(1 week ago)Read Full debate
The right hon. Gentleman is just wrong. Of course one can want to preserve this deal but be ambitious and, if it is possible, bring the United States and Tehran into a broader rapprochement, dealing not just with the nuclear issue but with the wider destabilising activities. That is the policy that we are pursuing and we are doing so with the US and also, crucially, with our EU partners. There seems to be a bit of amnesia on the Opposition Benches. It was President Macron who last year proposed a very similar approach. Just as we are willing to support that in relation to proposals initiated in Washington, we supported it in relation to Macron. We want to keep the transatlantic alliance together and we want to bring a broader rapprochement between the US and Iran that can lead to a better path for the Iranian people.
It is not clear that there is, as of now. However, there is scope, if Iran is willing—the E3 statement backed this up, but we come back to that basic dynamic and that basic choice—to see some sort of broader deal that would address not just the nuclear front but the wider destabilising activities. If we want a longer-term resolution to the challenge that Iran faces which brings in the United States and all the relevant partners in the region, it is absolutely right that we hold to that ambition and pursue it where we can.
(1 week, 1 day ago)Read Full debate
My hon. Friend is absolutely right. Our hearts go out to anyone who has come into this new year and has to face up to the loss of life of a close friend or member of their family. We are doing everything that we can, working with our international partners, to be able to repatriate the victims so that the families can have that solace of paying their last respects. We are also making sure that we work more generally to get an independent investigation with credibility, transparency and an international component so that those families get the answers to the questions that they must be going over in their heads over and over again.
I thank my hon. Friend, but the reality is that this not about a lack of clarity around the law. Targeting a civilian airliner is clearly unlawful. There is no absence or lack of legal basis for making that point; the question is compliance. The first thing we need, which is having Iran acknowledge responsibility for this, is to get the full details—the full facts—of how it could have happened. If it is being suggested that it is a mistake, we need to know how a mistake like that could have happened and then learn the appropriate lessons from it. That is what we are absolutely committed to.
(3 months, 1 week ago)Read Full debate
We make clear our views on all these issues right across the range, even when we disagree, to all our partners, as I have made clear in relation to Turkey. The same applies with all our NATO allies. The point now is to bring our allies back together and see a bit more unity of purpose in dealing with the terrible conflict in Syria, the overarching strategic threat that we all face from Daesh and alleviation of the humanitarian crisis that we all agree is utterly deplorable. It needs to be alleviated both for the individuals affected in the region and for the knock-on effects that it will have on the region and indeed Europe.
I thank my hon. Friend. He is right to raise that concern about foreign fighters. We have made it clear to our US partners, and I have made it clear to the Foreign Minister of Turkey. The situation on the ground is fluid to say the least, but we have to make sure that the Turkish intervention is brought to an end as quickly as possible to avoid precisely the eventuality that he describes.
(3 months, 3 weeks ago)Read Full debate
I thank the hon. Lady for the careful and measured way in which she asked that question. Our overarching effort now is to convey the message from the UK, but also from the international community, that the one country, two systems model is respected. It has implications for BNOs, and it has implications for autonomy and the right to peaceful protest in Hong Kong. They are all part of the same package. I am not going to start getting into what will happen if that package is ripped up on the other side, but I do think that—particularly given the concerns raised by the hon. Member for Bishop Auckland (Helen Goodman) about the question of troop movements and whether there might be a major intervention from Beijing—we need to be very clear about the fact that that would put at risk the model that China itself has advocated.
My hon. Friend is, I think, right to say that China is so far respecting the one country, two systems model, and for the large part is trying to respect—or seeking to respect, or at least talking about respecting—the degree to which it is reflected in the joint declaration. I think that as long as we are in that position, it would be wrong for us to unpick one element of the package, namely the status of BNOs. Of course, as was mentioned by the hon. Member for Darlington (Jenny Chapman), if it is all reviewed on the side of China, we would obviously want to think again, but I think that for the moment the right thing to do is convey to the Chinese Government and the Administration in Hong Kong why it is in the interests of all sides to respect the one country, two systems model.
(3 months, 4 weeks ago)Read Full debate
The hon. Gentleman makes some interesting points, and I accept some of his concerns. The international efforts post the G7 summit with President Trump and President Macron, at which my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister is at the forefront, to make sure that rather than an EU or US effort we have a broad, international effort, are the way to focus the minds of the hardliners in Tehran.
It is difficult to assess. Ultimately we have to judge Iran by its behaviour, and its latest behaviour has been unacceptable and is deeply worrying. That is why the crucial thing, while creating the space for de-escalation and political dialogue, is to be clear that Iran cannot continue as it has, especially with the kind of attacks that we saw on the Aramco facilities.
(4 months, 2 weeks ago)Read Full debate
This is something we are now discussing more and more with our international partners in all parts of the world. It is not just a European issue; transatlantically there are concerns, too. We have raised the issue, to which the hon. Gentleman refers, of a disproportionate response. We also recognise that there has been violence. The answer and the solution is to reduce tensions and to respect the lawful and peaceful right of protest of the people of Hong Kong, but also to have moves and stepping stones towards the dialogue that will actually resolve the issue.
My hon. Friend is very knowledgeable in this area and I respect the fact that he has huge expertise. It is not clear, in truth, what the position in Beijing is. Actually, if we look at all its public statements, we see that it sticks and adheres to the position of one country, two systems. That provides the model that can resolve this situation, but we need to have respect for the lawful right of protest. We need to have stepping stones to build confidence towards a track of political dialogue. That is the route through the current situation and to avoid it escalating any further.
(1 year, 11 months ago)Read Full debate
The national planning policy framework makes it very clear that building on the green belt must be the last resort. Well disposed as I am towards the hon. Gentleman, he will not tempt me to start commenting on individual plans or planning applications, but I can tell him, in relation to his own local authority, that we did not have a bid for the homes infrastructure fund and we want the bids to be locally driven. Then we will look on them as sympathetically as possible—in accordance, obviously, with a set of criteria—to maximise the output.
I listened to my hon. Friend’s passionate, tenacious and articulate speech on behalf of the Isle of Wight. I am happy to look again at whether we can provide any support in relation to the bidding process, but we are in a Catch-22 because we will be criticised for imposing ideas on local communities—particularly the smaller ones—if we do not allow bids to be community-driven and led. However, let us take that forward and see whether we can work together.
I cannot tell my hon. Friend the Member for Grantham and Stamford (Nick Boles) how fantastic it was to see him in the Chamber, back in fine fettle, setting the housing market in context. As usual, he is a one man walking ideas factory, offering ideas that I am already in part looking at trying to take forward. He made a powerful case for the national mission to build more homes and for trying, as we—I emphasise this—carry communities with us, to think in radical terms to get this job done.
The hon. Member for Coventry South (Mr Cunningham) made some important points about the green belt. My right hon. Friend the Member for Arundel and South Downs (Nick Herbert) brought his experience directly from a local public inquiry to inform the debate at the national level. He also raised the issue of equality of arms between developers and local communities, an important point well made.