Politics

Tory MPs accuse Government of ‘banning’ action against China’s persecution of Uighur Muslims


They were seeking a vote on whether British courts could rule that Beijing is committing “genocide” in its treatment of the Uighurs.

However, they said ministers had resorted to a “cynical manipulation of procedure” to thwart the Commons showdown which the rebels say they would have won.

They claimed the Government had bundled together two amendments, including one from Labour, to the Trade Bill to avoid the possibility of a crunch vote.

Wealden MP Nusrat Ghani, who has led the Commons campaign against the horrific abuse, reportedly being carried out in Xinjiang, said: “The Government knew it was going to lose so has used every tactic and trick in the book to prevent a vote on the New Genocide Amendment.

“The Government first says that genocide is a ‘judicial matter’ and then attempts to outlaw the courts from getting involved, and now they’re banning Parliament from playing a role and voting as well.

“Is this really how we want our country to behave in the face of genocide?”

Former Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith, MP for Chingford and Woodford Green, added: “The Government has run out of arguments and is now using arcane procedural games which demean our democracy and the House of Commons.”

Harrow East MP Bob Blackman, chairman of the all-party parliamentary group for Holocaust Memorial, also condemned the move.

He stressed: “Last week we all remembered the atrocities of the Holocaust, vowed to learn the lessons of the past and all stood up to say ’never again’ must we let this happen anywhere in the world.

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“Today was Parliament’s chance to make ’never again’ a reality yet instead the Government has chosen to deny a clear majority of the House of Commons a chance to vote.”

He added: “Genocide is not a game and Global Britain should be above this political gamesmanship.”

Wakefield MP Imran Ahmad Khan also hit out, saying: “I am disappointed by the cynical manipulation of procedure which seeks to deny the House the right to vote on an issue it clearly wishes to divide on. We must not let this sort of game playing go unopposed.”

Isle of Wight MP Bob Seely also called for the Commons to be given a vote.

“I hope that Government, which is now working much more closely with MPs, will come to that sensible conclusion,” he said.

The Beijing government has been accused of widespread abuse in Xinjiang, mainly targeted at the Uighur minority group, including allegations of forced sterilisation, slave labour, mass internment, with claims that rapes and torture are also being committed.

China denies such actions and insists it is combating poverty and terrorism.

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has announced moves to stop British firms from profiting from forced labour in Xinjiang province.



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