Live Foreign and Commonwealth Office Questions House of Commons

Live Foreign and Commonwealth Office Questions

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press and police. Do join me at 11pm for a round-up in both houses of


Parliament. First, questions to the Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson and


his team of Ministers. Order, order. Questions to the Secretary of State


for foreign and affairs. Question one, Mr Speaker. Happy New


Year to you. The humanitarian situation in Yemen is one of the


most serious crises in the world, and UNESCO says there are 19 million


people in need of help in that country. The UK is providing


support. We are spending over ?100 million to provide assistance. We


all agree that a political solution is the best way to end this


conflict. I met with foreign Ministers from Saudi Arabia, Amman,


the United Arab Emirates and the United States on eight under


December, in Riyadh, as long the macro well as the UN envoy, and I


hope to bring all parties back to the table. The humanitarian


situation in Yemen is deteriorating, and the UN estimates that 80% of the


population in Yemen is in need of humanitarian aid. Around 22 million


people. According to the governance's own figures, British


aid has reached less than 5% of those people. Whilst it is welcome,


it is nowhere near enough. This is a major emergency, affecting people


not only in Yemen, but also in my constituency. What plans does the


Minister had to increase the people in Yemen supported by British


support? She raises an important aspect of this very sad conflict.


Whilst we are denied a political solution, it is the people of Yemen


that are suffering. Because of this is the ability to get aid into the


country. The main access to the majority of the country is through a


port which is currently in boozy hands. The cranes are out of action,


and it is there that we need to get more access through. Dash-macro


Houthi. We need to prepare the cranes so a greater size of ship can


get in and then equipment and support can be distributed across


the country. I wholly endorse the remarks made by


the honourable lady. In addition, the UN reports there may be up to


370,000 starving children in Yemen. In addition to our own age, what


discussions has my honourable friend had with Saudi Arabia and other Gulf


states to provide significant humanitarian aid? It is fair to say


that Saudi Arabians, and members of the coalition, whilst the headlines


are about the military campaign that takes place on they are doing huge


amounts to provide support for refugees in their countries, and


also to provide humanitarian aid. Often this is done outside the


auspices of the United Nations. During the United Nations General


Assembly, my right honourable friend, the Secretary of State 40


fit, held a conference to make sure that we can bring countries together


to support Britain and our work to get aid into and across the country.


Mr Speaker, can I thank him for his personal efforts, and that of the


Foreign Secretary, in trying to broker a ceasefire. But that is the


key. We need a ceasefire in the same way as Turkey and Russia managed to


do for Syria. Have there been any further discussions with the United


States about getting this back onto the agenda of the Security Council?


I know the Foreign Secretary was in America at the end of last week. Was


this raised with them, and when can we get this back for discussion at


the UN? I think there is a further question down the line, which


focuses on a UN Security Council resolution. Just touching on that


now, this is our ambition, to gain a resolution which will be along the


lines of what the road map is discussing. We met our 19th of


December, we did confirm the direction of travel that we want to


go. He will know because of his understanding of the country, it is


not so simple as to suggest this is the Houthis against resident howdy


on those on that side, but it is a complex tribal structure which


requires the buying of many parts of the country in order to make sure


that ceasefire and the station of hostilities can last. Can he confirm


media reports that Iran is now publicly backing the Saudi led


coalition attempts to bring security back to Yemen? I can confirm that


the Foreign Minister for Oman was at the discussion, as well as a


representative from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, the key


nations providing support, and I pictured beautiful work that Oman


has done in bringing the Houthis to the table to attain this ceasefire.


In accurate information has been provided to Parliament on a number


of times. The Minister said previously he acted immediately, but


a new Freedom of information request reveals that the Minister and former


Foreign Secretary knew as early as the 28th of June last year that


Parliament had been misled, but this was not corrected until the 21st of


July. Does the Minister believe that the ministerial code was complied


with? I am guessing from the question he puts forward that this


is in relation to the sale of munitions. He did not explain this


or the context, so maybe if we meet afterwards, then he can give me a


follow-up question, or he can come to the debate on Thursday when we


will discuss Yemen in more detail. Mr Speaker, last month the Defence


Secretary informed the House that the Saudi government had given


assurances they would no longer use UK manufactured last bombs. Can I


ask the Minister if he has confirmation from the Saudis that


they have now disposed of these weapons? They have confirmed that


that is their intention, and hopefully for the debate on Thursday


I will be able to ensure that that has actually happened. I will go


further than that to say that, prior to the visit by the Prime Minister


for the conference, I invited all of the GCC nations to sign the


convention on cluster munitions so they can join other countries around


the world in condemning these horrific weapon systems. 40 million


people in Yemen, more than half the population, are today going hungry.


In the capital residents scavenge rubbish dumps for food. Can the


Minister tell us what progress he is making towards brokering the


ceasefire so these people can get the help they need? This goes back


to the original question and it is vital that we get full access to


Sanaa. I'm fortunate, this is in the hands of the Houthis. We are unable


to utilise the airport, which would be the best way to get into the


country because of disagreements taking place. The sooner we can get


all parties back around the table, then we can get this cessation of


hostilities in place and gain that important aid into the country,


including the capital. Let me first say that I think it would be fitting


that the House ought to welcome the fact that, whatever else 2016 port,


it was the first year in almost four decades when no member of our Armed


Forces was killed in operations. Sadly, Mr Speaker, this is not


because we live in a more peaceful world. In Yemen the conflict is as


fierce as ever and the suffering of their children is worse than ever.


