill [HL] (Lords Chamber)||3 interactions (1,709 words)|
|Thu 26th October 2017||UN Security Council: Information Sharing (Lords Chamber)||12 interactions (655 words)|
|Tue 24th October 2017||Raqqa and Daesh (Lords Chamber)||15 interactions (1,088 words)|
|Thu 19th October 2017||Syria (Lords Chamber)||14 interactions (704 words)|
|Tue 17th October 2017||British American Tobacco (Lords Chamber)||17 interactions (658 words)|
|Tue 17th October 2017||Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe (Lords Chamber)||10 interactions (619 words)|
|Mon 16th October 2017||Iran: Future of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (Lords Chamber)||13 interactions (670 words)|
|Mon 16th October 2017||Northern Cyprus (Lords Chamber)||2 interactions (1,486 words)|
|Thu 12th October 2017||Sri Lanka (Lords Chamber)||2 interactions (1,991 words)|
|Wed 11th October 2017||Burma: Rohingya People (Lords Chamber)||12 interactions (592 words)|
|Tue 10th October 2017||Hurricane Irma: Disaster Relief (Lords Chamber)||12 interactions (692 words)|
|Tue 12th September 2017||Hurricane Irma (Lords Chamber)||20 interactions (3,945 words)|
|Tue 4th July 2017||Middle East (IRC Report) (Lords Chamber)||7 interactions (3,372 words)|
|Thu 22nd June 2017||Queen’s Speech (Lords Chamber)||4 interactions (5,568 words)|
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of reports of the presence of the Chinese Air Force in Taiwan’s airspace; and what steps they are taking to support the independence of that country.
I thank the Minister for his response. China clearly rejects international rules and values, as evidenced by events in Hong Kong, on the Sino-Indian border and in the South China Sea, and, most recently, by its repeated aggressive incursions into Taiwan’s airspace. Does not the UK’s reluctance to provide Taiwan with overt political, diplomatic and trade support indicate tolerance for China’s expansionist policies, with particular reference to Taiwan?
Will my noble friend the Minister condemn this further blatant act of aggression by the communist regime in China of threatening its neighbours and stealing islands in the South China Sea? Will he work with all other free, democratic nations to strengthen the military commitment to Taiwan and make it clear that Taiwan is an independent country and not part of the People’s Republic of China?
My Lords, increasingly China is exercising its economic, military and political influence, as has been mentioned, in the South China Sea, India, Australia and of course Hong Kong, and in some nations in Africa and Latin America. Is it not time that there was a joint meeting of the United States, the European Union and the United Kingdom to agree a joint policy towards China before there is a horrible incident?
My Lords, the continued campaign to isolate Taiwan by the People’s Republic is limited not just to economic and military issues. There is, obviously, the response by the WHO. Of course, at the time of this pandemic, it is really important that Taiwan is able to input its response into the WHO. We need to ensure that this campaign of isolation does not continue. While I am on the subject of the WHO, what further has the Minister done to raise with it the clear evidence of forced organ harvesting in China? Will the UK argue for an end to self-assessment and a move towards independent verification?
My Lords, the US Mission to the UN has tweeted that the UN
“was founded to serve … all voices”
in the world, and that
“Barring … Taiwan … is an affront not just to the … Taiwanese people, but to UN principles.”
Does the Minister agree?
My Lords, this country has recognised the Government in Beijing as the legitimate authority in China since January 1950, with a very distinctive status, as the Minister has acknowledged, for Taiwan, which should be discussed peacefully between the authorities in Taipei and those on the mainland. I am glad to hear about the Minister’s lobbying in connection with the World Health Organization. Would he care to comment on this pattern of marked aggression by the current Chinese Government, which has sought to limit options for people at home and abroad and is so damaging?
My Lords, does the Minister accept that any representations that the UK makes in relation to the violation of Taiwan’s airspace by the PRC exemplify the unnecessary weakening of the UK’s authority and soft power brought about by the Government’s cavalier attitude to the admitted breach of international law by their introduction of the internal market Bill, which seeks to alter the provisions of the withdrawal agreement entered into with the European Union and signed by the Prime Minister?
