Debates between Bob Seely and James Cleverly during the 2019 Parliament

Thu 26th May 2022
Tue 22nd Feb 2022
Tue 9th Nov 2021
Thu 9th Sep 2021
Mon 24th Feb 2020

Illegal Immigration

Debate between Bob Seely and James Cleverly
Wednesday 15th November 2023

(3 months, 2 weeks ago)

Commons Chamber
Read Full debate Read Hansard Text Read Debate Ministerial Extracts
James Cleverly Portrait James Cleverly
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

I am well aware of the implications of the European Court of Human Rights. I keep being invited to comment on something other than the text of my statement. I have made the Government’s position clear: we are focusing our attention on what we believe will unlock this important strand of a multi-strand approach to illegal migration.

Bob Seely Portrait Bob Seely (Isle of Wight) (Con)
- Hansard - -

The Home Secretary will agree that the control of our borders is a defining issue for millions of people, so when the Prime Minister says that

“if necessary I am prepared to revisit our domestic legal frameworks”,

could we sharpen that up a bit to say that we will revisit our domestic legal framework, and will do so on multiple fronts in a timely way?

James Cleverly Portrait James Cleverly
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

We are focused on delivering for the British people and delivering quickly. As I say, we have always had a multi-strand approach, and we will make sure that the domestic legislative framework is fit for purpose and that we can deliver on our commitment to stopping the boats.

Situation in Russia

Debate between Bob Seely and James Cleverly
Monday 26th June 2023

(8 months, 1 week ago)

Commons Chamber
Read Full debate Read Hansard Text Read Debate Ministerial Extracts
James Cleverly Portrait James Cleverly
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

The hon. Gentleman makes an incredibly important point about the personal courage that President Zelensky demonstrated at a point in time when Russian tanks were advancing on Kyiv. I have had the pleasure of meeting him on a couple of occasions, and it is a genuine privilege to do so.

We of course look at a wide range of open-source reporting. Much of that reporting is speculative, and much turns out to be inaccurate; we attempt to sift as much as we can, but it is difficult to get a clear picture of the events on the ground. As such, what we tend to do—as the hon. Gentleman will understand—is work on a range of potential scenarios and plan around the most credible and likely of them.

Bob Seely Portrait Bob Seely (Isle of Wight) (Con)
- Hansard - -

The latest news, if it is to be believed, is that 8,000 Wagner mercenaries will be joining Yevgeny Prigozhin in Belarus, in a small town called Asipovichy where I understand some bases are being built at the dictator Lukashenko’s request. Without wishing to speculate on whether that brigade-sized force will be a greater threat to Lukashenko or to Putin in the short to medium term, may I ask the Foreign Secretary to assure us that that base will be very closely monitored, given its proximity not only to Russian nuclear weapons—we have seen the dual loyalties that the Russian army has towards Wagner—but to NATO borders?

James Cleverly Portrait James Cleverly
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

My hon. and gallant Friend makes an incredibly important point: I am not at all sure that I would be comfortable with 8,000 Wagner fighters being my friends any time soon. We have made it absolutely clear to the Belarusian Government that we expect them not to be involved in or to facilitate attacks into Ukraine. We will of course keep a very close eye on reporting about the locations and activity of those Wagner fighters in Belarus.

Missile Incident in Poland

Debate between Bob Seely and James Cleverly
Wednesday 16th November 2022

(1 year, 3 months ago)

Commons Chamber
Read Full debate Read Hansard Text Read Debate Ministerial Extracts
James Cleverly Portrait James Cleverly
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

The hon. Lady makes an important point. Her words echo those of the Prime Minister and mine on the international stage. What we have seen, through Vladimir Putin’s attempt to use energy supply to blackmail countries that are supporting Ukraine in its self-defence, is a warning that we have to wean ourselves off hydrocarbons—particularly those through which we are reliant on autocratic states such as Russia.

That incentivises us to work at renewable energy generation and storage here in the UK, and to work with our international friends and partners to wean the world off hydrocarbons, which is exactly what my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister and I did when we went to Sharm El Sheikh for COP27. It is one of the points that he is discussing with the membership of the G20 in Indonesia at the moment. We have been at the forefront of many of the green energy generation technologies. We are absolutely committed to making sure that we help the Ukrainians to defend themselves in the here and now, and that we all defend each other through a greener and more sustainable energy mix in future.