It is the worst crisis in the world. One child dies every ten minutes


from a lack of food. I have here the UK's draft UN resolution, which


could bring an end to that conflict and allow the delivery of


humanitarian relief, but there was not a single words that any


reasonable party could disagree with, so I ask the Minister this


question. Three months from its first appearance. Why is the UK


still sitting on this draft resolution? Mr Speaker, the way that


the UN resolutions are drafted is that they need to be made sure that


they are workable, and that means that all parties must sign up and


agree to it, otherwise it is simply just a piece of paper. For us to


make sure that the UN resolution can stand on what we are actually


saying, and can be enforced, you then need the parties to come round


the table and have that cessation of hostilities. As she is right, we


work towards the drafts, we don't increment them and will are sure


that resolution can work in actors. I thank the Minister for that answer


but we have heard this before. I know that the Ministers don't listen


to their ambassadors any more these days, but this is what our UN


ambassador said back in November. Asked what it would take to achieve


a permanent ceasefire he said, "The UK will continue to support those


efforts, including the use, if necessary, of our draft Security


Council resolution." That was 50 days ago. 50 days of continuing


fighting, and still we have the same old delay in tactic from this


government. I ask again, when Bull the Foreign Secretary pull his


finger out, present this resolution, and end what is a terrible proxy


war? I'm sorry to use these words, but


she is now illustrating that she does not have a grasp of the UN


process itself and what is going on on the ground in Yemen. To suggest


that any of us on this side of the page do not listen to our


ambassadors, that is to mislead the House. I would invite... Order. Of


one thing we should be clear, the Minister has a grasp of


Parliamentary protocol. You cannot accuse somebody of misleading the


House. Both words of wrong and both must be withdrawn. Minister. I


withdraw those remarks. If I had inadvertently, would that work, so?


Inadvertent leak disingenuously misleading the House. Disingenuous.


If someone is disingenuous, there can be nothing inadvertent about it.


I would have thought he was well educated enough to recognise that.


Do get it right, man! The point has been made. Sorry to test your


patience, but it is important to understand that we take the words of


our ambassadors seriously. I spoke to Matthew Rycroft only a few days


ago. We are the pen holders at the UN Security Council and I want to


make sure that there is a phone call between him and the honourable lady


so he can explain the processes of the United Nations so she becomes


aware that we will not get a Security Council resolution passed


until we get the cessation of hostilities in place. Progress apart


from anything else has been clay seal. Far, far, far too slow. We


need to speed up. Mr Speaker, the Foreign Secretary raised the case to


do with this last year in November. Our commissioner is raising this as


well, including discussions with North Cyprus. We will continue to


post to see those guilty of the murder of George Lowe brought to


justice. Can I thank the foreign office for its hard work in trying


to secure justice for both George Lowe and Ben Barker. Natural justice


demands that people should not be able to simply walk away from


custody when they are accused of murder. Northern Cyprus has allowed


this to happen with one of the suspects, and it is feared the other


will follow. Can he reassure the families that every effort can be


made to make Northern Cyprus halal, decency to prevail? The House will


not be aware of this. This has been a delicate carries and I commend the


work he has done in order to work with the families. I assure him that


the Minister from Europe is fully engaged, as our FCO officials to


provide support for both families. He will realise that because it


involves North Cyprus, we cannot speak to widely of what discussions


are taking place. I assure him we're working hard to make sure justice is


seen to follow. This has been a complicated case, but they have been


too many complicated cases involving British National is in the various


different parts of Cyprus. Is not the truth of the matter that until


we get a proper settlement of Cyprus so we no longer have a divided


island, a divided city, there will be no long-term justice either for


the people of this country in Cyprus or for the people of Cyprus. I hope


the former Minister for Europe will join me in congratulating the two


leaders that are coming together this week. I think my right


honourable friend is going to Cyprus in order to push forward what will


be money mental discussions that will take place. It will be provide


that important solution. I hope that then cases such as this will be


resolved faster. With permission, I will answer this question together


with question 13. We are concerned by reports about the detention of


activists in Colombia, often without trial or access to legal


representation. The premise to raised our concerns with the


President -- the Primus to raised concerns with the President.


Will the Minister urged the Colombian government to release all


civil society prisoners as soon as the? We do welcome the arrival of


the new amnesty Bill. We believe this will lead to a new benefit for


all citizens in the wider region as part of the Colombian peace process.


