Amanda Milling debates involving the Ministry of Defence during the 2019 Parliament

Oral Answers to Questions

Amanda Milling Excerpts
Monday 30th January 2023

(1 year, 2 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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Andrew Murrison Portrait Dr Murrison
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I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for raising the matter. There is no question but that between 1967 and 2000, people in the LGBT community were badly dealt with by Defence. That is why we have set up the Etherton review, which will report shortly. Having met Lord Etherton, I can tell the hon. Gentleman that he will be forensic in his examination of the data. I think I can assure the hon. Gentleman that the handling of records, as far as we can tell, was carried out in accordance with civilian practice, but of course we will stand by and wait for his lordship to opine on the matter. We will comment further when he has done so.

Amanda Milling Portrait Amanda Milling (Cannock Chase) (Con)
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Will my right hon. Friend set out what preparations his Department has made for supporting overseas territories in the Caribbean during this year’s hurricane season?

James Heappey Portrait James Heappey
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I enjoyed working with my right hon. Friend when she was Minister for the Overseas Territories. She is right to care about the matter. She will know that the Department has done a lot of work over the past few years to develop the resilience of the overseas territories, as well as maintaining naval assets in the region and more at-readiness to assist if required.

Support for Ukraine and Countering Threats from Russia

Amanda Milling Excerpts
Wednesday 2nd March 2022

(2 years, 1 month ago)

Commons Chamber
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Amanda Milling Portrait The Minister for Asia and the Middle East (Amanda Milling)
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Let me start by thanking colleagues from across the House for this debate and the Opposition for tabling it, because one thing it has demonstrated is our united support together, and with other people around the world, for the people of Ukraine. I will make a few points about that in a moment.

We are united in our horror and condemnation of the attacks in Ukraine. During Prime Minister’s questions, the House, a full House, applauded the Ukrainian ambassador. I know that there are no party lines on this in terms of how united we are in our support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and in our condemnation of Putin’s unprovoked attack. I thank Members from across the House for their contributions and passionate speeches. I also thank my hon. Friend the Minister for the Armed Forces for his opening remarks. I join him in paying tribute to the courage and resilience of Ukraine’s armed forces. As we speak, Russia continues with its illegal and unprovoked invasion of Ukraine.

As my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary outlined to the Human Rights Council yesterday:

“The consequences of Vladimir Putin’s unjustified aggression are horrific…Putin is responsible for civilian casualties and over 500,000 people fleeing—with the numbers still rising fast…He is violating international law, including the UN Charter and multiple commitments to peace and security…The UK stands united in condemning Russia’s reprehensible behaviour.”

Last week, we joined more than 40 countries at the OSCE in condemning Putin’s aggression. The Council of Europe also voted to suspend Russia. May I thank my hon. Friend the Member for Henley (John Howell) for everything that he did to see Russia suspended and for how he spoke so passionately and strongly on this matter?

At the UN, we joined more than 80 members to back a resolution condemning Russian aggression. Meanwhile, Russia stood alone in opposing it. As my hon. Friend the Member for Devizes (Danny Kruger) mentioned during the debate, the UN General Assembly has just passed a resolution condemning the Russian invasion of Ukraine by an overwhelming majority. That demonstrates the international strength of feeling on condemning this invasion.

I also want to pick up on a point made by my right hon. Friend the Member for South West Wiltshire (Dr Murrison) on China. We recognise that Russia and China are neighbours and have an important relationship, but Russia is not the same as China, and China claims a policy of non-interference. As fellow permanent members of the Security Council, the UK and China have important diplomatic roles to play in the coming days and weeks. The world will be looking at what China chooses to say and do. China needs to be clear that it does not support Russia’s action in any way.

We have joined forces with the US, the G7, the EU and other partners to take decisive steps through hard-hitting sanctions. These consequences will only increase in breadth and severity as the conflict goes on. I am proud to represent a nation that is so strongly and publicly supporting the people of Ukraine and standing up to the barbaric behaviour of Russia. With our allies and partners, the UK is supporting Ukraine and our partners in the Western Balkans, and we are already providing a range of economic, humanitarian and defensive military assistance.

As my hon. Friend the Member for Ynys Môn (Virginia Crosbie) and other Members mentioned, today the Disasters Emergency Committee launched its Ukrainian humanitarian appeal. We are matching the first £20 million donated to this appeal—our largest ever aid-match contribution. We have pledged £220 million of aid, which includes £120 million of humanitarian assistance, providing Ukrainians with access to the basic necessities and vital medical supplies.

