John Howell Portrait

John Howell

Conservative - Henley

Justice Committee
2nd Mar 2020 - 8th Jun 2021
Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee
2nd Mar 2020 - 9th Mar 2020
Justice Committee
11th Sep 2017 - 6th Nov 2019
Justice Committee
6th Jul 2015 - 3rd May 2017
Armed Forces Bill Committee
26th Oct 2015 - 24th Nov 2015
Justice Committee
8th Sep 2014 - 30th Mar 2015
Work and Pensions Committee
14th Jul 2008 - 6th May 2010


Oral Question
Tuesday 26th October 2021
11:30
Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office
Oral Question No. 2
What steps she is taking to ensure that Official Development Assistance to the Palestinian Authority supports the peace process.
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Division Votes
Wednesday 20th October 2021
Environment Bill
voted Aye - in line with the party majority
One of 300 Conservative Aye votes vs 1 Conservative No votes
Tally: Ayes - 307 Noes - 185
Speeches
Monday 18th October 2021
Oral Answers to Questions

Anyone can be a victim of domestic abuse, regardless of their gender, age, ethnicity, religion, socioeconomic status, sexuality or background, …

Written Answers
Wednesday 20th October 2021
Eastern Europe: Undocumented Migrants
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if she will make an assessment of the …
Early Day Motions
Thursday 25th February 2016
PALESTINIAN PRISONERS
That this House notes with concern that the Government continues to sanction payments from British taxpayers to convicted Palestinian criminals …
Bills
Tuesday 1st December 2020
Apologies Bill 2019-21
A Bill to make provision for the effect of an apology in certain legal proceedings.
MP Financial Interests
Monday 6th July 2020
1. Employment and earnings
22 June 2020, received additional sum of £1,000 for strategic work. Hours: 3 hrs. (Registered 30 June 2020)
EDM signed
Tuesday 4th September 2018
CYSTIC FIBROSIS TRUST CAMPAIGN
That this House commends the efforts of the Cystic Fibrosis Trust in campaigning for access to the precision medicine Orkambi; …

Division Voting information

During the current Parliamentary Session, John Howell has voted in 302 divisions, and 1 time against the majority of their Party.

17 Jun 2020 - Health and Personal Social Services - View Vote Context
John Howell voted Aye - against a party majority and in line with the House
One of 104 Conservative Aye votes vs 124 Conservative No votes
Tally: Ayes - 253 Noes - 136
View All John Howell Division Votes

Debates during the 2019 Parliament

Speeches made during Parliamentary debates are recorded in Hansard. For ease of browsing we have grouped debates into individual, departmental and legislative categories.

Sparring Partners
Dominic Raab (Conservative)
Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice
(14 debate interactions)
Jim Shannon (Democratic Unionist Party)
Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Human Rights)
(10 debate interactions)
Matt Hancock (Conservative)
(8 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
Department Debates
Home Office
(19 debate contributions)
Department of Health and Social Care
(14 debate contributions)
View All Department Debates
View all John Howell's debates

Henley Petitions

e-Petitions are administered by Parliament and allow members of the public to express support for a particular issue.

If an e-petition reaches 10,000 signatures the Government will issue a written response.

If an e-petition reaches 100,000 signatures the petition becomes eligible for a Parliamentary debate (usually Monday 4.30pm in Westminster Hall).

Petition Debates Contributed

Recognise the state of Palestine to help stop the conflict from Israel. Not recognising the Palestinian state allows Israel to continue their persecution of the Palestinians.

The Government should introduce sanctions against Israel, including blocking all trade, and in particular arms.

We want the Government to commit to not rolling out any e-vaccination status/immunity passport to the British public. Such passports could be used to restrict the rights of people who have refused a Covid-19 vaccine, which would be unacceptable.

In light of the recent outbreak and lock down, those on maternity leave should be given 3 extra months paid leave, at least. This time is for bonding and social engaging with other parents and babies through baby groups which are vital for development and now everything has been cancelled.

The government should consider delaying negotiations so they can concentrate on the coronavirus situation and reduce travel of both EU and UK negotiators. This would necessitate extending the transition period; as there can only be a one off extension, this should be for two years.


Latest EDMs signed by John Howell

4th June 2018
John Howell signed this EDM on Tuesday 4th September 2018

CYSTIC FIBROSIS TRUST CAMPAIGN

Tabled by: Mike Penning (Conservative - Hemel Hempstead)
That this House commends the efforts of the Cystic Fibrosis Trust in campaigning for access to the precision medicine Orkambi; recognises that the campaign has been ongoing for nearly three years; further recognises the urgency of the situation as every month that passes is critical for people with cystic fibrosis; …
82 signatures
(Most recent: 29 Nov 2018)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 34
Conservative: 14
Democratic Unionist Party: 8
Independent: 8
Liberal Democrat: 8
Scottish National Party: 6
The Independent Group for Change: 2
Plaid Cymru: 2
Non-affiliated: 1
Green Party: 1
26th June 2017
John Howell signed this EDM as a sponsor on Thursday 29th June 2017

CHILTERN EDGE SCHOOL

Tabled by: Matt Rodda (Labour - Reading East)
That this House believes that Chiltern Edge School should remain open; is concerned that Oxfordshire County Council is consulting on its closure; notes that this is a much loved school and that there is a growing need for school places in the area; and supports the wishes of parents, teachers …
5 signatures
(Most recent: 29 Jun 2017)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 2
Conservative: 1
Democratic Unionist Party: 1
Scottish National Party: 1
View All John Howell's signed Early Day Motions

Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by John Howell, and are more likely to reflect personal policy preferences.

