Debates between Bob Seely and Dominic Raab during the 2019 Parliament

Oral Answers to Questions

Debate between Bob Seely and Dominic Raab
Tuesday 22nd November 2022

(1 year, 3 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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Dominic Raab Portrait Dominic Raab
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I am afraid I do not accept that characterisation. I think that on Second Reading, the hon. Gentleman will see the level of support. There has already been consultation on not just the policy proposals but specific clauses. We have looked at this at length. It is a manifesto commitment dating back to 2010. It remains one today, and we are going to deliver it for the British people.

Bob Seely Portrait Bob Seely (Isle of Wight) (Con)
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7. What plans he has for the Camp Hill site in Isle of Wight constituency.

Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation

Debate between Bob Seely and Dominic Raab
Thursday 17th March 2022

(1 year, 11 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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Dominic Raab Portrait Dominic Raab
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Forgive me if I do not get drawn into Chelsea football club, which is outside the scope of what we are discussing in this statement. I pay tribute to the hon. Gentleman. Since doing BackBench Business debates on Magnitsky in 2012, he and I have always, whatever else we may differ on, made common cause on the need for robust sanctions. He has been one of the leading lights in relation to SLAPPs, and I will certainly look carefully at the important specific points he has made.

Bob Seely Portrait Bob Seely (Isle of Wight) (Con)
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I am very impressed by the Deputy Prime Minister’s action, and I thank him. It is a great shame that over recent years, we have allowed a corrupting cottage industry of legalised intimidation and legalised gangsterism to be offered by unscrupulous law firms in this country to some of the most wretched and unscrupulous people on earth. I hope that the senior partners in firms such as Carter-Ruck, CMS, Mishcon and Harbottle & Lewis will consider whether they feel that they have played an entirely negative role in enabling Kremlin neo-fascism. My brief question is that I was bringing forward a private Member’s Bill on this issue so that the tools of abuse—data protection, privacy and libel laws—can be wrapped up in a series of amendments. Should I continue to try to bring forward that private Member’s Bill in the hope that I can help write some clauses that would be of value in an upcoming Bill, or should I offer that in evidence to the consultation process? I am keen for the Bill to be strong, just and transparent.

Dominic Raab Portrait Dominic Raab
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My hon. Friend should do both. I thank him for his campaigning tenacity on all this. As ever, he is very forensic, as well as tenacious. I make one point. He makes a perfectly reasonable point about legal ethics—as I mentioned, we will look at the SRA regime, which is important—but I want to avoid this being an anti-lawyer push, because the vast majority of legal practitioners are as aghast as us at the abuses we see. Let us have a targeted approach, because we are more likely to be effective at dealing with the real problem that he has been so tenacious and eloquent in highlighting.

Judicial Review and Courts Bill

Debate between Bob Seely and Dominic Raab
Dominic Raab Portrait Dominic Raab
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We have addressed that issue in response to the report that the Select Committee put out. Our position has not changed. What I would say to the hon. Lady is that I am mindful of the ordeal her constituents went through. One reason we are taking forward these procedures is to reduce that anguish and stress and to ensure that the coroners’ courts in the process deliver a better outcome for the bereaved and others relying on that service.

Bob Seely Portrait Bob Seely (Isle of Wight) (Con)
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I am delighted that my right hon. Friend is making this speech, and we support so much of the Bill. On principle, does he accept that DNA sampling for people buried at sea would speed things up and save time for police and coroners when body parts wash up anywhere on the UK coastline, because they could quickly identify where those body parts come from?

Dominic Raab Portrait Dominic Raab
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My hon. Friend has raised that point with me privately, and he has now raised it on the Floor of the House. I am committed to looking at it and getting back to him. I understand the point, which he has raised in his usual tenacious but clear way.

Finally, the Bill will pave the way for a new state-of-the-art combined courthouse in the City of London. That court will provide an additional 10 courtrooms, predominantly to hear economic crime cases, including white-collar crime, such as fraud, and high-value business and property cases. That will be a real boost to the capital and to our vision of global Britain as a centre for investment, dispute resolution and doing business with integrity around the world. Court users will benefit directly by having access to more modern facilities, including lifts, wide corridors and a range of other measures, making it more accessible for the disabled. The City courtroom will have enhanced custodial facilities, increasing its ability to hear more cases with the most serious type of defendants.

China

Debate between Bob Seely and Dominic Raab
Monday 20th July 2020

(3 years, 7 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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Dominic Raab Portrait Dominic Raab
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I have already raised with Mike Pompeo, as well as with my other Five Eyes partners, not just the Magnitsky sanctions regime that we have put in place but the designations. We have also given due consideration to co-operation on future evidence. It is important that there is an evidence-based approach, although there is of course political accountability, and we will carefully gather and assess the evidence.