We look forward to all aspects of that law, particularly in regards to


disarmament and reintegration. The transition zones are an important if


not crucial aspect of the peace agreement. Yet we are hearing


reports of living quarters not even started, food so rotten that people


are suffering with severe food poisoning, possibly even lethal food


poisoning. Indeed water is in scarce supply. Considering this is where


the troops are supposed to be gathering, will we put pressure on


the Colombian authorities to ensure these transition areas are completed


and properly stocked? We do of course have read these matters --


raise these matters often and I will relate that back. The United Kingdom


has supported the Colombian government throughout the difficult


recently concluded and very welcome peace process and pledged continuing


support through the UN and EU. Can the Minister outline what


specifically will be supported and for the people be included in the


discussions on how these funds are allocated? My honourable friend is


right, 2016 was a historic year for Colombia and the peace deal ended


the longest running conflict in the Western Hemisphere. There is a


contribution of ?7.5 million of a trust fund with a big percentage of


that going towards de-mining. There is now a paramilitary presence


in several of the Colombian departments. Can we ensure that the


proliferation of paramilitaries and private armies is counted and the


articles of the peace process are upheld? I can confirm that we are of


course concerned by reports of violence against tumour rights


defenders which has increased in 2016. Of course, these attacks have


increased in areas where they are written -- withdrawing.


Mr Speaker, despite the signing of the partnership for the peace


agreement, there were extrajudicial killings. The Saudi led coalition


was formed following the alleged at request of the President as set out


in the UN resolution to 216, added is in this context that the UK


supports this. It beggars belief that the Saudi coalition is


routinely targeting air strikes at cattle markets, dairy farms, food


factories and other agricultural infrastructure. Can the minister


explained why they are doing that and why we are supporting them? Mr


Speaker, we are not supporting them doing that, as she can imagine. We


are working very closely with the Saudi Arabians and the coalition to


make sure that their standards of protocols to meet international


standards that we expect, should we be involved ourselves. Much of the


information from the battlefield is very unclear indeed, and we do


enforce transparency in a way that Saudi Arabians and many other


coalitions have never seen before. Does my honourable friend agree that


since the Saudi led coalition intends to restore the legitimate


government in the Yemen, it is clearly right and proper that we


should support them? My right and will friend, he knows the region


well. He is absolutely right. I will make it very clear that the


coalition has made errors, it has made mistakes. It has not endured


sustained warfare in this manner before. It is having to meet


international standards like never before. It is having to provide


reports on when it makes mistakes, it has never done that before. It


has not had the experience of writing a report before. It is now


wanted to meet those standards, wanting to work with the


international community and we need to make sure that when errors are


made, it puts it stand-up in the same way we do or the Americans did


in Afghanistan a few months ago. Given that Saudi Arabia has admitted


using illegal cluster bombs in Yemen, what consequence or sanction


is being considered or planned by the UK government against Saudi


Arabia given this breach of humanitarian law? If I may attempt


to correct the honourable gentleman, they are not illegal because this


country has not signed up to the Munitions Convention. Therefore, it


is in their right, indeed any country's right to use these


munitions if they wish. As I mentioned earlier, I have encourage


them not only to make sure that they have actually destroyed all cluster


munitions that we sold to them in the past but get rid of their entire


Arsenal of cluster munitions and signed the convention. Has the


minister spoke to the coalition about the long-standing threat from


Al-Qaeda and Daesh in Yemen which threatens not only them but our


security at home? In all of our discussions with Saudi Arabians,


learning to conduct warfare in the standards we expect, the absence of


a solution allows integration of the body such as Daesh. And also


Al-Qaeda. The port was run by that terrorist organisation, and there


are more terrorist attacks plotted in the peninsulas by Al-Qaeda then


any other wings of Al-Qaeda itself. It is important we were called out


coalition friends to make sure we defeat extremism in Yemen. Can I


endeavour to make a better case for Britain's policy in the Yemen


tragedy and the minister did in his earlier replies. Could he make clear


the value to our security and also to our dynamic aerospace industry of


our relationship with the Saudis and the Gulf states and also because as


of the UK and the international community of the expansionist


approach of the Saudi regime. They are important ally. Their security


is our security. They are not used to conducting such sustained warfare


and they need to learn. We are standing with them to make sure they


are learning lessons and make sure that we work towards peace in Yemen


for all of the reasons we have discussed in the chamber today.