My Lords, I recently had the pleasure of visiting Taiwan with the noble Baroness, Lady D’Souza, and the noble Lord, Lord Best. I found there a proud, flourishing, democratic country, constantly bullied and threatened by China. Inexplicably, the UK does not recognise Taiwan. What steps have the Government actually taken to remonstrate with China over the recent unprovoked belligerence, and all the other petty measures that it regularly takes to try to intimidate its neighbour?
My Lords, I am sure that the whole House is united in its condemnation of China’s incursions into Taiwanese airspace, which are clearly acts of provocation. Have Her Majesty’s Government made their opposition to these actions clear to the Chinese ambassador in London? What consideration has been given to supporting Taiwan in strengthening its military defences as a means of demonstrating our revulsion at Beijing’s arrogant aggression?
My Lords, the time allocated for this Question has elapsed.
My Lords, treaties signed by the Government of the day have enormous ramifications for our country and our partners in their agreements. As the noble Lord, Lord Moynihan, said, they now increasingly have wide policy implications that they have not had in the past, which is why it is so important that Parliament, civil society and the wider public play a role in their development and scrutiny.
I, too, thank the three chairs for their excellent introductions to their respective reports, each of which shines a light on the inadequacies of the current arrangements. As we have heard, the Constitutional Reform and Governance Act 2010 is not necessarily fit for purpose. As my noble friend Lady Taylor, chair of the Constitution Committee, said, there has been little time and virtually no opportunity provided for Parliament to have a say prior to the agreement.
Of course, as we have heard in the debate, it is long established that the agreement of treaties is a matter for the Executive, but as we leave the European Union and take on significant new powers in treaty-making, it is right that we consider what scrutiny should be applied to this prerogative, as many noble Lords have said. As the noble Earl, Lord Kinnoull, said, these three reports can act a cornerstone for those considerations. Each of them makes it clear that the provisions of CRaG do not suffice.
A tick-box exercise whereby the Government can claim that they have engaged with Parliament by laying the treaty under the negative resolution procedure is not a process of scrutiny. Again, as my noble friend Lady Taylor highlighted, the Constitution Committee did not express the view that Parliament should be required to endorse the Government’s mandate prior to commencing treaty negotiations, but it came down firmly in favour of a general principle of transparency from the Government throughout the treaty process. That is what this debate is clearly about, and I hope that the Minister will respond to that specific call.
The Government have also been asked by all the committees about the need to engage more effectively with the devolved institutions throughout the process. We have of course heard about the Constitution Committee’s recommendation and we now have a scrutiny committee, in the form of the EU International Agreements Sub-committee. The point made by my noble and learned friend Lord Golding—no, Lord Goldsmith; it is because I am seeing a note that he is a Whip, but he has hidden it now—is that it is simply not enough to have the committee. We need to ensure that it has sufficient time and is able to consider those necessary reports from the Government. The Government’s response in July 2019 to the Constitution Committee said that the CRaG Act remained
“a viable legal framework for scrutiny.”
However, they committed to engage
“with whatever parliamentary scrutiny structures the Houses implement”,
so it is incumbent on the Minister today to say exactly what that means in respect to the committee that we have established. Exactly what will they do to ensure that there is proper engagement with the committee?
As we have heard, on the general issue of transparency, the Government said in that response that they did not agree that they
“should operate on a presumption of transparency for all treaty negotiations.”
They said that, when deciding what information to make public, they had to balance
“openness against … factors including the risk of undermining the UK’s negotiating position”.
My noble friend Lady Taylor addressed that specific point. Again, it is incumbent on the Minister to set out to us what he sees that balance as being. Exactly how will the Government measure it?
As the noble Lord, Lord Lansley, said in his contribution, our recent trade agreements have included the one announced with Japan, which is of great interest to Members of both this House and the Commons. However, at present, no debate on its provisions is scheduled. We have not had the opportunity to comment properly on it and, unfortunately, present arrangements mean that such trade treaties will be scrutinised only when the Government see fit. I am sure there are many who believe that the Government will never see fit.