MPs who are act as Ministers or Shadow Ministers are generally restricted from performing Commons initiatives other than Urgent Questions.


John Howell has not been granted any Urgent Questions

John Howell has not been granted any Adjournment Debates

2 Bills introduced by John Howell


A Bill to make provision for the effect of an apology in certain legal proceedings.


Last Event - 1st Reading (Commons)
Tuesday 1st December 2020
(Read Debate)

The Bill failed to complete its passage through Parliament before the end of the session. This means the Bill will make no further progress. A Bill to limit the grounds of appeal against decisions on planning applications consistent with a neighbourhood development plan or local plan; and for connected purposes


Last Event - 1st Reading: House Of Commons
Tuesday 4th December 2018
(Read Debate)

John Howell has not co-sponsored any Bills in the current parliamentary sitting


53 Written Questions in the current parliament

(View all written questions)
Written Questions can be tabled by MPs and Lords to request specific information information on the work, policy and activities of a Government Department
2 Other Department Questions
24th Jun 2021
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, if she will make an assessment of the implications for the Government's policies on racial equality of the debate on 24 June, in the third Part-Session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe 2021 on Combating Afrophobia in Europe.

The Government remains fully committed to building a fairer Britain and taking action to address disparities wherever they exist. That is why the Prime Minister established the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities in July 2020.

The Commission submitted its findings to the Prime Minister on 31 March, along with 24 recommendations for key actions for the Government. We will publish our response to the report later this summer and it would be inappropriate to comment on the implications of the debate of 24 June in advance of that.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
23rd Jun 2021
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, what assessment she has made of the implications for her policy on equality for women of the debate at the Council of Europe on 23 June 2021 on the participation of women from under-represented groups in political and public decision-making.

We have more women MPs than ever before, making up 34% of the commons, and in 2019 around a third of local councillors were women, but we must ensure all women have an equal voice in the decisions that affect them. Government can’t control who political parties select as candidates, and it is for parties to ensure that their selection processes are responsive to known barriers and lead the way in improving representation of women from all groups.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
23rd Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he plans to make for the implications of his policies of the debate that took place at the Council of Europe on 21 June 2021 on the potential merits of introducing a right to know mechanism for the preservation of media freedom.

The Government is committed to protecting the freedom of the press and recognises that a vibrant and free press plays an invaluable role in our cultural and democratic life. We want to make sure that this continues, with high journalistic standards working in the public interest. The government set up the National Committee for the Safety of Journalists, and published the National Action Plan for the Safety of Journalists. The plan and the Committee’s aim is to ensure that journalists operating in the UK are as safe as possible, reducing the number of attacks on and threats issued to journalists. In addition, the government recently published an Online Media Literacy Strategy and Action Plan. Matters involving the Council of Europe are the responsibility of the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office.

21st Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if he will direct the Charity Commission to undertake an investigation into the expenditure of over £2m of charitable funds on legal expenses by the Governing Body of Christ Church, Oxford in relation to that College's attempt to dismiss the Dean of that College.

The Charity Commission is the independent regulator and registrar for charities in England and Wales. As an independent non-Ministerial Department, Ministers cannot direct or control the Charity Commission. It is answerable to the courts for its legal decisions.

Disputes and disagreements in charities can be particularly damaging to the public’s confidence in charities. The Charity Commission opened a regulatory compliance case into Christ Church college in January last year and has continued to engage with the charity over a number of issues connected to the dispute at the College. These have included the expenditure of charitable funds on legal expenses connected to the dispute. The Commission has also instructed the trustees to commission an independent governance review. The Commission continues to closely engage with the charity and will do so until the matter is resolved.

Oliver Dowden
Minister without Portfolio (Cabinet Office)
23rd Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies on children's rights and the covid-19 outbreak of the debate which took place at the Council of Europe on 22 June 2021.

During the COVID-19 outbreak, protecting and promoting the best interests of the child has been at the heart of the action this government has taken, and continues to take. The debate at the Council of Europe highlighted a number of areas impacted by COVID-19 relating to children’s rights, such as education, socio-economic inequality and vulnerable and disadvantaged children.

Throughout the COVID-19 outbreak the government has worked to prioritise vulnerable children. During the outbreak, we were one of few countries across the world to keep schools open for vulnerable children and children of critical workers throughout national restrictions, protecting children’s right to education. We also distributed over 1.3 million laptops and tablets to schools, trusts, local authorities and further education providers for disadvantaged children and young people as part of a £400 million government investment to support access to remote education and online social care services.