Number five, Mr Speaker. Mr Speaker, thank you. I have indeed spoken to


the Israeli prime and -- Prime Minister on this matter on December


23. I raised illegal settlements. I probably spoke for a large majority


of people in this House when I said that I am a strong, passionate


supporter of the state of Israel. But I also believe that the


continued expansion of illegal settlements in the West Bank is by


no means conducive to peace. I thank him for his response. Could he


further advise what assessments his government has made of the Israeli


government's intent to comply with the resolution on illegal


settlements? That is clearly a matter for the Israeli government. I


will repeat our position that we believe that settlements in the West


Bank are illegal and the 20th cent expansion we have seen in a


settlements since 2009 is a threat to the peace process, and that is


why we resolved as we did. Of course, there has been a certain


amount of argument about that and a certain amount of pushback from the


Israeli government. But you will find there is a wide measure of


international support. It is in no way diminishing the Government's


strong support for a Jewish homeland in Israel. Is there anything in the


substantial analysis presented by Secretary Kerry on the 28th of


December following resolution that the Foreign Secretary doesn't agree


with? Let me just repeat my point which is that I think that John


Kerry was completely right to draw attention to the illegal settlements


and he was right to draw attention to the substance of the resolution


to 334. I would remind the House that the UK was closely involved in


the drafting of that resolution. It was an Egyptian generated resolution


and we only supported it because it contained a new language, pointing


out the information of terrorism that Israel suffers everyday, not


least on the Sunday, when there was an attack injuries. I was glad that


that resolution identified that aspect of the crisis in the Middle


East. I think John Kerry was absolutely right to point out the


rounded nature of that resolution. May I paid to beauty to John Kerry,


who is shortly to step down as Secretary of State, for his tireless


work for peace, not just in Israel, Palestine, but across the wider


Middle East. "The Cessation of activities is


essential for a resolution". Given the meetings the Foreign Secretary


has had with members of the incoming administration in the US, does he


think that is a view that is shared by President elect Trump? I think it


is a widespread view in Washington and across the UN Security Council


that settlements are illegal, and that's why the resolution went


through as it did without any opposition. To answer the right


honourable gentleman's question directly, frankly speaking it is too


early to say exactly what the administration to be will decide on


this matter, but he can rest assured that the British Government will


continue to make the point that we have, not because we are hostile to


Israel, on the contrary, because we wish to support the state of Israel.


Let me try to get this right. The British ambassador is summoned


formally in Israel because of the way the UK voted at the UN Security


Council, but meanwhile in the UK, and employee of the Israeli embassy


is caught on film conspiring with a British civil servant to take down a


senior Minister in his own department, the chairman of the


foreign affairs select committee and other members of this House, the


Israeli ambassador makes a couple of phone calls and all is forgiven. Can


be Foreign Secretary enlighten us on the thinking behind this? I


certainly can enlighten the House in the sense that, as my right on a


friend points out, the Israeli ambassador made a very full apology


for what had taken place, and the gentleman in question, the diplomat


in question, no longer seems to be a functionary of the embassy in


London. Whatever he may exact have been doing here, his cover can be


said to have been well and truly blown, and I think we should have


said the matter closed. Progress is lamentably slow. One question is


will be cut off because there are people lower down big paper who must


be reached. If a UK embassy official had been caught on film in Tel Aviv,


talking about taking down an Israeli Minister, they would have been


booted out of the country without further ceremony, so why did that


not happen in this case question what is the Foreign Secretary showed


even a tiny bit of resolve in such matters, perhaps Israeli diplomats


would not talk about him in such disparaging terms. Divide audible


gentleman seems to have been failing to pay attention, which is that the


Israeli diplomat in question is no longer doing his job here in London,


whatever his job is, he is no longer doing it here in this city. The


Israeli ambassador has made a full apology for the matter in question.


I am happy to consider the matter closed. Will the Secretary of State


agreed to meet with me and colleagues to discuss our graves


concerned about resolution 234 for which my constituents believe will


make these harder to achieve in the middle east? I am grateful, we are


happy to offer exactly such a consultation with colleagues, and I


know that my honourable friend the Minister has already undertaken to


do just that. I am sure that the whole House will join me in


condemning the horrific attack on Sunday on Israeli soldiers in


Jerusalem. Mr Speaker, we will never achieve a lasting peace in the


Middle East until the state of Israel, its soldiers and civilians,


are free from the threat of terror. No, Mr Speaker, will be achieve that


lasting peace and to all sides accept a two state solution, and


until a viable Palestinian state can be built free from illegal


settlements. In these allegedly frank discussions with the incoming


Tom administration on Sunday, was the Foreign Secretary frank about


those points to, and if so, what response did he receive? The answer


is yes to the first question, and the answer to the second is wait and


see. Where is the next fellow?


Question seven. First of all, let me repeat the condolences that we have


offered, I am sure many members will want to join me in offering to the


people of Germany in the terrible attack they sustained on December


19, and we continue to work with our German counterparts to strengthen


our mutual security will stop we have superb relations with Germany,


and it is vital, both going through the Brexit process and beyond that


we deepen and intensified that friendship.


May I associate myself with my right on both and's expression of


condolence to the people of Burlington. Given that Germany is a


net exporter to the United Kingdom, I would not want its economy


affected to the imposition of tariffs must what extra is being


done to build diplomatic relations for the benefit of future reciprocal


free trade between our two countries? I am grateful because as


my honourable friend will know very well there is now a big operation


going on by UK TI, by British diplomacy, to point out the salient


fact that German investment in this country is responsible for about


344,000 jobs here in the UK. UK investment in Germany is responsible


for 222,000 jobs. It would be the height of insanity to imperil either


of those sets of investments. Mr Speaker, the Foreign Secretary


spoke of the relationship with Germany as being a very good and


very special one, but isn't it the fact that many leading Germans are


concerned about Britain leaving the EU and the impact that has on the


security of Europe, particularly our commitment to Nato, given the


instability that we see in Russia? Well, I think the right on gentleman


asked and astute question. Of all the countries in Europe that care


about our departure, I would say it is certainly the Germans that have


been most psychologically and emotionally affected by the


referendum result. That is why I think my honourable friend's friend


is so astute. We contribute 25% of the EU's defence expenditure, but


that will continue because we may be leaving the EU, but we are not


leaving Europe. Our commitment to your's defence is undiminished.