The noble Earl, Lord Sandwich, mentioned the need for standards in trade agreements. When considering the predecessor Trade Bill in 2019, noble Lords in this House made some 30 amendments covering employment, food and environmental standards, customs arrangements, Northern Ireland—we know that we will talk about Northern Ireland again tomorrow—and the future of EU collaboration. As the then Minister who was taking the Trade Bill through at that time put it,
“no legislation passes the scrutiny of this House without being improved.”—[Official Report, 6/3/19; col. 615.]
She said that “this is unquestionably true” in relation to these issues.
This side of the House strongly believes that the Government need to establish appropriate parliamentary scrutiny of trade deals, whether as significant changes to the existing EU ones or new, free-standing FTAs. The International Trade Select Committee and the Lords’ new International Agreements Sub-committee should have early access to negotiating mandates, receive ongoing negotiation reports and have the powers to make recommendations for the final approval of trade treaties and agreements. We must ensure that consumers, trade unions and wider civil society, and the nations and regions of this country, are fully engaged in trade policy.
As the noble Baroness, Lady Northover, said, these international arrangements are not limited to trade agreements. She mentioned extradition treaties as an example. This was recently the subject of debates on the extradition Bill. The Minister will recall that I previously tabled a Motion which led to the debate on the extradition treaty with Kuwait. I was pleased that the Government found time for that debate and allayed my concerns over the extradition of those who may face the death penalty. However, there is no single mechanism—no guarantee that Parliament will have that opportunity to scrutinise. As my noble and learned friend Lord Goldsmith said, we need proper structures for appropriate, democratic oversight. I repeat that it is incumbent on the Minister to set that out in very clear terms this evening, in response to these three excellent committee reports.
My Lords, I want to start by thanking the Minister for what were not just warm words—there was some substance in them as well. We will study them very carefully. I know that he would have wanted to respond in more detail in writing to the report before today, if he had been able to do so, and I recognise that.
With the Minister, this has been an enormously valuable debate, and I think so for two particular reasons. First, it is because of things that noble Lords have said, to which we will go back many times, I imagine, to see just what they are. It is not just about the new touchstone for parliamentary ignorance from the noble Lord, Lord Beith of whether you can distinguish you Ponsonby rule from your CRaG Act. It is also about the very important political statements about the importance of the job of scrutiny of international treaties. The second reason is that, with one notable exception, the Committee has almost unanimously been of the view that scrutiny by Parliament of international agreements is something that has to take place and has to take place in an effective way. The ideas and thoughts that have come from noble Lords are important. I suppose that it has not been before its time. Even in terms of the British Parliament, taking 150 years to come to the recognition that actually treaties are just as important as domestic laws is not that bad.
There are two points that I hope the Minister will take from the debate. One was the comment made by the noble Earl, Lord Kinnoull, about the importance of having evidence-based scrutiny. That is one of the reasons why the time to consider treaties is important. We want to hear from stakeholders and the public what they think, and 21 sitting days is not enough to do that. It is important to have that evidence, and we believe that it will help the Government, because they will need to know what the issues are so that they can, I hope, take them into account when they negotiate the treaties.
The second point, which was made by my noble friend Lady Taylor of Bolton, was about the Government’s attitude. She suggested that that was the most important thing, and we look for not just warm words but an attitude of government that is determined to see scrutiny operate effectively. Of course, ultimately, the Government make the decisions, but we believe that they will be guided and helped by scrutiny from this place.
I would like to feel that this debate, which has gone extremely well, has taken account of what we said, particularly at paragraph 32 of our report, which is that it may be—and we hope it is—that in a pragmatic way we will be able to conduct the necessary scrutiny without amendment to the law. If not, we will look at that and give fair warning of that. This debate has perhaps fired the starting pistol on that warning, and we will come back to it.
From its formation in 1997, the Department for International Development supported the world’s poorest and most vulnerable, and built Britain’s reputation as a world leader in aid and development. It is clear already that these principles are an afterthought for the new FCDO, with recent reports that the Government will abolish the 0.7% target in an attempt to blur the lines over what constitutes aid. Can the Minister commit today that there will be no revocation of the provisions of the International Development Act 2002, which guarantees that all aid spending must combat poverty?