We know that the mental health and wellbeing of young people has been affected by the outbreak, and that being back in school and college plays a central role in promoting wellbeing for pupils. That is why we worked hard to ensure that schools were first to reopen in March 2021. We have also announced £17 million towards improving mental health and wellbeing support in schools and colleges, including £7 million additional funding for local authorities to deliver the Wellbeing for Education Recovery programme.

We have put £200 million into Summer Schools, giving secondary pupils access to enrichment activities and this year we are investing up to £220 million in our Holiday Activities and Food programme, which has now been expanded across England.

Children's social care services and early help services have also continued to support vulnerable children and young people and their families throughout the outbreak.

The government is now looking ahead to recovery. We must 'build back better' for vulnerable children and their families to ensure support is available for those that need it most, when they need it. As part of this, we have invested over £3 billion since June 2020 to support education recovery for children aged 2-19 in schools, colleges and early years settings. This will have a material impact in addressing lost learning and closing gaps that have emerged.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
2nd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, whether UK funding to the UN’s Access Coordination Unit is used to ensure access for humanitarian personnel and goods into Gaza from Egypt.

The UK remains deeply concerned about the restrictions on movement and access that affect Gaza. DFID is providing £1.3 million (2018-21) to support the UN’s Access Coordination Unit (ACU), which works with all relevant parties to ensure humanitarian access to Gaza for UN and NGO workers. The ACU works with the Egyptian authorities to facilitate access through the Rafah crossing.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
6th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what the timeframe is for the review of the Oxford-Cambridge Expressway.

We will provide an update on whether the project should continue in due course.

George Freeman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will make an assessment of the implications for her policies of the debate that took place at the Council of Europe on 28 September 2021 on socio-economic inequalities in Europe.

The UK is committed to the protection and promotion of social rights. The UK has ratified the 1961 European Social Charter (ESC), the European Code of Social Security and numerous other international social rights instruments. The UK is fully committed to all of the Council of Europe instruments it is Party to and engages constructively in work on socio-economic inequalities at the Council of Europe.

The UK Government is taking important steps to reduce inequalities and levelling up across the whole of the United Kingdom, particularly as we recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. We have launched a suite of employment support schemes, significant investments in skills, training and apprenticeships, and Universal Credit has played a crucial and effective role in protecting the most vulnerable.

The Department for Work and Pensions is continuously reviewing its policies on socio-economic inequalities to ensure that no one and no community is left behind.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
18th Aug 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department have taken steps to enable people who participated in the Novavax covid-19 vaccine trials to travel internationally; and what support his Department has provided to the European Medicines Agency for the registration of that vaccine.

The Government continues to make the case that anyone on a COVID-19 vaccine trial should be treated the same in terms of certification as someone who has received a deployed vaccine. Our Chief Medical Officer has written to all of his counterparts in the European Union and European Economic Community on this matter. Discussions are ongoing with other countries, including through groups such as the Group of Seven, the European Commission and the World Health Organisation to shape the approach taken around the world to sharing health status for travel.

The Vaccines Taskforce and the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) are working with Novavax to help ensure their COVID-19 vaccine is authorised as quickly as possible. The decision to license a vaccine is made by the MHRA.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
18th Aug 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recommendations his Department is making as to the use of Hyperbaric Oxygen therapy treatment in dealing with Long covid.

The Department is not currently making any recommendations regarding hyperbaric oxygen therapy treatment (HBOT) for long COVID due to a lack of scientific evidence to support its use.

There have been two long COVID research calls launched by the National Institute for Health Research and UK Research and Innovation, resulting in 19 funded projects. The calls specifically asked for projects investigating possible therapies for long COVID and a number of studies of this type have been funded. HBOT has not formed part of any application to either of these calls. Other ongoing calls are open and available for long COVID research applications and if a project on HBOT for long COVID was received, it would be considered.

The Department is aware of clinical trials currently taking place internationally, which are researching the use of HBOT for long COVID.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
21st Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department has issued guidance to GP practices encouraging a return to face to face working from 19 July 2021.

Face-to-face appointments have been available throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, and approximately half of all appointments in June 2021 were delivered in person. NHS England and NHS Improvement wrote to general practitioner practices on 19 July to set out that practices should offer a blend of face-to-face and remote appointments, with remote triage where possible. The letter is available at the following link:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/coronavirus/wp-content/uploads/sites/52/2020/03/B0783_Primary-Care-letter_190721-002.pdf

Patients’ input into the choice of consultation mode should be sought and practices should respect preferences for face-to-face care unless there are good clinical reasons to the contrary, for example the presence of COVID-19 symptoms.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
21st Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of collecting data on the (a) number of people who have contracted covid-19 after receiving two doses of a vaccine and (b) average length of stay for those double-vaccinated people who have been admitted to hospital.

Public Health England monitors the number of people who have tested positive for COVID-19 and whether they have received one or two doses of the vaccination. This data is used to calculate vaccine effectiveness estimates which are available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-vaccine-surveillance-report

NHS Digital collects data on the number of people who have contracted COVID-19, patients who have received one or two doses of a vaccine and hospital data that can be used to calculate average length of stay. These three datasets can be linked where possible to track patient outcomes for vaccinated people.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
21st Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what progress he has made in the introduction of mutually-recognised vaccine certificates within Europe.