We call on Russia for unhindered humanitarian access into Ukraine and safe passage out for civilians. This funding will help agencies respond to the deteriorating humanitarian situation, creating a lifeline for Ukrainians with access to basic necessities. We have deployed humanitarian experts to the region to bolster our support to countries receiving those who are fleeing from violence. We are ramping up support for trade in priority industries, such as technology and green energy, to £3.5 billion, including £1.7 billion to boost Ukraine’s naval capability.

Danny Kruger Portrait Danny Kruger
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May I endorse the point that my hon. Friend made about the contribution of the British Government to the Disasters Emergency Committee? It is an absolutely tremendous and unprecedented thing that is being done, but, of course, it will only work if it is matched by the generosity of the British public. Will she make that appeal on behalf of the House and urge people to support the Ukrainian refugees financially rather than by sending goods?

Amanda Milling Portrait Amanda Milling
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I am grateful to my hon. Friend, and he is absolutely right. Hon. Members have talked about their constituents who are desperate to be able to support Ukrainians, and this appeal is the way to do so. I urge people to look at the DEC’s website to see how they can offer support by donating to the appeal.

The UK and our international partners stand united in condemning the Russian Government. Russia’s assault on Ukraine is an unprovoked, premeditated and barbaric attack on a sovereign democratic state.

Alicia Kearns Portrait Alicia Kearns
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I know my right hon. Friend is trying to make progress, but before she moves on from humanitarian aid I want to press her on the point I made in my speech. Our sanctions regime is so important, but at the moment it is preventing humanitarian organisations from doing the deals they need to do, even with sanctioned entities, to get the aid to those who need it. Will she kindly commit to taking that issue away and look at whether we need to introduce the same legislation as the Americans have and that the UK backed at the UN Security Council in December for Afghanistan, to overcome this exact problem?

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Amanda Milling Portrait Amanda Milling
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I will come on to sanctions, but we must ensure that the humanitarian assistance gets to those who need it, and I will happily follow up with my hon. Friend afterwards.

Putin has chosen a path of wanton bloodshed and destruction, and he must pay a price for the innocent lives lost. The events of the past few days have shown the world that the Kremlin was never serious about engaging in diplomacy; it was focused on deceit and blinded by territorial ambitions. A number of hon. Members from all parts of the House have asked about the role of the International Criminal Court. We agree that it is vital that perpetrators of war crimes are held to account, and we welcome the statement by the ICC prosecutor that he intends to open an investigation into the situation in Ukraine.

Duncan Baker Portrait Duncan Baker
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In my speech, I mentioned the enormous outpouring around the community in all our constituencies of people who want to help with the refugee crisis. Can the Minister just say that we will accelerate every single plan we have to ensure that we can sponsor, support and help refugees who are trying to flee the crisis?

Amanda Milling Portrait Amanda Milling
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As I noted earlier, in terms of humanitarian assistance there was an announcement today on the campaign that the Disasters Emergency Committee is running. I must make progress, because we are going to run out of time.

A number of colleagues mentioned sanctions. We have been at the forefront of the international response, and I reassure colleagues that we have been acting in concert with our allies. Our measures will deliver a devastating blow, as we have already seen, to Russia’s economy and military for years to come. Our sanctions combine our partners’ strongest measures and have already had an impact on the Russian state.

Over the past week, we have announced punishing new sanctions that will strike at the heart of Putin’s inner circle and the financial institutions and military-industrial machine that prop up his regime. I could go into detail on the number of designations and how many businesses and individuals will be affected, and the statutory instruments that were announced and have entered into force through an affirmative motion. The two motions approved on Tuesday 1 March brought into force new financial measures covering sovereign debt, sterling clearing and securities, as well as new trade measures.

I could list a number of other measures in this space, but they are only the beginning. We have a rolling programme that will continue to ratchet up the pressure on Russia. We will designate additional companies and members of the elite over the coming weeks and months. The sanctions will strike at the members of Putin’s inner circle, wherever in the world they are based.

In conclusion, the Russian Government have lied to the world and to their own people. It is vital for the safety of every nation that Putin’s venture should ultimately fail and be seen to fail.

Question put and agreed to.


That this House condemns Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine; stands in solidarity with Ukrainians in their resistance to Russia’s invasion of their sovereign state; supports the UK providing further defensive military, humanitarian and other assistance to Ukraine; recognises the importance of international unity against Russian state aggression; and calls on the Government to ensure that the United Kingdom’s NATO defence and security obligations are fulfilled to counter the threats from Russia.

Nigel Evans Portrait Mr Deputy Speaker (Mr Nigel Evans)
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This excellent debate and, at the start of our proceedings, the outpouring of love and solidarity for the Ukrainian ambassador, who was present, with that long standing ovation that the Minister mentioned—unprecedented in my 30 years as an MP—clearly demonstrate in a graphic way the 100% support that this House of Commons has for the brave people of Ukraine. [Hon. Members: “Hear, hear.”]