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Mr. Robert Marshall-Andrews (Medway): Does the Foreign Secretary accept that the essential answer to the questions that many hon. Members have asked is that clear evidence exists that atrocities in Jenin and possibly elsewhere were committed, not only by individual soldiers, groups or operations, but by the state? That very state obstructs the inquiry that the United Nations requires. If that state continues to obstruct these inquiries, will my right hon. Friend give a clear, distinct and short answer to the question raised by my right hon. Friend the
Mr. Straw: The fact that there have been allegations of very serious misbehaviour by soldiers and others in Jenin makes the case for the inquiry. My hon. and learned Friend asks what we are going to do about it. We are but one member of the United Nations Security Council, which has to agree unanimously at the level of the permanent members before further action can be taken. We have been vigorous in pursuing the case for an inquiry and, as I have said, it was as a result of concern expressed in the House and of the visit by my hon. Friend the Member for Cynon Valley (Ann Clwyd) that we were able to get the inquiry. I hope that the Government of Israel will, even at this stage, acknowledge the need for this inquiry to take place without delay under the arrangements set by Kofi Annan. If they do not, the short answer is that we and the international community will have to consider very carefully what further action may be taken.
Fiona Mactaggart (Slough): Does my right hon. Friend understand the frustration of people at hearing that we "will have to consider" what further action may be taken, when Israel is using the full panoply of its military might against civilians, including women and children, day after daywhile we sit saying, "We will have to consider this"? Will he take the lead in the UN to ensure that Israel, as a democracy, respects the human rights of the Palestinian people, which it is demonstrably failing to do every day at the moment?
Mr. Straw: Of course I understand my hon. Friend's frustration. Most of the time, I share it. I must also say, however, that we have to work in the world that exists, not in the world that we wish to invent. The world that exists is a world in which there are five permanent members of the United Nations Security Councilmy hon. Friend knows which they areand we have to work in concert with them if we are to achieve the enforcement of international law and of UN Security Council resolutions. I understand her frustration, and I understand the attraction to people of venting their anger and frustration about this situation.
I happen to know, however, that had it not been for some painstaking work by British and American diplomatswith the full support of and great activity by American Secretary of State Colin Powell, and with my active supportwe would not be where we are today, with a little bit of luck, with a solution to a long-standing problem. The six detained people may now be moved to a secure facility elsewhere, and President Arafat will be released to restart his activity in effective and constructive politics inside the occupied territories and elsewhere. That seems to be the kind of positive contribution that the House expects of the British Government, and which it sought in the debate 13 days ago.
Mr. Tam Dalyell (Linlithgow): On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. May I raise a delicate matter of jurisdiction as between the Westminster Parliament and the Scottish Parliament, on which I would ask you to reflect, and which I have outlined to your advisers? On the Easter Adjournment, I asked in relation to Lockerbie:
On Thursday, I saw Dr. Koechler for four and a half hours to discuss his submissions to the UN. Various avenues of appeal through the UN and the Court of Human Rights, not to mention the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission, are possibilities. Dr. Koechler said that it is vital that the productions be preserved for further proceedings at inquiry.
On Friday morning, we learned from the press that the productions are to be collected by 47 families and sent by post to another 41, and that other material is to be destroyed. Without going into the matter, that has horrified the officially appointed solicitor, Mr. Eddie McKechnie, with whose approval I raise this point of order. Given the UK interest in the need for a public inquiry into the international aspects of Lockerbie, does the House have a locus in commenting on whether the productions at Zeist should be dispersed or destroyed? Such hurried dispersal or destruction at this time would suggest that there is something to hide. I therefore look forward to a ruling at your convenience.
Mr. Andrew Turner (Isle of Wight): On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. Have you had any indication from Ministers of their intention to come to the House to make a statement on Thursday night's breakdown of the 999 emergency service covering the Isle of Wight, Hampshire and parts of Wiltshire; the widespread failure of the telephone system on part of the island and in Southampton and surrounding suburbs; the apparent breakdown of BT's back-up systems; and the appearance of television announcements saying, "If you want to call the emergency services, please go to a police station."?
Mr. Speaker: I have had no approach from any Minister regarding the matter that the hon. Gentleman raises, but it is now on the record and I hope that the appropriate Minister will look into his deep concern.
David Taylor (North-West Leicestershire): On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. Three days ago in the town of Kalamata in southern Greece, 12 British citizens were found guilty of various charges associated with the innocuous activity of plane spotting. Six received one-year sentences and six, including my constituent, Garry Fagan of Kegworth in North-West Leicestershire, received three-year sentences. Have you received any request from the Foreign Secretary to make a statement on what the Government intend to do to assist those 12 citizens in their hour of peril, in relation to charges that would have been dismissed out of hand in any other country, especially one as closely allied to us as Greece is in NATO and the EU? Has any such approach been made?
[Relevant documents: The Eighth Report from the Joint Committee on Human Rights of Session 200102 on the Tobacco Advertising and Promotion Bill, HC 474, and the Government's response thereto, included in the Committee's Fourteenth Report, HC 674.]
The Government came to office with a commitment to ban tobacco advertising. Today we are able to honour that commitment. The Bill will ban both tobacco advertising and tobacco sponsorship. It will do so to reduce health inequalities, to protect public health and, most important of all, to safeguard children from the dangers of smoking.
This is a policy for which we have fought over the past five years, first in the European Union, then in the European courts and then in the British courts. At all stages this measure has been resisted by the tobacco industry; nor has it been helped by the attitude of the Opposition. In the last Parliament, we also introduced a Bill to ban tobacco advertising. It completed all its stages in this House, and was introduced in the other place before the last general election. Had it not been for the Opposition's refusal to agree to its passage, that Bill would by now have become law.