The United Kingdom and European Union are aligned in the technical approach to COVID-19 status certification. We are actively engaging other states on a bilateral basis and multilaterally through organisations including the International Civil Aviation Organization and the World Health Organization to support this work. The certification app in France now allows scans the code from the NHS COVID Pass and work continues to set up similar arrangements elsewhere.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
4th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 20 May 2021 to Question 181, when that assessment is planned to be made.

We have no plans to make a specific assessment. Public bodies must comply with the Public Sector Equality Duty. This already requires them to consider how their policies affect people who are protected under the Equality Act 2010, including those with a disability.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
11th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of resolution 2373 on discrimination against persons dealing with chronic and long term illness passed at the Council of Europe on 21 April 2021; and whether the Government plans to take steps following the passing of that resolution.

We have not made a specific assessment.

We are committed to tackling discrimination. Public authorities, including the Department and all National Health Service providers, must comply with the Public Sector Equality Duty. This requires them to have due regard to the need to eliminate discrimination when carrying out their activities.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if she will make an assessment of the implications for her policies of the debate that took place at the Council of Europe on 30 September 2021 on migration pressures at the borders between Belarus and Latvia, Lithuania and Poland.

We remain concerned at Lukashenko's continued use of migrants and refugees to increase pressure on neighbouring states. This harmful, aggressive and exploitative behaviour must stop. We stand in support and solidarity with Lithuania, Latvia and Poland in dealing with this situation. The Foreign Secretary discussed the issue with her Baltic counterparts on 11 October.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if she will make an assessment of the implications for her policies of the debate that took place at the Council of Europe on 30 September 2021 on Afghanistan.

The Government has been clear that that the Taliban regime will be judged by its actions not its words. We agree with the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe that the situation requires a coordinated international approach and the Government has been working hard to achieve this.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if she will make an assessment of the implications for her policies of the debate that took place at the Council of Europe on 27 September 2021 on humanitarian consequences of the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan.

The UK Government welcomes the important and influential role that the UK delegation to the CoE Parliamentary Assembly (PACE) continues to play. We note the Assembly debate on 27 September, on the humanitarian consequences of last year's conflict. I have continued to engage with the Armenian and Azerbaijani Governments on many of the topics discussed during that debate and will continue to do so. This includes key topics such as the return of prisoners of war and the remains of the deceased, and the importance of a sustainable and peaceful settlement that has been negotiated under the auspices of the OSCE Minsk Group.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if she will make an assessment of the implications for her policies of the debate that took place at the Council of Europe on 30 September 2021 on the Western Balkans.

We welcome the role the Council of Europe plays in the Western Balkans. Euro-Atlantic integration is the sovereign choice of the governments and people of the countries of the Western Balkans. The UK works with the governments of the region and other partners to support internal reforms, in particular on the rule of law - including to tackle organised crime, illicit finance and corruption - and to promote reconciliation and good neighbourly relations.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
22nd Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what representations he has made to his Palestinian counterpart on the death of Palestinian journalist Nizar Banat.

We continue to call upon the Palestinian security forces and the Palestinian leadership to undertake necessary reform and to demonstrate their respect for Palestinians' human rights, including by delivering swift and transparent investigations into Nizar Banat's death and the policing of subsequent protests.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
23rd Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether he plans to make an assessment for the implications for his policies of the debate which took place at the Council of Europe on 21 June 2021 on whether politicians should be prosecuted for statements made in the exercise of their mandates.

The UK supports freedom of expression as both a human right in and of itself and as an essential element for the enjoyment of the full range of other human rights. We have a long history of promoting freedom of expression globally, including through our commitment to the European Convention on Human Rights. Freedom of expression is an essential quality of any functioning democracy; people must be allowed to discuss and debate issues freely, to challenge their governments, and to make informed decisions. HMG is committed to continuing championing these values, and recognises the crucial work of the Council of Europe and in particular the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) in this sphere, noting that the resolution and recommendations will go to the Committee of Ministers in due course for appropriate review.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
23rd Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment he has made of the aims of the Hungarian Government as the new chair of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe.

Hungary took over the Chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe on 21 May, taking over from Germany as the previous chair. Hungary set out its priorities for the Chairmanship on 19 May, including interreligious dialogue and technological challenges.

The UK is committed to freedom of religion or belief, and we hope to work with Hungary on interreligious dialogue to strengthen mutual respect, understanding and tolerance in Europe. The UK supports the Budapest Convention on Cybercrime, which will celebrate its 20th anniversary in November. We welcome Hungary's proposal to hold a conference of the member States' Ministers of Justice in Budapest in October to discuss justice in the digital age and tackling cybercrime.

We welcome Hungary's commitment to further promote and strengthen human rights, democratic values and the rule of law during their Chairmanship. The UK is committed to the Council of Europe, and it is important that the institution continues its focus on these core values. It is vital that member States uphold their obligations as members of the Council of Europe, and we expect that Hungary will continue Germany's strong lead on this.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
23rd Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether he plans to make an assessment of the implications for his policies of the elections in Albania of April 2021 following the observations made at the Council of Europe on 21 June 2021.