Question eight. Thanks to our historical


connections, our shared economic interests that include foreign


policy, defence, security, trade and culture, we have exceptionally


strong relationships with our GCC nations. This was reflected in the


warm reception the Prime Minister received when she attended the GCC


summit in November, and established a new UK GCC strategic partnership.


So does the Minister agree with me that Britain has a unique


competitive advantage in securing a free-trade agreement with the GCC


due to those desired sectors, our long-standing friendship, and also


the GCC's own desire for economic diversification? My honourable


friend is absolutely right, and that is one of the reasons why the


Chancellor visited the region a couple of weeks ago, to enforce


those exact points. I am sure that once the Brexit discussions have


moved forward that one of the first areas that will be consolidating in


the trade agreement will be with GCC nations.


In December, the spokesman for the Prime Minister said this was not the


governor's view, so whose view was the Foreign Secretary expressing?


Further to our relationships with the GCC nations, these are countries


that are advancing, these are very new. Saudi Arabia only became an


independent country in modern times in 1932. It is because of this close


relationship that we have in a wide variety of sectors and the trust


that we have, that we are encouraging these countries to


advance in government systems as well. The diplomatic stature of the


GCC has risen to six only -- significantly into recent years, not


least due to... With regard to the impasse in Middle East states, does


he believe the time is now right for Arab states and GCC to make an


approach and initiative to move this process forward? I know this is


something that is close to his heart and he worked hard on this when he


was the Minister for the middle east, and he is right, that as the


GCC grows in Powys and strength, and in its authority, it has an


important role to play in arguably what is one of the longest concerns


that has been running since the occupation began of the occupied


territories, a visitor years ago, and in this year that we mark the


declaration, I hope this is the year that we make progress.


The GCC countries have in excess of 100,000 troops, they are up against


a rebel group in Yemen who have been involved in killings, who are trying


to overthrow the country, who are involved in torture and the report


puts the number of child soldiers in the rebel group at 30%. Isn't that


the biggest challenge, and shouldn't we be supporting the GCC? I agree


that it is one of the biggest challenges. We forget that this is


their neighbourhood. This is their backyard. This is where they want to


make sure that they have security, in the same way that we want


regional security, wherever that may be. Certainly near where we live and


work and want to raise families. That is the same in GCC nations, and


it is something I will explore more when we have this debate on


Thursday. Question nine.


Thank you, Mr Speaker. We have as you can imagine, regular


consultations about the future shape of our diplomatic nations with the


rest of the EU, but the honourable lady should understand that we may


be leaving the EU but we are not leaving Europe we will continue to


collaborate on all the issues that are vital in macro fight the


important to us. I welcome that answer. Free movement is a key issue


for our discussions with our EU counterparts. Has the Government


considered therefore that in order to get the best possible access to


the European single market, proposing a managed migration


system, which still gives preference to EU workers, welcoming those with


high skills but limiting the numbers of lower skilled workers coming into


work? I hope she will forgive me that this would come under the


category of giving a running commentary on our negotiations. We


cannot do that and the right honourable lady on the front bench


says Brexit means Brexit and she is perfectly right.


Thank you, Mr Speaker. With my right honourable friend agree that, given


the trade ties she has already mentioned, and the fact that we are


your's largest dispense contributor, we shouldn't has to make deals on


immigration and free movement in order to secure a good trade


agreement with our allies and friends in Europe. May I begin by


congratulating my right honourable friend on his well-deserved


knighthood in the New Year's honours list, and I think he speaks very


good sense. I hesitate to... In fact I will agree with him completely


without being convicted of giving a running commentary on our


negotiations, so thank you very much.


Has the Foreign Secretary given any commentary at all to his own


officials such as Sir Ivan Rogers, who left the service because he said


that he had not been given any sense of what the negotiating objectives


were of the Government. Could you perhaps give a clue as to what the


Department intends to do? I must tell the right honourable gentleman


that if you consult the speeches of the Prime Minister more closely, he


will discover a wealth of information about our negotiating


position, but I do not honour since he has not bothered to do that, I do


not propose to enlighten him. Except to say that Sir Ivan Rogers did an


excellent job, he always gave me very good advice. I think his


reasons for stepping down early work persuasive. Said Tim Barrow as


anyone has worked with him, and people on both sides of the House


will have done, we'll know he is an outstanding public servant with


long-standing experience of UK representation in Brussels, and will


do a superb job in the forthcoming talks.


I'm sure my honourable friend will agree that not only diplomatic


relationships are important but relationships to members of this


House and European partners are important. Membership of the Council


of Europe, of all-party groups, has never been more important. Can he


give the assurance that his Department will assist in every way


to make sure that bilateral relationships exist between mems of


this House and Europe will be encouraged? I'm happy to give that


assurance to my honourable friend. As he will know, there are


Parliamentary bodies of one party or another that have links with sister


parties across the continent and we will do everything we can to promote


that in the years ahead. On behalf of these benches, can I pay tribute


to the long and distinct wish career of Sir Ivan Rogers? He served


successive governments with great distinction and most of the


Secretary of State's predecessors had the good sense to appreciate it.