I urge the Government to make an early statement of coherent development policy objectives for the new department. I am glad that the Minister has reaffirmed the 0.7% but the Government have given conflicting messages on this issue, implying that the already slashed budget may be diverted elsewhere. The Secretary of State gave an evasive answer to my colleague Layla Moran yesterday, so I am glad that the Minister here has given a straight answer today. The workload of monitoring development and working with ICAI is surely beyond the effective capacity of one committee, so will the Government recognise that we need a dedicated committee to deal with this, which happened when the ODA was within the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in the time of the noble Baroness, Lady Chalker?
My Lords, there is a lot in the Statement about global Britain. Does the Minister agree that in the eyes of both the developed and the developing worlds, the success of global Britain will depend on the maintenance of a high-quality global aid programme? Will he once again scotch rumours of a raid on the 0.7% target by other departments?
I call the noble Baroness, Lady Hooper. She is not there, so I call the noble Lord, Lord Boateng.
My Lords, poverty and hunger are fuelled by instability and conflict. Will the Minister give the House the assurance that the new department will work closely with the Ministry of Defence in addressing those issues, that there will be adequate funding—indeed, an increase in funding—for that, and that it will be subject to scrutiny by this House and the other place to ensure aid effectiveness?
On 16 June, the Prime Minister said that the guiding principle of the new department would be promoting the UK’s national interest overseas. Does the Minister agree that, at least in theory, there could be the possibility of a clash between promoting that national interest—for example, by supporting a prestigious project which has been much wanted by the beneficiary Government—and supporting the most vulnerable communities in that country? If there is the possibility of this clash, what monitoring process will be in place to really ensure that those most vulnerable communities are not pushed aside?
Do the Government recognise that one reason that this country has done well internationally is precisely that DfID has been outside the FCO? Four out of five of the fastest-growing economies last year were in Africa, and many of those countries really appreciated that we had moved from the department that they associated with colonialism to one that was focused on their needs and on working in partnership with them. What criteria for success will the Government have for development in the new department?
My Lords, the Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict Initiative was given an amber/red score in the latest review by the Independent Commission for Aid Impact, which raised concerns about the lack of funding, strategic planning and long-term programming. Will the Government ensure that the Preventing Sexual Violence Initiative is put at the heart of the work of the new department and that the initiative receives all necessary support so that the United Kingdom meets the commitments that we made at the 2014 global summit?
My Lords, I echo the words of the noble Baronesses, Lady Armstrong and Lady Helic; I agree with them entirely. The Minister will be aware that Bangladesh is struggling in dealing with the Rohingya refugees. I hope that commitment from the new department will continue. Is he also aware of the work of University College Hospital? Its CPAP campaign is working with Bangladesh, preparing to provide, immediately, very cost-effective ventilators, which Bangladesh very much needs. Would the Minister consider meeting with me and the team at UCL to discuss this and find a way to support this programme?
My Lords, I declare my interests as stated in the register.
The Statement concludes that the new FCDO will project the UK as an ever-stronger force for good in the world. “Good” would mean supporting our US allies in extending the arms embargo on the terror-sponsoring Iranian regime. “Good” would mean not only wholeheartedly and unconditionally welcoming the UAE-Israel agreement but also helping to build on it. “Good” would also mean consistently voting in the right camp at the United Nations, and ensuring that our generous aid to the Palestinians is rechannelled directly to the Palestinian people, because we know that so much of it is being misused and misappropriated. Can I therefore ask the Minister whether the new department will acknowledge where mistakes have been made and correct them? Then, we can indeed project the UK as an even stronger force for good in the world.
To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they intend to continue to provide funds for Bahrain through the Integrated Activity Fund following the decision of the Fourth Supreme Court of Appeals in Bahrain to uphold the death sentence in respect of Mohamed Ramadan and Hussain Moosa.
I have been given the official dossier from the Bahraini Special Investigations Unit, which reveals that its investigation into the torture allegations of the death row inmates Mohamed Ramadan and Hussain Moosa was inconsistent, contradictory and contravenes international standards. The dossier shows that the SIU, which the noble Lord maintains is transparent, is quite the opposite and implicated now in human rights abuses. In the light of this, will the Minister agree to a meeting with me and representatives from the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy to discuss this dossier, the IAF funding and why these two men transpire to have been deemed guilty by the Bahraini authorities even before they went to the dock?