Bob Seely Portrait Bob Seely (Isle of Wight) (Con)
- Hansard - -

In this unfortunate incident, two facts seem to be clear. First, the strategy of the Russians is to hold a military line across the south and the east and to destroy Ukraine’s civilian infrastructure; we probably agree on that. I understand fully the great work the Government are doing, which is generally fantastic, and the fact that we are the largest donor in Europe by some distance. However, there is a simple fact that we cannot get around. The Ukrainians have been saying for months that they do not have the air defence equipment to protect the cities and the infrastructure and the water supplies and the electricity and their own troops. Despite the fantastic work that the Secretary of State and his team are doing, the Ukrainians do not have enough air defence kit, and this is becoming critical to the survival of the Ukrainian state and its people’s morale in the coming months.

James Cleverly Portrait James Cleverly
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

My hon. and gallant Friend, who has made a career, both in uniform and out, of analysing these things, is absolutely right in his assessment of the immediate tactics that the Russians are endeavouring to use. By extension, he is also right about the need to help the Ukrainians with their air defence systems. I am assured by my right hon. and gallant Friend the Minister for Armed Forces that exactly that issue will be discussed at Ramstein, at military-to-military level and at Foreign Minister-to-Foreign Minister level. The equipment and the integration of that equipment are key, and will remain an absolute priority for us.

Evacuations from Afghanistan

Debate between Bob Seely and James Cleverly
Thursday 26th May 2022

(1 year, 9 months ago)

Commons Chamber
Read Full debate Read Hansard Text

Urgent Questions are proposed each morning by backbench MPs, and up to two may be selected each day by the Speaker. Chosen Urgent Questions are announced 30 minutes before Parliament sits each day.

Each Urgent Question requires a Government Minister to give a response on the debate topic.

This information is provided by Parallel Parliament and does not comprise part of the offical record

James Cleverly Portrait James Cleverly
- Parliament Live - Hansard - - - Excerpts

The UK Government’s vilification is reserved exclusively for the evil people who prey on the vulnerable and traffic them through huge danger, putting lives at risk not just in the crossing between France and the UK but more widely. That is where our vilification rightly sits. The Foreign Affairs Committee’s important report will be considered carefully. Lessons have already been learned and implemented in relation to our response on Ukraine, as the hon. Gentleman mentioned. We know we have to take this report seriously, and we will.

Bob Seely Portrait Bob Seely (Isle of Wight) (Con)
- Parliament Live - Hansard - -

I pay tribute to my former colleagues who worked on Operation Pitting, including Colonel Dave Middleton and my former boss Brigadier James Martin.

Looking at the report, does the Minister accept there are problems with how cross-Government integration works? Does he also accept that there are significant question marks about how our national security structures work, and whether they and the current National Security Adviser are fit for purpose?

James Cleverly Portrait James Cleverly
- Parliament Live - Hansard - - - Excerpts

The situation in Afghanistan moved incredibly quickly, and it forced a pressure on all international capitals that had a presence in Afghanistan, the likes of which we had not seen before. I hear what my hon. Friend says about the specifics, and I will not be rushed into making conclusions about our response to the report. It deserves proper consideration, and that consideration will be given.

Sanctions

Debate between Bob Seely and James Cleverly
Tuesday 22nd February 2022

(2 years ago)

Commons Chamber
Read Full debate Read Hansard Text Read Debate Ministerial Extracts
James Cleverly Portrait James Cleverly
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

No.

The House may be surprised to hear that I have taken a huge amount of positivity from the exchanges today, because this House has once again spoken with such a commanding, concerted and collaborative voice in support of the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine and in support of the Ukrainian people. More than that, this House has demanded of the Government that we go further with our sanctions—that they are harder and inflict greater economic pain on the individuals and entities in the Russian system who have done so much damage not just to the Russian people, but now also to the Ukrainian people. I am happy that is the tone of the House because I can confidently inform the House that it is demanding something of the Government that the Government are absolutely determined to do. It is pushing at an open door.

A number of questions have come up repeatedly, so I will address them.

Bob Seely Portrait Bob Seely
- Hansard - -

Will the Minister give way?

James Cleverly Portrait James Cleverly
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

I will rush on, because I was excessively generous earlier. The question was asked: will these sanctions be escalated only in response to further aggression? I can assure the House that these sanctions will be ratcheted up because of what has already happened, and not just in response to what might happen in the future. Our intention is to prevent even further invasion of Ukraine, to have those troops who are in Ukraine removed, and then to have them return to their home barracks once they are back in Russia. That is our ultimate aim, and the ratchet effect will be done to pursue that as a strategic aim.

There have been questions about asset flight. We are very conscious of this, and that is why we are not explicitly naming people or institutions that may be subject to future sanctions. It is also why it is very important that we work hand in hand with our international allies and friends, who are just as determined as we are to address this situation.

