Orkney and Shetland MP, Alistair Carmichael, has condemned the Government’s rejection of amendments to the Trade Bill that would have prevented the UK making trade deals with countries that commit genocide. Despite a sizeable rebellion the Government forced down the amendment on a 319 to 308 vote.
Mr Carmichael also noted the United States’ recognition today of the genocide of the Uighur people in China and called on the Government to take action to follow suit.
Mr Carmichael said:
“The Government’s rejection of limits on its ability to make trade deals with countries committing genocide is an embarrassment. If we cannot hold ourselves to the meagre standard of not giving preferential trade access to those seeking to remove minority peoples and cultures then it really begs the question of what “Global Britain” was ever supposed to mean.”
“It is unfortunate that today, as with on so many other issues, the Government is refusing to put substance behind its rhetoric on our country’s role in the world. We need to be a leader for internationalist liberal values on the world stage and we can only do that if we back these principles in our trading relationships as well. If the Government believes that today’s vote is the end of the matter then they will be in for a surprise.”
Reacting to Mike Pompeo, US Secretary of State’s determination that China is committing a genocide against the Uighur people, Mr Carmichael added:
“We have just heard from across the Atlantic that the United States has declared the Chinese government’s actions in Xinjiang to constitute a genocide. This, surely, should be the moment for a change in our policy – the Government must recognise the genocide as well. If even the Trump administration can call out genocide then there is no excuse for us to stand idly by.”