My Lords, the noble Lord makes the point about positive engagement and seeking change, and I know that the UK is funding the alternative non-custodial sentencing programme. However, we now have a report from eight UN experts on this programme, saying that it discriminates against human rights defenders. What does the noble Lord say about that when he is the Minister responsible for human rights and his own programmes are discriminating against them?
Does the Minister agree that the British judicial system is one of the best in the globe, if not the best, and that many countries have benefited through training from our judicial systems? Can he offer additional training to some of the countries that we know well have uncertain outcomes of their judgments? I know how much judges of the countries I serve in welcome visits, support and training from our judicial system.
My Lords, in the past hour the UN has called on Bahrain to prevent the execution of these two men, saying:
“Admission of evidence obtained under torture into any proceeding violates the rights to due process and fair trial and is prohibited without exception. If carried out in these circumstances, the death penalty would constitute an arbitrary killing.”
Does the Minister agree?
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their policy towards Taiwan, and in particular on (1) security, and (2) international engagement issues.
I thank the Minister for that reply. Is he aware of fresh Chinese attempts at economic coercion against Taiwan since the re-election of President Tsai Ing-wen last month, including attempts at the United Nations to stop parliamentarians engaging with her Government? Does he agree that when China presents its “one country, two systems” policy to Taiwan alongside military threats, along with the tangible example of Hong Kong, that is more likely to convince the Taiwanese to be rather sceptical of Chinese assurances as to their future?
My Lords, I declare my interest as the Government’s trade envoy to Taiwan; the Minister will know that this constrains me a little in what I can say in the Chamber. Will the Minister take back to his right honourable friend the Foreign Secretary the very great satisfaction among the friends of Taiwan at the statement made by Mr Raab after the legislative and presidential election? He offered warm congratulations to the people of Taiwan on the smooth conduct of those elections, and to Dr Tsai Ing-wen and her party on her re-election.
Does the Minister believe that the President of the United States would feel bound by the 1979 Taiwan Relations Act? It states that America will
“consider any effort to determine the future of Taiwan by other than peaceful means, including by boycotts or embargoes, a threat to the peace and security of the Western Pacific area and of grave concern to the United States”,
“make available to Taiwan such defense articles and defense services in such quantity as may be necessary to enable Taiwan to maintain a sufficient self-defense capability.”
My Lords, I agree with the Minister: the ultimate relationship has to be determined by those two entities. However, he mentioned multilateral organisations, in particular the World Health Organization. We are currently facing a global crisis, and it is important that countries and entities such as Taiwan play their full part in it. What representations has he made to the WHO to ensure that Taiwan can play a full part in the work to ensure that the public interest and the people of the world are put first, before politics?
My Lords, Taiwan is a democracy, and yet it is being denied recognition by many Governments across the world. We now have a situation, as has been pointed out, where the World Health Organization, which prides itself on promoting inclusive health for all humanity, has excluded Taiwan from its membership and does not allow it to participate in the World Health Assembly. What are we doing with the World Health Organization to ensure that Taiwan has at least a slot in the World Health Assembly at this stage?
My Lords, is the Minister aware of Taiwan’s importance when it comes to semiconductor technology? Taiwan leads the world in making semiconductor chips. In fact, it is said that the latest artificial intelligence and machine learning chips can be made only in Taiwan; they cannot be made even in the United States.
My Lords, the only way to achieve peace in the Middle East is a two-state solution negotiated with the consent of both sides. I note that the Government have welcomed this proposal, but surely it is striking that it has been published after consultation with only one of those states. If we are to find a diplomatic resolution, the Palestinian Authority must be involved in the process. Does the Minister agree that the involvement and consent of Palestine is vital for any agreement?
My Lords, this plan goes contrary to international law. It is an annexation plan and would give the Palestinians no control over their borders, water or security, no port and no airport—to mention just a few points. Yet the Government’s press release—I notice the Minister has added a few words to the end of it—welcomed this as “a serious proposal” that should be given “genuine and fair consideration”. How can the Government claim that in leaving the EU we will be better placed to fight for the rules-based international order and human rights? If annexation goes ahead, what will the Government do to protect international law?