In answer to the hon. Gentleman’s question about priorities, we have set out, through a policy note published in the Library of the House, the criteria that we will apply and the policy approach. That stresses the nature of the violations, their severity and our ability to hold to account the individuals at the right levels—sufficiently senior—so that we send the right message.

Bob Seely Portrait Bob Seely (Isle of Wight) (Con)
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I agree with so much of what the Secretary of State is saying about the need for balance, about the criticality of China and about respect for what it has achieved, but the signal truth is that the China we hoped for is not the China that we are now getting. We need a much more significant reset in our relationship in respect of not only Hong Kong but foreign lobbying, foreign investment, espionage—industrial or otherwise—human rights and our alliances and defence posture. Will the Secretary State confirm whether we are approaching all these issues piecemeal or whether there is a wider reset? If there is a wider reset, will he explain how the Government are interacting with parliamentarians and outside experts, and how that more comprehensive reset is going to be presented to Parliament so that we can all get to debate it and contribute to it?

Hong Kong National Security Legislation

Debate between Bob Seely and Dominic Raab
Wednesday 1st July 2020

(3 years, 7 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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Dominic Raab Portrait Dominic Raab
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I share that sentiment, and that is exactly the policy and the measures that we have set out in the statement I have made today.

Bob Seely Portrait Bob Seely (Isle of Wight) (Con) [V]
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I thank the Foreign Secretary and the Home Secretary for their very welcome support for BNOs. Does the Foreign Secretary agree that this dreadful law is proof that China has changed? I hope he sees the clear agreement in the House that we need a new strategic approach to this communist dictatorship, not just the naive hope that China will change into what we want it to be. We were slow to prepare for the new authoritarianism in Russia and now in China. Will he take the feelings and sentiments that he has heard today from the House on Huawei and other issues onboard?

Dominic Raab Portrait Dominic Raab
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I certainly always pay very close attention to the remarks that my hon. Friend makes on China, which he follows very closely. He is right that we have special responsibilities to the BNOs. We look at the relationship right across the board—every aspect of it—through the National Security Council, in the Foreign Office and more broadly across Whitehall. I personally do not agree with the cold war analogy he has provided. I think that not only the opportunities, but the challenges that China presents in the 21st century are different, partly as a result of technology and such things as cyber and partly just because of the unique nature of China as a country. We want a positive relationship. I and the Government do not want a bad relationship to become a self-fulfilling prophecy, but what is equally clear—I can reassure my hon. Friend of this—is that we will not do anything that imperils our vital interests, and we will not lie down and sacrifice our values for the purposes of trade, commerce or anything like that.

DFID-FCO Merger

Debate between Bob Seely and Dominic Raab
Thursday 18th June 2020

(3 years, 8 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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Dominic Raab Portrait Dominic Raab
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I share the hon. Lady’s passion and commitment in this area. We have made the commitment to 0.7% of gross national income. We will discuss and scrutinise all the questions around accountability and the structure of the new body. Aid will be represented not just in foreign policy but in the NSC and at the Cabinet table by the Secretary of State for the new Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office—that would obviously be me—and the Prime Minister will oversee it through the NSC, which he chairs.

Bob Seely Portrait Bob Seely (Isle of Wight) (Con)
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First, will the Secretary of State confirm that claims that this merger will take money from the world’s poorest are simply false? Secondly, will he say whether this is a one-off move or part of a programme to give greater coherence and integration to British overseas policy?

Dominic Raab Portrait Dominic Raab
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I thank my hon. Friend for his question. In fact, I wanted to say in relation to the previous question that we are absolutely committed not just to safeguarding and protecting but to improving the work we do to help and lift out of poverty the most vulnerable and the poorest around the world. My hon. Friend asked whether this was a process. I think we are on a process of further integration, but our current plans are the ones that we have announced, and we are very focused on making sure we get maximum effectiveness out of this merger.

Covid-19

Debate between Bob Seely and Dominic Raab
Tuesday 17th March 2020

(3 years, 11 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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Dominic Raab Portrait Dominic Raab
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I thank the hon. Gentleman for what he said about consular staff; we will pass that on. It does matter that we have cross-party support for the essential work that all our public services are doing.

The hon. Gentleman asked about travel advice. Obviously, we are advising against all but essential travel globally. It is up to individuals to make the individual judgment calls, which will depend on their personal circumstances and on the availability of commercial flights. In the last resort, we have been able to provide repatriation flights, but that is getting more difficult. We will continue to provide support and advice, but ultimately some of those judgment calls will remain a decision for the individual.