UK policy on Albania aims to help the country to become a strong, prosperous, mature democracy, better able to tackle the challenges it faces including the threat from Serious and Organised Crime. Our policy supports the wider objectives set out in the Government's Integrated Review of Security, Defence, Development and Foreign Policy published in March 2021. The UK continues to work closely with the international community, including the Council of Europe (CoE) and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (OSCE ODIHR), in support of these aims. We continue to encourage Albania to engage constructively to further improve the country's electoral practices in line with recommendations from the CoE and ODIHR.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
23rd Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether he plans to make an assessment of the implications for his policies of the elections in Bulgaria of April 2021 following the observations made at the Council of Europe on 21 June 2021.

The UK commends the people and Government of Bulgaria on the successful conduct of parliamentary elections on 4 April, despite the unprecedented challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic. As set out in the Government's Integrated Review of Security, Defence, Development and Foreign Policy published in March, the UK aims to support Bulgaria in defending common values such as democracy and counter shared threats including from Serious and Organised Crime. The UK continues to work closely with the international community, including the Council of Europe (CoE) and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (OSCE ODIHR), in support of these aims. HM Ambassador to Sofia met members of the OSCE election observation mission during their visit to Sofia earlier this year and will engage with the OSCE ODIHR and Bulgarian authorities concerning preparations for upcoming parliamentary elections on July 11, including on issues identified in the CoE's observations. We continue to encourage Bulgaria to engage constructively to further improve its electoral practices in line with recommendations from the CoE and OSCE ODIHR.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
23rd Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what plans he has to make an assessment for the implications for his policies of the debate that took place at the Council of Europe on 21 June 2021 on whether hon. Members should be prosecuted for statements made in exercise of their mandates.

The UK fully supports freedom of expression as a human right. We have a long history of promoting freedom of expression globally, including through our commitment to the European Convention on Human Rights. Freedom of expression is an essential quality of any functioning democracy. HMG is committed to continuing championing these values, and recognises the crucial work of the Council of Europe and in particular the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) in this sphere, noting that the resolution and recommendations will go to the Committee of Ministers in due course for appropriate review.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
4th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent assessment he has made of the role of the political leadership of Hamas in its military activities.

The UK welcomed the announcement of a ceasefire in Israel and Gaza on 20 May, which is an important step to ending the cycle of violence and loss of civilian life. The UK unequivocally condemns the firing of rockets at Jerusalem and locations within Israel. We strongly condemn these acts of terrorism from Hamas and other terrorist groups. The UK retains a policy of no contact with Hamas in its entirety.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
11th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of resolution 2371 on the urgent need for electoral reform in Belarus passed at the Council of Europe on 21 April 2021; and whether the Government plans to take steps following the passing of that resolution.

The UK Government welcomes the important work that Lord Blencathra has undertaken as a Rapporteur for the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, on the need for widespread and achievable electoral reform in Belarus. For too long the Belarusian regime has deprived its people of their democratic and political rights. Since last year's fraudulent Presidential elections, the UK Government has been at the forefront of international efforts to hold the Belarusian authorities to account, including through invoking the OSCE Moscow Mechanism. The UK and our partners have repeatedly called on the Belarusian authorities to implement all of the recommendations in Professor Benedek's subsequent report into electoral fraud and human rights violations. This includes the holding of new Presidential elections that meet international standards and are subject to unhindered monitoring by credible independent observers, including the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR). The UK Government continues to urge the Belarusian authorities to support the calls for urgent electoral and democratic reform and the growth of civil society, to ensure the rightful democratic aspirations of its people are met.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
11th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of the speech made by the President of Moldova at the Council of Europe in April 2021; and whether the Government plans to take steps following that speech.

The UK welcomes President Sandu's focus in her 19 April speech on the importance of political, economic and judicial reforms to Moldova's future stability and prosperity. I was pleased to have the opportunity to discuss these issues with President Sandu and others during my recent visit to Moldova. During my visit, I underlined the UK's continued support for efforts to combat corruption, and to develop a professional, independent, impartial and transparent judiciary, in line with international rules and norms. This included the announcement of a new UK project, which will provide support to the Presidential Administration on developing anti-corruption and judicial reform strategies and initiatives. The UK's work in this area is well-aligned with the Council of Europe Action Plan for Moldova.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
11th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of the speech made by the German Minister, Michael Roth, at the Council of Europe on 22 April 2021 on the accession of the EU to the European Convention on Human Rights.

I welcome Minister Roth's address to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe on 22 April, and wish to thank him for the German Chairmanship's efforts and leadership during this particularly difficult time. The UK advocates strongly for the Council of Europe to remain focussed on the core tasks of promoting democracy, human rights, and the rule of law; we will continue to work with incoming Chairmanships on this important task.

