Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown calls for international response to China’s disqualification of elected lawmakers in Hong Kong

12th November 2020

Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown calls on the Government to build an international coalition of the free world to respond to China’s disqualification of elected pro-democracy lawmakers in Hong Kong.

 

I am grateful to my hon. Friend for confirming to the House this morning that this is the third breach of the Sino-British agreement, which was registered at the UN. As a friend of China for 25 years, I say that this is unacceptable. He and the Foreign Secretary must now show the  Chinese that this sort of breaking of international norms has consequences. Will he therefore build as wide a coalition of the free world as possible to act in unison on things such as the Magnitsky sanctions? If he does that, they will be much more effective.

My hon. Friend is absolutely right to raise this. We have already seen statements from four of our partners earlier today. I understand there may very well be a statement from the European Union later. In response to these developments, we have, as I say, offered this new immigration path, suspended the extradition treaty and extended our arms embargo on mainland China to Hong Kong. We have summoned the Chinese ambassador. We will continue to raise our concerns internationally at the UN. We will continue to lead the international community in calling on China to live up to its obligations under the joint declaration.

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Planning White Papers

I have submitted my responses to the two planning consultations: “Changes to the current planning system’ and “Planning for the future’.

These planning changes are one of the most significant events to affect the Cotswolds since WWII. I think that both papers contain positive proposals, in our case commitments to protect the AONB. The proposal to abolition Section 106 and the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) should speed up the planning process and it is important that the money is retained locally so that the infrastructure can be built at the same time as the development. 

Too often we see a development being built long before the supporting infrastructure, which I know can cause significant issues for existing residents. The proposals to simplify and speed up local plan-making and retaining neighbourhood plans where possible are welcome, in that design codes can be specified so it should be possible to protect our unique Cotswolds vernacular.   

I spoke in the planning backbench business debate on the 8 October and called for a change to the algorithm the Government uses in its planning White Paper which fails to take account of local variations and concentrates all new house building in the south-east and central south of England. 

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