Health Partnership Schemes: Funding

Debate between Baroness Warwick of Undercliffe and Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Monday 7th June 2021

(1 year ago)

Lords Chamber
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Baroness Warwick of Undercliffe Portrait Baroness Warwick of Undercliffe (Lab) [V]
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My Lords, the Minister has said that he recognises the important role UK clinicians can play in supporting health systems in low-income countries. Does he also recognise how much UK clinicians learn from their experience of working in partnership with others and the benefits this brings to the NHS? They are also excellent ambassadors for global Britain.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon Portrait Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon (Con)
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My Lords, I concur with the noble Baroness’s view; indeed, I have friends and family who have shared such experiences with me. We will continue to work with the profession to see how best, in difficult situations, we can leverage expertise both ways.

Hong Kong: Pro-Democracy Campaigners

Debate between Baroness Warwick of Undercliffe and Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Monday 19th April 2021

(1 year, 2 months ago)

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Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon Portrait Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon (Con)
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My Lords, I agree totally with the noble Lord on the issue of values. That is why, as I am sure he would acknowledge, we have led in statements and in consolidating and increasing support at the Human Rights Council. It is something I have personally been engaged in and will continue to campaign for and make note of. He raised the cases of various individuals. Speaking personally, I saw the final interview Jimmy Lai gave just before his arrest, and it is quite chilling to see the conduct that happened thereafter to someone who stood up for media freedom. What has he been arrested for? It is for illegal assembly. We need to put this into context as well.

Baroness Warwick of Undercliffe Portrait Baroness Warwick of Undercliffe (Lab) [V]
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My Lords, I reinforce the points made by my noble friend Lady Kennedy of The Shaws on Magnitsky sanctions. The Chinese Government recently criticised the UK for granting asylum to the Hong Kong pro-democracy activist Nathan Law. Does the Minister agree that a fitting way to rebut Beijing’s growing crackdown in Hong Kong would be for the Government to allow young Hong Kongers, who do not qualify for the BNO visa, to come to the UK to study and work?

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon Portrait Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon (Con)
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My Lords, on the noble Baroness’s first point on asylum, as I said, I am proud that the United Kingdom continues to be a sanctuary for those seeking protection from persecution internationally, as it has been over the years. On her broader point, the BNO scheme has been introduced; it is working well. There are no other plans, but we continue to press the Hong Kong authorities to restore democratic rights and the right to protest within Hong Kong.

Hong Kong: National Security Law

Debate between Baroness Warwick of Undercliffe and Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Thursday 7th January 2021

(1 year, 5 months ago)

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Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon Portrait Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon (Con) [V]
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My Lords, my right honourable friend the Foreign Secretary has been at the forefront of strengthening international alliances and action in this respect. I have already alluded to the progress we have made. The noble Baroness is right to raise the important issue of other representation within the context of human rights. I note in particular that the human rights commissioner recently put out a statement on the arrests. We continue to implore China to allow access for the human rights commissioner to China, to ensure that human rights can be respected and the world can see what is being done currently on many minorities within China.

Baroness Warwick of Undercliffe Portrait Baroness Warwick of Undercliffe (Lab)
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My Lords, given the Minister’s response to the noble Lord, Lord Alton, will the Government consider lodging a case against China in the International Court of Justice on the grounds that its actions in Hong Kong constitute a violation of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties?

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon Portrait Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon (Con) [V]
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As the noble Baroness may know, an issue at the International Court of Justice requires both parties to consent. It would not, to my mind, be an option that we should pursue because it is highly unlikely that China would consent to such actions.

Hong Kong: Legislative Council

Debate between Baroness Warwick of Undercliffe and Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Thursday 12th November 2020

(1 year, 7 months ago)

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Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon Portrait Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon (Con)
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My Lords, the noble Lord raises Article 3, and that is exactly what we are pressing: that China must uphold its international obligations. I have already covered the point on the ICJ; we will continue to work on a multilateral basis and bilaterally in raising this issue with Chinese authorities and the Hong Kong special administrative region as well.