We welcome the intention of EU accession to the ECHR to strengthen and enhance human rights protections in Europe, whilst protecting the integrity of the Council of Europe and the ability of the European Court of Human Rights to operate. The Court is an essential part of the system for protecting human rights across Europe. We will continue to engage proactively in negotiations with these principles in mind.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
11th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of resolution 2369 on the strategic priorities of the Council of Europe passed on 20 April 2021; and whether the Government plans to take steps following the passing of that resolution.

The Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly's strategic reflection is a welcome and important one. The Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe is considering the strategic direction of the Council of Europe following the Secretary General's report. I will represent the UK at the Council of Europe Ministerial on 21 May, which will be an opportunity for the Committee of Ministers to determine the medium term direction of the institution. The Assembly's views will of course be included in these considerations. The Assembly plays a vital role as the parliamentary and consultative arm of the Council of Europe, and the UK is proud to contribute a committed and active delegation to this work.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
11th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 8 March 2021 to Question 162544 on Occupied Territories: Humanitarian Situation, if he will take diplomatic steps to seek a vote on Item 7 at sessions of the United Nations Human Rights Council.

The UK has stood up for Israel when it faces bias and unreasonable criticism, and has been clear that the existence of a dedicated agenda item in the Human Rights Council ('Item 7') is damaging and does little to advance dialogue, stability or mutual understanding. As such, at the 40th session of the Human Rights Council in March 2019 we moved to voting against all resolutions under Item 7. However, the UN and its member states have every right to address issues of concern in a measured, balanced and proportionate way. We will continue to support scrutiny of Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories in the Human Rights Council, so long as it is justified, proportionate, and not proposed under Item 7.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
3rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what the UK Government’s policy is in regard to permanent Item 7 at the United Nations Human Rights Council.

The UK has stood up for Israel when it faces bias and unreasonable criticism, and has been clear that the existence of a dedicated agenda item ('Item 7') damages the prospect for a two-state solution and does little to advance dialogue, stability or mutual understanding. As such, at the 40th session of the Human Rights Council in March 2019 we moved to voting against all resolutions under Item 7. However, the UN and its member states have every right to address issues of concern in a measured, balanced and proportionate way. We will continue to support scrutiny of Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories in the Human Rights Council, so long as it is justified, proportionate, and not proposed under Item 7.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
3rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what position the Government plans to take in the vote in the UN Human Right Council in relation to the Accountability resolution under Item 2 at the current UNHRC session.

The UK has stood up for Israel when it faces bias and unreasonable criticism, and has been clear that the existence of a dedicated agenda item ('Item 7') damages the prospect for a two-state solution and does little to advance dialogue, stability or mutual understanding. As such, at the 40th session of the Human Rights Council in March 2019 we moved to voting against all resolutions under Item 7. However, the UN and its member states have every right to address issues of concern in a measured, balanced and proportionate way. We will continue to support scrutiny of Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories in the Human Rights Council, so long as it is justified, proportionate, and not proposed under Item 7.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
8th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 30 November 2020 to Question 120022 on Palestinians: Radicalism, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies in the event that the Palestinian Authority does not (a) remove material allegedly inciting violence against Israel and Jews from the school curriculum and (b) change the names of official Palestinian Authority schools reportedly named after terrorists.

The UK is concerned about allegations of incitement in Palestinian Authority (PA) textbooks. The UK does not fund textbooks in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. The PA is in the process of revising its textbooks and we understand that it has already updated Grades 1-6 and hopes to update the remaining textbooks as soon as possible.

An independent review of the content in Palestinian textbooks led by our European partners is currently underway. The final report is due in the near future and we will study its findings carefully before deciding any next steps. We have also raised our concerns about school naming at senior levels within the Palestinian Authority and will continue to do so.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
8th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 30 November 2020 to Question 120023 on Palestinians: Radicalism, what recent assessment he has made of the (a) effectiveness of UK Government representations to the Palestinian Authority on that matter and (b) effect of the Palestinian Authority's practice of paying salaries to prisoners convicted of terrorist offences on the prospects for a peaceful resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

We are clear that the prisoner payments system should be reformed and is one among many hurdles in the way of a peaceful resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The UK has made frequent representations to the Palestinian Authority (PA) on the matter, which have helped establish it as a priority of the PA to address. Coordination between the parties, suspended in light of Israel's threat to annex parts of the West Bank illegally, has now resumed. We hope that the parties will soon again be resolving the problems between them.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
24th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 23 November 2020 to Question 117220 on Palestinians: Radicalism, what representations he has made to the Palestinian Authority on (a) the content of textbooks in the new Palestinian Authority school curriculum which allegedly incites violence against Israel and Jews and (b) the reported naming of official Palestinian Authority schools after people convicted of terrorism offences.

The UK is concerned about allegations of incitement in Palestinian Authority (PA) textbooks. The UK does not fund textbooks in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. UK aid to the PA helps to ensure it can deliver essential services, including by the contributing to the salaries of carefully vetted education and healthcare professionals in the West Bank.

We regularly raise our concerns about allegations of incitement in Palestinian textbooks and school naming at senior levels within the PA and will continue to do so.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
24th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, pursuant to the answer of 23 November 2020 to Question 117220 on Palestinians: Radicalism, what recent assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of the Palestinian Authority's practice of paying salaries to prisoners convicted of terrorist offences.

