Orkney and Shetland MP and Liberal Democrat spokesperson on Foreign Affairs, Alistair Carmichae, has today called on the Foreign Secretary to come to Parliament in light of the deadline for China’s new national security law on Tuesday. Mr Carmichael highlighted that lack of clarity on government measures to support Hong Kong and British Nationals (Overseas) passport holders.
Speaking in the House, Mr Carmichael said:
“The eyes of the world next week will turn again towards Hong Kong as the June 30th deadline in relation to China’s new security law will expire. It would demonstrate a seriousness of intent on the part of the government if the Foreign Secretary would take the opportunity on Monday to give us a statement outlining exactly what the government it speaks about a route map to citizenship for BNO passport holders. Will he also give us an assurance that if this does actually come to pass, that the Foreign Secretary will make a statement the next day?”
Responding, the Leader of the House, Jacob Rees Mogg MP said:
“The Foreign Secretary will be in the House next Tuesday for FCO questions. I can reiterate what the government has said so far that our approach to China remains rooted in our values and our interests, which particularly means upholding the Joint Declaration which China signed with us in good faith to protect the liberties of Hong Kong for 50 years from 1997 and that if the Chinese government does not honour that commitment then there is a route map to support British Nationals Overseas.
“Of course more details will be brought forward depending on if China implements its law or not, but the British government strongly urges the Chinese government to respect in good faith the Joint Declaration.”
Reacting after the exchange, Mr Carmichael said:
“We are reaching a crunch point for Hong Kong. The Foreign Secretary must come to Parliament next week to respond to Beijing’s actions and outline our next steps, and I am disappointed that the Leader of the House would not confirm this.
“A swift response means having legislation ready for debate and implementation. This is exactly why I have been calling on the government to take up the cross-party Hong Kong Bill so that there is no delay in our support for Hong Kong.”