Can the Minister confirm absolutely clearly that this proposal involves further annexation of Palestinian land? Is there any other part of the world where the Government sanction annexation of neighbouring territories or even countenance it? Further, although he repeats the commitment to a two-state solution, as all Ministers of all parties have, can he confirm that this latest proposal manifestly makes any possibility of a two-state solution almost impossible?
My Lords, I share some of the reservations that have been expressed about the position that the Government have taken, but could I ask for clarification on two points? First, some press reports have said that the proposals actually double the land available to the Palestinians. Where is this extra land coming from? Is it just the bits in the desert bordering Egypt? Secondly, do the Government actually approve of the annexation of the Jordan Valley, thus cutting Palestine off from Jordan?
My Lords, the Minister said that he hopes this will be the basis for taking forward discussions. Has there been any indication whatever from the Palestinians that they are willing to take forward discussions on this basis?
My Lords, is it not difficult for the Government to maintain what is essentially a position of neutrality on this matter given our responsibilities under, for example, the Balfour Declaration? The truth is that this is neither a peace plan nor a two-state solution. It is a fait accompli in favour of Mr Netanyahu, as demonstrated by his public response to it in the White House. It is an annexation not just of land on which illegal settlements have been based, nor of the Jordan Valley, but of the Golan Heights, all of which is contrary to international law. Why do the Government not give a robust response in favour of the principles of international law—the kind of response we gave when Mr Putin annexed the Crimea?
My Lords, it is a strange phenomenon that so many noble Lords are quick to reject the proposals. What do they know better than the Egyptians, the Saudis, the Bahrainis and the UAE, who have all welcomed the proposals? That is a promising sign, but most notable is the statement from Qatar. So often in the rejectionist camp, Qatar is now calling on the Palestinians and Israelis to sit down together. What efforts is my noble friend making with the Palestinian leadership to encourage them to sit down and talk rather than reject the initiative as, sadly, they have done too often in history?
My Lords, it would be no exaggeration to say that this proposal is controversial, but it is certainly not the endpoint. It is not even the beginning of the end, nor the end of the beginning. It being on the table might be the beginning of the beginning of a process. Surely both sides can discuss it, at the very least. Does the Minister agree that objecting from the outset, as the Palestinians have done, is not terribly helpful?
My Lords, surely Her Majesty’s Government should be not neutral on this issue but on the side of peace. The period since the Oslo accords has been littered with missed opportunities, generally involving the Palestinian Authority’s refusal to engage. Everyone in this House with any influence on the Palestinian Authority should urge it to engage in this. A large part of the Arab world is behind this, and Her Majesty’s Government should do their best to facilitate this important peace process.
My Lords, I too thank my noble friend Lord Turnberg for securing this debate. The tension between Iran, the US and their allies, which culminated in the killing of Iranian military leader Qasem Soleimani earlier this month, has stabilised. I am pleased that this House is able to debate Iran, and the Middle East, at a time when we have realised that the immediate ambition of all actors is to avoid conflict. The people of the Middle East deserve to live in a peaceful, stable environment, free from the fear of imminent war. The UK can play a part in enabling such an environment by encouraging all leaders to interact through international institutions and to use these as our primary mechanism for defusing future tensions.
In the long term, we have a responsibility to support a framework which commits Iran to internationally recognised norms and formalises its relations with the West. The JCPOA is an opportunity to do exactly this. Regrettably, the agreement has disintegrated following President Trump’s withdrawal, the situation worsened by Iran’s violation of the uranium enrichment clauses. Although the JCPOA is not operational in its current state, we would be mistaken to abandon it altogether unless all other avenues have been exhausted. Can the Minister confirm what steps the Government are taking to resolve the present dispute, and detail the present status of the dispute mechanism?
If the JCPOA is to collapse completely, any replacement for the agreement may take years to develop and in the vacuum of a new deal, we increase the risk of conflict. Those who oppose the JCPOA have been scarce on the detail of what would replace it. Can the Minister explain exactly what the Government believe would differ in a future agreement, in order to gain the support of Iran and the US?