Pity he couldn't until the just now when Mike honourable friend managed


to press him. In his resignation letter, Sir Ivan said that contrary


to the beliefs of some, free trade does not just happen. Can the


Secretary of State explain who Sir Ivan had in mind? I think I have


given my views about Sir Ivan. I'm happy to repeat them which I think


is that he is an amazing public servant. I must say that it is vital


for officials to continue to give their unvarnished views of matters,


such as the ease of negotiating free-trade deals. It isn't


necessarily going to be simple, but there is no reason to think why it


can't be done speedily and there is no reason to think why we can't have


fantastic free-trade deals, not least with the United States of


America. Question ten, Mr Speaker. I am grateful to the right or lady.


We're using every forum at our disposal to try to encourage both


sides to get to the negotiating table. It is deeply frustrating. I


John honourable members on both sides who condemned the appalling


attack and murder of four Israeli soldiers at the weekend. All I can


say is I've repeat what we said. The only way forward has got to be a two


state solution, and that was why it was important to restate the


Government's position in the resolution. The general secretary of


the UN has warned about Iran's activities, bombing Hezbollah in


Lebanon from their base in Syria. What can the Foreign Secretary do to


combat this minutes to the prospects of any peace in the region? I think


it is important to recognise that Iran is a malign influence across


the region, and we must be vigilant about what they are doing. On the


other hand, you have got to engage with Iran and the JCP OA wraps since


Asa Tatchell way forward -- represents a substantial way


forward. What effect does he think the current global of Palestinian


violence is going to have on the peace process? Is my honourable


friend will know, the level of violence has been down by comparison


with 2015, but it is still too high. It is a board that the resolution


that has been discussed this morning did have that balance in it, and


there was that language in it, pointing out the threat that Israel


faces, and it is important that we stress that. And that we encourage


Palestinians to understand there can be no hope of peace unless they get


their extremists under control. I'm pleased the borrowed secretary is


using every forum to bring peace will stop will he therefore be


attending the Paris conference, and what new initiative for the UK


government be putting forward back? I can certainly assure the right


honourable gentleman that the UK government will be attending the


Paris talks. We will be be enforcing our message, which is that we think


both sides must get round the table and negotiate, and that is the only


way forward, and that it would be folly now to abandon a two state


solution. A one state solution is not in the interests of Israel.


Number 11, Mr Speaker. The Government regularly receives


reports of sectarian attacks on Christian and other minority groups


in the Middle East was to work with all governments and North North


African governments to tackle this violence. The persecution of


Christians across the Middle East is way to -- is way too common. I


welcome the work that has been done such as he has done to promote those


charities. I look forward to reading their report which is due out


tomorrow. They do make -- they have a major contribution to the thoughts


of governments. Will the governor to ensure we do every thing we can to


make sure that this is recognised as genocide in the International


courts? I have said in this House that I do believe that acts of


genocide have taken place. It is not my view that counts. It is whether


we can legally prove that. As we have debated, it is important that


we collect the evidence. I'm sure the House will be delighted to know


that it has been confirmed that the Foreign Secretary joint other


countries including Iraq at the General assembly to launch the work


to be done to collect the evidence to make sure that we can hold those


that are actually conducting these activities to account. I could not


be for grateful to the Minister. Mr Speaker, thank you. I have come


back this morning from the United States, where I have been discussing


these issues with the incoming administration. It was clear that


there is a wide measure of agreement tween us over the challenges that we


face, and I can assure the House that Arab embassy in Washington is


engaging and the primer stuff's -- Prime Minister's office are engaging


with the incoming administration to build on those areas of agreement.


What talks specifically with regard to security and trade did my right


honourable friend had with congressional leaders?


I have the House, there was a huge fund of goodwill for the United


Kingdom on Capitol Hill. And a very large measure of understanding that


now is the time to do a free-trade deal. They want to do it, they want


to do it fast, and that understanding with most vivid on the


part of the incoming administration. Order, topical questions. As the


fellow manifested himself? Rebecca Powell is. Topical mother to, Mr


Speaker. -- topical number two. We will build a stronger working


relationship with the US administration. As I have said, I


have just returned from the US to further that ambition. As this is


the last SCO questions before the end of the Obama administration, let


me repeat formally my thanks to John Kerry for his tireless dedication.