Baroness Warwick of Undercliffe Portrait Baroness Warwick of Undercliffe (Lab)
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My Lords, what assessment has the Minister made of the likely impact that Beijing’s purging of pro-democracy voices in the legislature will have on the rule of law in Hong Kong? Does he share my concern about the threat to the continued independence of the judiciary, and do the Government have anything specific in mind to seek to avoid that?

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon Portrait Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon (Con)
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My Lords, I totally concur with the noble Baroness. There has been an increasing decline, and this is the second major shift this year with the introduction of the national security law and the suspension of democratically elected legislators. She raises an important point about the independence of the judiciary. Again, the national security law raises real concerns, as under it the Chief Executive now has the right to appoint judges as well. We will continue to raise that issue and our concern with China directly.

Hong Kong National Security Legislation

Debate between Baroness Warwick of Undercliffe and Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Thursday 2nd July 2020

(1 year, 12 months ago)

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Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon Portrait Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
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My Lords, I agree with the noble and gallant Lord about the importance of this. I am sure I speak for all noble Lords in paying tribute to those who have served our country and fought for it so bravely. Since the last time we discussed this matter, I have asked for a specific update from the Home Office; I will write to him specifically on the 64 corps members he has mentioned. On the wider issue of prioritisation, as I said earlier, BNO status is granted to all those who qualify, which is 2.9 million, irrespective of their status—the issue of salaries was raised previously—or what they may do. This is open to everyone, and that process will be announced in detail by my right honourable friend the Home Secretary.

Baroness Warwick of Undercliffe Portrait Baroness Warwick of Undercliffe (Lab) [V]
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My Lords, the Statement is clear that it will not be possible for the UK alone to persuade the Chinese Government to respect their international commitments—a much broader coalition is needed. The Minister said something about the next steps for the work being done with the UN, the EU and other partners to achieve co-ordinated pressure on China: will he say something more about the timeframe? The Statement emphasises that a constructive relationship with China remains essential. China is the UK’s third most important collaborative research partner; it ranks ninth as a destination for UK students studying full degrees abroad; and a quarter of our international students are from China. Does the Minister agree that in standing up, as we are and we must, for the freedoms of Hong Kong, we must take care also that we do not stoke Sinophobia in the UK?

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon Portrait Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
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I totally agree with the noble Baroness’s concern. It is important that we value the incredible contribution of all our communities to the United Kingdom’s progress and prosperity, and the British Chinese community is reflective of that ambition and contribution. On the issue of further work within the international arena, as I already alluded to, we are exploring what more can be done. We have achieved a great deal in the time. The noble Lord, Lord Collins, talked about a strategy. I believe, having looked at this brief very closely, that, domestically and internationally, we have had a strategy in place, and we will continue to apply that pressure. The diplomatic channel remains open with China and we will continue to work with China bilaterally to raise these issues as well.

China

Debate between Baroness Warwick of Undercliffe and Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Monday 29th June 2020

(2 years ago)

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Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon Portrait Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
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My Lords, I agree with the noble and gallant Lord. Our position on UNCLOS and the South China Sea, working with other allies in the region, is very clear. We call on China to respect international law in this respect.

Baroness Warwick of Undercliffe Portrait Baroness Warwick of Undercliffe (Lab) [V]
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My Lords, the approval by China’s National People’s Congress of the new national security laws for Hong Kong was immediately followed by worldwide condemnation. However, the Guardian reported that the National People’s Congress standing committee is currently holding a three-day deliberation and the law is expected to pass tomorrow. So China is clearly not standing down. Given the Prime Minister’s offer on 3 June that any Hong Kong citizen eligible to apply for a British National Overseas passport would have the right to live and work in the UK—although that has not been fully corroborated by our Foreign Secretary—how many might qualify for visas and how many will be allowed to claim full citizenship?

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon Portrait Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
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My Lords, the noble Baroness is quite right. The standing committee is currently debating this very issue and the decision is awaited. On BNOs, the Prime Minister has been very clear. I am sure that the noble Baroness also saw his article at the beginning of this month, where he made it clear that anyone eligible for BNO status—which is the larger number of more than 2.9 million people—would qualify for citizenship.