The shadow Foreign Secretary, the right hon. Member for Tottenham (Mr Lammy), compared what we have announced today unfavourably with what our allies say they are going to announce. If I were to say that this sanctions package is as far as the Government are willing to go, that might be a legitimate criticism, but the point we have made is that, just as our friends and allies intend to go further, we intend to go further. I have given some suggestions about where that additional ratchet effect may be focused, but we reserve the right to explore whatever is necessary to dissuade further aggression and to force Vladimir Putin to withdraw the troops that have entered Ukraine.

Questions were asked about the application of this statutory instrument in the OTs. This SI does cover the OTs. Members asked whether individuals who may not be in direct managerial or ownership roles would be subject to these sanctions. This SI is worded specifically to be broad in scope. I think implicit in the question my hon. Friend the Member for Huntingdon (Mr Djanogly) asked was that it might even be too broad in scope, but I can assure the House that it was written specifically to be broad in scope so that the ownership maze often put in place to hide the beneficiary of ownership can be addressed.

There have been some questions about family members. A family member is caught within scope where they are acting for or deriving benefit from their relationship with the Russian Government. However, just being the relative of someone who may be subject to sanctions is not necessarily enough on its own. There need to be reasonable grounds, and we always act with reasonableness, although we do act with firmness.

In the debate, it has sometimes sounded as if the only Russians subjected to UK sanctions are the ones who were named by my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary this morning. It is worth reminding the House that 58 entities and 186 Russian individuals are currently subject to financial sanctions under the Russia regime, including the ones designated today. There are already limitations on the activities in the UK of SberBank, VTB bank, Gazprombank and others, and as I say, we will not speculate on where future sanction designations may land.

Across the House, my right hon. and hon. Friends—including my right hon. Friend the Member for Chingford and Woodford Green (Sir Iain Duncan Smith) and my hon. Friends the Members for Isle of Wight (Bob Seely) and for Tonbridge and Malling (Tom Tugendhat)—have called on us to do more, and their message was absolutely echoed, very effectively and eloquently, by the right hon. Member for Birmingham, Hodge Hill (Liam Byrne), my shadow, the hon. Member for Cardiff South and Penarth (Stephen Doughty), and the hon. Members for Stirling (Alyn Smith) and for Oxford West and Abingdon (Layla Moran). I hear—the Government hear—exactly the points that they are making.

The hon. Member for North Durham (Mr Jones)—

Bosnia and Herzegovina

Debate between Bob Seely and James Cleverly
Tuesday 9th November 2021

(2 years, 3 months ago)

Commons Chamber
Read Full debate Read Hansard Text Read Debate Ministerial Extracts

Urgent Questions are proposed each morning by backbench MPs, and up to two may be selected each day by the Speaker. Chosen Urgent Questions are announced 30 minutes before Parliament sits each day.

Each Urgent Question requires a Government Minister to give a response on the debate topic.

This information is provided by Parallel Parliament and does not comprise part of the offical record

James Cleverly Portrait James Cleverly
- Parliament Live - Hansard - - - Excerpts

I thank the hon. Lady for her questions. Specifically on EUFOR, as I said, the UK and the United States of America were vocal in our support of the mandate renewal and we are very pleased that that happened. Although we are not formally a member of EUFOR, we have seconded staff officers to support capability-building work and we have given direct support to the Bosnia and Herzegovina armed forces, which are an essential part of the security framework. As I said, my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary will speak at the upcoming NATO Foreign Ministers meeting and push for more focus and resource on Bosnia and Herzegovina, and for the collective need to push back against Russia’s actions in the area. With regard to what we might do next, that will need to be a collective decision by the international community, because working in accord with each other is the only way we will make meaningful progress. However, I can assure the hon. Lady that this is, and will remain, a very clear focus for UK foreign policy in the region.

Bob Seely Portrait Bob Seely (Isle of Wight) (Con)
- Parliament Live - Hansard - -

I thank my hon. Friend the Member for Totnes (Anthony Mangnall) for securing the urgent question. As someone who spent time in Yugoslavia during the wars of the 1990s, I do not underestimate how unpleasant this could get, and how violent and how quickly. I want to look at Russia. We know it has been selling arms to the ethnic Serbian police. We know it has form in handing out passports to people in conflict areas as a reason for intervention. We also know there is now significant potential for European Union forces to come into direct conflict with Russian proxies. Is the Minister aware of the true danger of that situation, and that it follows a pattern not only in the western Balkans, but in eastern Ukraine and, now, on the Belarus border? We, and NATO and the EU, are being significantly tested. Do we have a policy?

James Cleverly Portrait James Cleverly
- Parliament Live - Hansard - - - Excerpts

I thank my hon. and gallant Friend for his points. I recognise the contribution he has made and his understanding of the issues in the region. He is right that those of us who remember the headlines and images that came out of the region not that long ago are horrified at the prospect that it might slip back into that level of violence. The Under-Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, my hon. Friend the Member for Aldridge-Brownhills (Wendy Morton) visited the region extensively earlier this year. She and our officials are well aware—well aware—of the circumstances on the ground. We will, as I say, continue to work with our international partners, both European partners and NATO partners, to do everything we can to prevent the region slipping back into the kind of horrific sectarian bloodshed we saw, sadly, only 26 years ago.

Afghanistan: FCDO Responses to Members

Debate between Bob Seely and James Cleverly
Thursday 9th September 2021

(2 years, 5 months ago)

Commons Chamber
Read Full debate Read Hansard Text Read Debate Ministerial Extracts

Urgent Questions are proposed each morning by backbench MPs, and up to two may be selected each day by the Speaker. Chosen Urgent Questions are announced 30 minutes before Parliament sits each day.

Each Urgent Question requires a Government Minister to give a response on the debate topic.

This information is provided by Parallel Parliament and does not comprise part of the offical record

James Cleverly Portrait James Cleverly
- Parliament Live - Hansard - - - Excerpts

Two hundred thousand emails were received. Although it is absolutely the case that the people in Afghanistan—whether they be British nationals, Afghans who worked for us or at-risk Afghans—are a priority, it is just not possible to open, analyse and respond to 200,000 emails in the same timescale that we would normally be able to.

The commitment made by my right hon. Friends the Foreign Secretary and the Prime Minister was discharged: every single MP received a response so that they knew that their email had been received and opened and would be worked on. The detail on where those emails have been triaged to and, in respect of cases that are being dealt with by the FCDO, the initial status of cases will be, as I said, provided to right hon. and hon. Member from all parties by 16 September. The commitment that was made was discharged. We will continue to work on behalf of British nationals and at-risk Afghans and we will ensure that any correspondence received directly by the FCDO is triaged and sent to the most appropriate Government Department for processing.

Bob Seely Portrait Bob Seely (Isle of Wight) (Con)
- Parliament Live - Hansard - -

I would like to thank all the officials who have been dealing with this matter, and the hon. Member for Rhondda (Chris Bryant), who has raised a really important subject. I will come straight to the point. How confident is the Minister that the UK will be able to reach and get out of Afghanistan those Afghan folks who worked with us, not so much in Kabul but in Helmand and Kandahar provinces, where they served alongside the UK military and took the greatest risks to their own safety and that of their families? What is the chance of getting hold of those people who are now trapped hundreds of miles from Kabul?

James Cleverly Portrait James Cleverly
- Parliament Live - Hansard - - - Excerpts

The ministerial team at the FCDO, including the Foreign Secretary, have been liaising extensively with both neighbouring countries and countries in the region to facilitate the evacuation of Afghans who have worked with us. It is not possible—it is not possible—to make cast iron guarantees. There is no functioning Government in Afghanistan, but we are liaising intensively with neighbouring countries to give the Afghans the very best chance of escaping the Taliban regime.

Syria: Security Situation

Debate between Bob Seely and James Cleverly
Monday 24th February 2020

(4 years ago)

Commons Chamber
Read Full debate Read Hansard Text Read Debate Ministerial Extracts

Urgent Questions are proposed each morning by backbench MPs, and up to two may be selected each day by the Speaker. Chosen Urgent Questions are announced 30 minutes before Parliament sits each day.

Each Urgent Question requires a Government Minister to give a response on the debate topic.

This information is provided by Parallel Parliament and does not comprise part of the offical record

James Cleverly Portrait James Cleverly
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

I refer the hon. Lady to the answer I gave a few moments ago: the numbers of Syrian refugees coming to the UK will not fundamentally change the situation on the ground. The UK will continue to act with international partners at the UN level and at others to de-escalate the situation and to push to end the violence and the targeting of civilians, because that is the only real, sustainable way to address the situation in Syria.

Bob Seely Portrait Bob Seely (Isle of Wight) (Con)
- Hansard - -

One of the most significant abuses of the Geneva conventions and the rules of law has been the primary targeting of hospitals by Russian air power and Syrian artillery. Why are we not calling them out more by naming and shaming units and using the UN to do so?

James Cleverly Portrait James Cleverly
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

Our representative at the United Nations has spoken in no uncertain terms about how wrong the behaviour of the regime and the Russian backers has been in targeting civilian facilities and civilians. I am very proud of the fact that the UK has supported the humanitarian efforts in the region. We will continue to do so and have committed to doing so in future, but ultimately, the only sustainable solution is a political one in which the regime in Damascus and its Russian backers understand that their actions will not be accepted at the international level.