Illegal trading in wildlife is now the fourth most lucrative


transnational crime and has a hugely destabilising effect on habitats and


many communities. On this note, can the Minister tell me what his


Department is doing to help combat the poaching of illegal ivory


trading in Africa? Thank you. We have made it clear in


this government that combating illegal wildlife trade is our


priority, one of our priorities. We have a dedicated team in London,


working with my right honourable friend the Secretary of State for


DEFRA. As the lady will know, the Secretary of State came back from a


highly successful conference in Hanoi on ivory trade. We are


supporting without funds... Let me tell the right honourable lady who


mocks the elephants... The number of elephants are damaging by 8% every


year. It is thanks to the efforts of this government that that issue is


being raised up the international agenda again. We are spending


considerable sums of money to support those who are combating the


poachers. All questions and answers need to be extremely brief,


irrespective of how distinguished those who put them are or judge


themselves to be. Mr Alex Salmond. When the right honourable gentleman


was a columnist, he was a supporter of some aspects of President Putin's


policies. When he became Foreign Secretary, he became hostile to


foreign policy in Russia. He is pursuing a twin track policy which


means we will be supportive and hostile at the same time. At what


time during his visit to Trump Towers did he decide to blizzard was


the best policy? -- duplicity was the best policy. I have never said I


was a supporter of President Putin's activities in Syria. It is important


to understand that although Russia is doing many bad things, and what


they have done with cyber warfare, there is no doubt they are up to no


good, but it is also important for us to recognise that there may be


areas where we can work together, that is what we should do. Does my


right honourable friend agree that until the divisions between the


Sunnis and Shias are short, there cannot be peace and prosperity in


the region? What role does Britain play in that process? It is such a


fundamental question because very cold war feel between them and yet


the difference is actually almost insignificant. They agree on the


centrality of the Prophet Muhammad. The big issue is about succession,


whether it was the cousin and son-in-law, or whether it was the


father-in-law. She is absolutely right. When these two sides


reconcile, peace and prosperity will improve and all of... As I had been


advised, we don't need a lecture in each of these cases. We need a pithy


question and a pithy reply. On Sunday, the Foreign Secretary met


with Donald Trump's chief strategist, a man whose website is


synonymous with anti-Semitism, racism, misogyny, homophobia, hero


worship of Vladimir Putin and the promotion of extremist far right


movements across the world. Can I asked you for an secretary, how did


he and Mr Bannon get on? I don't wish to embarrass any member of the


incoming administration by describing the regular or otherwise


of our relationship. But the meetings were productive. There was


a wide measure of agreement between the UK and the incoming head


ministrations about the way forward. We intend to build on those areas of


agreement. When the Russian air force skirts


along British air force, RAF pilots fly typhoons to see them. Does my


right honourable friend believe that our sanctions against Russia are


hitting the target is just as effectively as our RAF pilots? I am


very grateful because I think it is important for the house to keep in


mind the importance of these sanctions. I have to save the


support for sanctions against Russia, for incidents over Ukraine,


is not as strong as it should be in other parts of the EU and the UK is


in the lead in keeping the pressure on. Following his trip to America,


how confident is the Foreign Secretary that we might have a US-


UK free trade agreement on the table within the next couple of years? Is


there an appetite for it to be based on mutual admiration rather than


single opposition? My enthusiasm is nothing compared to our friends on


the other side of the Atlantic. We will get a good deal, but it's got


to be a good deal for the UK as well. The Minister tell me what it


is doing to ensure lessons of the past are learned and proper


stabilisation and reconstruction planning is in place for Mosul once


the city is liberated? We do not learn the lessons of the lessons


were not learnt in 2013 when the moderate Sunni voices were not


listen to. Extremism is flourishing across north-east Africa and the


Middle East unless we engage with those moderates. Planning needs to


be done before the guns fall silent. Did he make it clear that the United


Kingdom will not share intelligence with his Administration if his


administration is to use it down in a association with a revived US


torture programme? -- in association. We do not discuss


intelligent berry-macro intelligence matters or the operational nature.


Does my right honourable friend share my concern that a prompt 's


statement was not issued over the murder of Israeli soldiers. Refusal


to meet face-to-face is the major problem with a two state proposal?


The resolution has been characterised as a settlement


resolution. It also contains valuable language about terrorism,


but there can be no lasting solution for that part of the world unless


there is better leadership of the Palestinians and unless they


renounced terror. Next week the new president is due to be sworn in


except the current president is refusing to budge. The people of


Gambia have voted to end 22 years of civil liberties and human rights


abuses at the hands of the president. But the Foreign Secretary


during his counterparts around the world in telling him that he has


eight days to get out of office? Not in so many words, but I did have the


chance to congratulate the president elect. The will of the Gambian


people should be recognised and the current president should step down.


What agreement will they be on policy towards Russia between the


British government and the new Administration, given the new


administration's indebtedness to President Putin through the leaking


and hacking of democratic National committee and the Hillary Clinton


each campaign chairman's mouse? First of all, I make no comment on


the efficacy, the electoral efficacy of the hacking of the DNC e-mails


except to say that it is pretty clear it did come from the Russians.