Bob Seely Portrait Bob Seely (Isle of Wight) (Con)
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I would like to follow up what the Secretary of State was saying about ferries and the Department for Transport in relation to the UK. I have two questions. Will the Government please relax competition law today to allow discussion between the three cross-Solent ferry operators to build a resilience plan? They will be in breach of the law if they do not, and lives could depend on this if our ferry services fall over.

Secondly, will the Government support today the Maritime and Coastguard Agency to allow people to sit in cars during ferry journeys in the UK, to protect at-risk groups and for social distancing purposes?

Dominic Raab Portrait Dominic Raab
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As ever, my hon. Friend raises important and excellent practical points. They are mainly for the Secretary of State for Transport, but I reassure him that the Secretary of State is talking to the ferry operators as well as the airliners and working together to make sure that we get not just the clearest but the most practical advice, so that our constituents and people travelling to or from the UK can make the decisions that they need to make.

UK Telecommunications

Debate between Bob Seely and Dominic Raab
Tuesday 28th January 2020

(4 years ago)

Commons Chamber
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Dominic Raab Portrait Dominic Raab
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I do not think there is any reason why we cannot, but we must provide the necessary investment and the right market structure and level playing field. We must also engage in some of the international relations, networks and partnerships that can assure us of either a home-grown alternative for the future, or one that is worked out with our most highly trusted partners.

Bob Seely Portrait Bob Seely (Isle of Wight) (Con)
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I welcome much of the telecoms review, and I thank my right hon. Friend for the manner in which he is speaking now, but I still think that Members in all parts of the House will have significant problems with high-risk vendors, partly because of years of under-communication about this issue on the part of Governments. Just for now, however, can my right hon. Friend confirm that Parliament will be able to debate an agreed definition of high-risk and non-high-risk vendors, that Parliament will be able to agree which high-risk vendors we want in the system and what the percentage should be—35% seems an awful lot—and that we will be able to work out how to encourage trusted vendors to compete with high-risk vendors in non-core-periphery elements, so that we can build non-trusted vendors out of the system, not into it?

Joint Comprehensive Plan Of Action

Debate between Bob Seely and Dominic Raab
Tuesday 14th January 2020

(4 years, 1 month ago)

Commons Chamber
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Dominic Raab Portrait Dominic Raab
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The right hon. Gentleman is just wrong. Of course one can want to preserve this deal but be ambitious and, if it is possible, bring the United States and Tehran into a broader rapprochement, dealing not just with the nuclear issue but with the wider destabilising activities. That is the policy that we are pursuing and we are doing so with the US and also, crucially, with our EU partners. There seems to be a bit of amnesia on the Opposition Benches. It was President Macron who last year proposed a very similar approach. Just as we are willing to support that in relation to proposals initiated in Washington, we supported it in relation to Macron. We want to keep the transatlantic alliance together and we want to bring a broader rapprochement between the US and Iran that can lead to a better path for the Iranian people.

Bob Seely Portrait Bob Seely (Isle of Wight) (Con)
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It seems that the JCPOA in its current form is dying, although it is not dead yet, and I compliment the Foreign Secretary and his Ministers for the work that they are doing. Is there any common ground between the United States and Iran on a potential JCPOA 2?

Dominic Raab Portrait Dominic Raab
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It is not clear that there is, as of now. However, there is scope, if Iran is willing—the E3 statement backed this up, but we come back to that basic dynamic and that basic choice—to see some sort of broader deal that would address not just the nuclear front but the wider destabilising activities. If we want a longer-term resolution to the challenge that Iran faces which brings in the United States and all the relevant partners in the region, it is absolutely right that we hold to that ambition and pursue it where we can.

Iran

Debate between Bob Seely and Dominic Raab
Monday 13th January 2020

(4 years, 1 month ago)

Commons Chamber
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Bob Seely Portrait Bob Seely (Isle of Wight) (Con)
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Following up on the point made by the right hon. Member for Leeds Central (Hilary Benn), who is no longer in his place, is there a case for the Foreign Office to do some useful and valuable work on updating the Geneva conventions or, working with others, updating the rules around civilian airliners to do more to ensure that civilian airliners are not, on a semi-regular basis, being shot out of the sky using, often very improperly, poorly made Russian kit? We have had hundreds of people killed, including Britons but also from many other countries, in the past few years.

Dominic Raab Portrait Dominic Raab
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I thank my hon. Friend, but the reality is that this not about a lack of clarity around the law. Targeting a civilian airliner is clearly unlawful. There is no absence or lack of legal basis for making that point; the question is compliance. The first thing we need, which is having Iran acknowledge responsibility for this, is to get the full details—the full facts—of how it could have happened. If it is being suggested that it is a mistake, we need to know how a mistake like that could have happened and then learn the appropriate lessons from it. That is what we are absolutely committed to.