No UK aid is used for payments to prisoners or their families. The UK has robust controls against fraud and the diversion of aid to ensure UK aid reaches the intended beneficiaries.

We are clear that the prisoner payments system should be reformed so that it is needs based, transparent and affordable. The UK has and continues to raise the need for reform at the highest levels of the Palestinian Authority, including when the Foreign Secretary visited the Occupied Palestinian Territories in August.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
18th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with the Palestinian Authority on the glorification of martyrdom among some sections of Palestinian society.

Our partnership with the Palestinian Authority includes a commitment from the Palestinian leadership to adhere to the principle of non-violence and to tackle any language and actions that could incite violence or hatred. We have a regular dialogue with the Palestinian Authority in which we reiterate the need for both sides to prepare their populations for peaceful coexistence, including by promoting a more positive portrayal of each other. We continue to urge the Israeli and Palestinian leadership to avoid engaging in, or encouraging, any type of action and language that makes it more difficult to achieve a culture of peaceful coexistence and a negotiated solution to the conflict.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
18th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with his international counterparts on the Palestinian Authority’s practice of paying salaries to prisoners convicted of terrorist offences.

We have raised the need for reform at the highest levels of the Palestinian Authority, including when the Foreign Secretary visited the Occupied Palestinian Territories in August 2020.

No UK aid is used for payments to prisoners or their families. The UK has robust controls against fraud and the diversion of aid to ensure UK aid reaches the intended beneficiaries.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
24th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what assessment he has made of the effect of Fatah’s recent celebrations marking 55 years since their first terrorist attack against Israel on the prospects of securing a peaceful two-state solution.

The UK strongly condemns all acts of terrorism and incitement to violence, which are a significant barrier to achieving a negotiated solution. There can be no justification for such acts of violence. Every Israeli and Palestinian has the right to live in peace and security. We consistently call for an immediate end to all actions that act as obstacles to peace and undermine the viability of the two-state solution.

23rd Jun 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policy on introducing measures to help the recovery from the covid-19 outbreak of the Council of Europe debate on 22 June 2021.

The Government takes note of the debate on overcoming the socio-economic crisis sparked by the Covid-19 pandemic and notes that the resolution and recommendations will go to the Committee of Ministers in due course.

The Government has acted to support the economy on a scale unmatched in recent history, protecting jobs and livelihoods and boosting public services.

Because of our economic plan, our recovery will be faster, with the Office for Budget Responsibility now expecting the economy to reach its pre-Covid size two quarters earlier and unemployment to peak at a rate 1 percentage point lower than in its November forecast.

The policy support announced by the Government has led to a significant but necessary increase in borrowing and debt. But it is clear that the costs of inaction would have been far higher.

Strong public finances are a fundamental part of a strong economy and a strong Union. The certainty that comes from ensuring the public finances are on a sustainable path will support economic stability across the UK. Measures announced at Budget 2021 bring debt under control over the medium term, through a fair and progressive package.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
11th May 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of resolution 2370, entitled fighting fiscal injustice: the work of the OECD on taxation of the digital economy, passed at the Council of Europe on 20 April 2021; and whether the Government plans to take steps following the passing of that resolution.

The Government notes the resolution and welcomes the Council’s support for the work of the OECD’s Inclusive Framework on Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS).

The Government has been proactive in pressing for an international solution to the tax challenges posed by digitisation of the economy for a number of years.

It is a Government priority to reach a comprehensive global solution this year which includes outputs on both OECD Pillars: on both reallocation of taxing rights and minimum taxation.

Reaching agreement on this would be a major multilateral achievement that introduces stability into the international tax landscape.

20th Jul 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, pursuant to the Answer of 13 July 2020 to Question 71019 on Loans: Lebanon, if he will make representations to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on the potential misuse of IMF loan packages in Lebanon by Hezbollah.

HMT officials are in discussion with the IMF, through the UK’s delegation at the IMF, on the situation in Lebanon and options for IMF economic support. Any new programme needs to be agreed with a new Government, who will succeed the current caretaker arrangement, to ensure that all commitments can be delivered and implemented. No new programme is able to be proposed at this interim stage, so a formal view on the adequacy of safeguards is not possible.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
8th Jul 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, pursuant to the Answer of 7 July 2020 to Question 68305 on Loans: Lebanon, what risks of misuse the International Monetary Fund has identified for loan packages to Lebanon; and what plans he has for conditions on lending relating to Hezbollah in Lebanon.

The IMF must establish adequate safeguards for use of its resources, consulting and updating the Board of Directors, as its policy develops. Safeguards can include for example: strengthening auditing or procurement rules, and wider Central Bank reform. The UK uses its seat on the IMF Board, in conjunction with other board members, to help ensure that programme conditions are consistent with the IMF’s mandate.

There have not been formal discussions at the IMF board on Lebanon, though the IMF’s spokesman has said recently that “there is significant scope to strengthen the transparency and accountability of economic policies, and public sector entities.”