The point we have made to the incoming administration and indeed


on Capitol Hill is justice, that as I said earlier on, we think that the


Russian states, the Putin Kremlin is up to all sorts of very dirty


tricks, such as cyber warfare, but it would be folly for us further to


demonise Russia or to push Russia into a corner. So a twin track


strategy of engagement and vigilance is what is required. The Foreign


Secretary referred to the Middle East process. Secretaries of State


Clinton and Kerry failed to get a bilateral agreement between


Palestinians and Israelis. Is it not time to go to the international


sphere in the sense of the Arab initiative originally in Jude oost


by Saudi Arabia in 2002. The only way forward is both sides to get to


the negotiating table and recognise that a two state solution is way


forward. Does the Foreign Secretary share the concern on both sides of


the house at President Erdogan Ozma latest power grab following the


retrograde steps he has already taken to Islam miz ath formally


secular Turkish society? It is important to recognise that the


Turkish state, the Turkish government was the victim of a


violent coo in which... And attempted coo in which hundreds of


people died. It was entirely wrong of many governments in the EU to


instantly condemn Turkey for its response instead of seeing that


there is a balance to be struck. Turkey is vital for our collective


security. The last thing we need to do is push them away and push them


into a corner. Last month a UK Government spokesperson told Sky


News that the government is aware of an alleged air strike on a school in


Yemen using UK supplied weapons. Can the Minister update us on the


progress on this? I don't know the details of that particular report, I


have not seen it. I am happy to meet outside the Chamber to discuss it. I


will give her a reply in due course or I can give her a public reply in


the debate were having on Yemen on Thursday.


Well scholarships for students to study in the US continue? We have


made additional funding available to ensure 40 scholars to study at


university this September. What role can the British government play in


the situation in Zimbabwe? Our relationship has been strained


because of the current leadership. She speaks of a six-month period,


but who knows what will happen? We are working with neighbouring


countries to provide support for the people who are suffering more than


ever before under the current President's regime. Improving trust


and intelligence sharing is vital to the situation in Libya? Would it be


prudent to reinstate flights to Sharm el Sheikh? It is true that the


loss of UK tourist business to Egypt has been very severe and we are


working very hard with our Egyptian counterparts to get the reassurances


that we need in order to restore those rights which we all want to


happen. Earlier this morning the Minister said that the government


only supports UN security resolutions when it knows it can


enforce them. So if the Israelis continue with the settlements


programme, what steps will be Foreign Secretary take to enforce


resolution 2334? The honourable lady will no very well but we are working


with our international counterparts to persuade both sides to get to the


table, both of the Palestinians to drop the violence and recognise the


existence of the state of Israel and show leadership, but also to


understand that a two state resolution is the only way forward.


It is the best thing for this government to do. Many of my


constituents are concerned that the recent UN vote marks a change in the


UK's Dalston was Israel? Can the Foreign Secretary confirmed that is


not the case? The state of Israel is well-known and is just about the


only democracy in that part of the world. It is a free and liberal


society, unlike many others in the region. I passionately supports the


state of Israel and I think it was important that the government in


that resolution 2334 stop by UK policy over settlements and


underscored our horror regarding the violence against the people of


Israel. Does he find his counterparts somewhat surprised to


find a genuine British eccentric holding the position which she


holds? Go on, the eccentric! I honestly cannot speak for the


response of my counterparts. All I can say is, he can take it in


whichever way he chooses, but there was a wide measure of agreement on


both sides of the table over some of the problems that our societies


face, both in America and in the UK, and in the need for some fresh


thinking and the huge potential of the UK and the US to solve those


problems. I doubt that the proposition that the Foreign


Secretary is an exotic individual will be a subject to -- will be


subject to division of the house. We are awaiting another judgment over


my constituent Billy Evans. All the situation be derailed because of


Brexit? I raised this matter in October when I was in India with the


Minister for external affairs. The Prime Minister also raised it. We


are pressing for a speedy due process to take place. As she knows,


we are awaiting the outcome of the appeal process. My right honourable


friend was an outstanding Mayor of London and during his time he was


the first champion of the City of London and he was a believer in the


value of the single market. Could my right honourable friend now tell us


and assure us that in his negotiations, rather his meetings


with the incoming trump administration, he ... I think the


right honourable lady will find that the City of London has been through


all sorts of situations that would lead to its extinction, as some


proper sized. The City of London has gone from strength to strength and


Canary Wharf alone is now a bigger financial centre than the whole of


Frankfurt. I have no doubt, and by the way, this opinion was shared by


our friends and counterparts in Washington, I have no doubt that


that commercial and financial dominance of the City of London in


this hemisphere will continue. Further to the question from the


honourable lady from the SNP, we will be looking for more than some


twiddling. Does he have a concrete proposal to get those men home? We


take the matter seriously and we have raised it on a number of


occasions and will continue to do so. We can't interfere in the legal


process of another country, but we are doing everything we can to urge


a speedy process and making sure the men get help in prison as well.


Finally, an immensely patient member of the house. Thank you, Mr Speaker.


What support is Her Majesty's Burrnett giving to the welcome moves


towards a settlement in the Democratic


I had the pleasure of visiting the country last year and I was


concerned there was a delay in elections taking place or by the


President not recognising that his time is up, something that by


honourable friend will be aware of. I am pleased to see political


dialogue is being developed and we are only programme to make sure


elections are returned to the country very soon to make sure we


enforce that to happen but offer our support and assistance to this


important country. I am sorry to disappoint remaining colleagues but


this Question Time session probably enjoys a greater demand than any


other but I am afraid supply is finite. Two hours, the Minister


chanters from a sedentary position, he is a member of the executive and


if the government wants to take the proposition might be substantial


support for it. I tried to expand the envelope but there are limits,


if we don't have a longer session, people will have to be brief in


questions and answers. Urgent question. John McDonnell. I would


support two hours, Mr