The immediate priority of the UK must be to encourage Iran to comply again with the present agreement, and to ask President Trump to return to the table. However, in the absence of any overnight miracle and a new agreement, we must also consider how we can maintain the present détente. There is a responsibility, which Iran must uphold, to international law, including the non-proliferation treaty.
In recent days and weeks, the Iranian Government have again used inflammatory language. We must make it clear that this is unacceptable and serves no benefit to the Iranian people, but we must also repeat our invitation for them to come in from the cold and work with the international community.
On the American policy of effectively bankrupting Iran and causing collapse within it, does the Minister agree that, far from it leading to its coming to a conference table, it is more likely to lead to a failed state lashing out and a possibility of conflict?
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what priority they give to Sudan and South Sudan among their foreign policy objectives.
My Lords, I am relieved to hear that Answer, not least because we have many humanitarian workers in both countries, including my noble friend Lady Cox, who has only just returned. Could the Minister confirm that the UK-Sudan strategic dialogue is still in place? That is so important for the rebuilding of society. Will civil society, women’s groups and all those groups outside Khartoum be involved?
My Lords, probing a little on that point, the move towards democracy will obviously be very difficult. A transitional Government are in place at the moment, still with military involvement. Could the Minister tell us a bit more about what support, apart from humanitarian aid, we are giving the transitional Government to move towards democracy?
My Lords, is the Minister aware that, just last Wednesday, I was in Abyei, the region suffering from disputes over whether it is located in Sudan or South Sudan, and witnessed the immediate aftermath of a massacre perpetrated by Arab Misseriya tribesmen against Dinka villagers? I saw the burned bodies of women and children in huts that were still burning and heard local villagers voicing deep anger that the UN’s policy prevented them escaping to hide in the bush and left them without any protection. Will Her Majesty’s Government urge the Governments of Sudan and South Sudan to take the necessary measures to ensure the protection of the vulnerable people of Abyei?
Break in Debate
My Lords, with 14 aid workers killed in Sudan last year, and more than 100 since 2013, Sudan remains one of the most dangerous and needy places in the world. Can the Minister tell me whether any of the aid workers killed were sent from the UK—for example, from the DfID mission established as part of the peace process in South Sudan, VSO workers or any other UK personnel?
My Lords, the Minister will be aware of the meeting in the Vatican last April of religious and political leaders from South Sudan, including the President and leading rebel and opposition groups; and of the Pope’s announcement when we met last November that he intended to make a joint visit himself, with me and a former Moderator of the Church of Scotland, at the end of March if the transitional Government had been established by that time in Juba. The period for establishing that Government runs out towards the end of February. May we have assurance that with the whole thing in the balance—and given what we heard from the noble Baroness, Lady Cox—Her Majesty’s Government will apply carrot and stick vigorously, and give full attention over the next four weeks to enabling this new Government to happen solidly in Juba, including the presence of leading rebel members such as Riek Machar, to get a framework for peace?
Has the Minister opened discussions with those countries supplying troops to the United Nations forces, which, as he rightly said, failed to intervene as they should have done in the recent disputes?
To ask Her Majesty’s Government how they intend to respond to the decision of the International Court of Justice to direct the government of Myanmar to prevent all genocidal acts against Rohingya Muslims.
I am grateful to the Minister. Would he agree that one of the most disturbing and depressing moments during the International Court of Justice hearings was the sight of Aung San Suu Kyi defending the Tatmadaw, or Burmese army, against the charges of war crimes—crimes which have led to the forced exodus of 700,000 Rohingya, with villages burned, executions, tortures and mass rape? In supporting this important blow for justice by the ICJ, will we be using Magnitsky powers to introduce carefully targeted economic sanctions against the military, which has been responsible? How will we galvanise the opinion of the international community to ensure compliance with the ICJ ruling that Burma report in four months and every six months thereafter on how it has complied with the undertakings it has been asked to give under the genocide convention?
My Lords, can my noble friend assure the House that, when these discussions take place with our partners around the world, specifically in relation to action at the UN Security Council, we will bear in mind not just the now proven legal record of genocide against the Rohingya community but the killings that have taken place in Kachin province and Shan province? The communities that have been affected by the genocidal activities of the Myanmar Government now extend well beyond the Rohingya Muslim community; it is important that all their actions are put on the table.