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
2nd Jul 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps he has taken to advocate that any International Monetary Fund loan package to Lebanon includes conditions on political restructuring to restrict Hezbollah’s state capture abilities and prevent its control of government spending.

For all IMF programmes, the UK uses its seat at the IMF’s Board to engage in the process of programme design and stipulation of conditions on lending. We utilise the expertise of our embassy network to ensure that programme conditions reflect the domestic political situation while remaining consistent with the IMF’s mandate.

IMF programmes in general are subject to strict policies of oversight and monitoring, underpinned by well-established mechanisms.

Under its Articles of Agreement, the IMF must establish adequate safeguards for the use of its resources. IMF lending requires safeguards covering key areas of governance and control to help mitigate the risks of misuse of Fund resources and misreporting of data. These safeguards may include limits on how much can be borrowed, conditions on the loans, measures to deal with misreporting or arrears, and safeguard assessments of central banks. The UK also uses its seat at the Board to help shape these policies and ensure that they are applied across all the IMF’s lending arrangements.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if she will make an assessment of the implications for her policies of the debate that took place at the Council of Europe on 30 September 2021 on the Convention on Cybercrime.

The Government strongly supports the Council of Europe Convention on Cybercrime as the leading international treaty on cybercrime. We also welcome the work of the Council of Europe to develop the Second Additional Protocol to the Convention, to ensure that the Convention remains effective if the face of changing threats in cyberspace, and that it continues to provide an effective legal basis for international cooperation to tackle these threats.

Damian Hinds
Minister of State (Home Office) (Security)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if she will make an assessment of the implications for her policies of the debate on so-called honour crimes at the Council of Europe on 28 September 2021.

So called 'honour’-based abuse (HBA) is a terrible form of abuse, and we are clear that we will not allow political or cultural sensitivities to get in the way of tackling it. No-one should suffer because of who they are or what community they are born into.

Our focus remains on preventing these crimes from happening, supporting and protecting survivors and those at risk, and bringing perpetrators to justice. The Home Office is providing up to £150,000 to the charity Karma Nirvana this year to run its national HBA helpline; between April and September 2021 the helpline provided assistance to 1,212 users of the service. The joint Home Office/Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office Forced Marriage Unit has provided advice and support for thousands of victims of forced marriage and delivers regular training to police officers and social workers.

The Government’s recent Tackling Violence Against Women and Girls Strategy set out a number of further actions to tackle HBA, including that the Home Office will seek out community advocates who can talk to community audiences to explain why HBA practices are wrong, that the College of Policing will produce advice for police officers to advise both first responders and investigators on how to deal with cases of HBA, and that the Department for Health and Social Care will work to criminalise ‘virginity testing’ to send a clear message that this practice is wholly unacceptable in our society.

We welcome the insights communicated in the debate at the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe last month. The Government pays close attention to the experiences of our international partners in tackling HBA and works closely with them in tackling it. For example, in 2018 the Government signed a protocol on female genital mutilation (FGM) with the United States to increase collaboration and the sharing of intelligence between the two countries. This enabled the UK and the United States to run Operation Limelight (a joint operation between border staff and the police which seeks to raise awareness of FGM and forced marriage at the border in order to safeguard potential victims) concurrently at several ports in the two countries.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
8th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, for what reasons the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine is not proscribed as a terrorist organisation.

The Government does not routinely comment on intelligence matters, including whether an organisation is or is not under consideration for proscription.

24th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, if he will make an assessment of the implications for his Department's policies on tackling community inequalities of the debate which took place at the Council of Europe on 24 June 2021 on a European policy on diasporas.

The UK is committed to creating a fair society in which all people are valued and able to participate fully and realise their own potential. We have made great strides to become a fairer and more tolerant society, but we must acknowledge that there is so much more to do in eradicating prejudice and creating opportunity. We supported the Council of Europe’s Parliamentary Assembly debate on a European policy on diasporas on 24 June, and note that the resolution and recommendations will go to the Committee of Ministers in due course for appropriate review. We will continue to engage with international institutions as this work progresses.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
11th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of resolution 2368 on preserving national minorities in Europe passed at the Council of Europe on 19 April 2021; and whether the Government plans to take steps following the passing of that resolution.

We welcome the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe’s important work in this area. The UK Government continues to take its responsibilities under the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities very seriously and does not underestimate the importance and challenge of preserving national minorities.

The UK is committed to creating a fair society in which all people are valued and able to participate fully and realise their own potential. In that respect, we call on all member States who have not done so, to ratify the Framework Convention for National Minorities in a timely manner, as a valuable tool for protecting the rights of minorities across Europe.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
29th Sep 2020
To ask the Leader of the House, if he will make time for an annual debate in Government time on the role of the Council of Europe.

My Hon Friend will appreciate that there are a number of competing demands for time in the House of Commons chamber. This includes ensuring adequate time for scrutiny of the government's legislative programme and meeting the standing order requirements to provide opposition and backbench time. While I am not in a position to commit to an annual debate on the Council of Europe, this is the type of subject matter for debate that my Hon Friend may wish to take up with the Backbench Business Committee.

Jacob Rees-Mogg
Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons