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G8 Summit

Volume 478: debated on Thursday 10 July 2008

With permission, Mr. Speaker, I would like to make a statement on the G8 summit, which took place under the chairmanship of the Prime Minister of Japan between 7 and 9 July. The summit was unique not just for the range of issues discussed in three interlocking summits—the African outreach, G8 plus 5 and major economies summits—but for the large number of countries whose Presidents and Prime Ministers took part.

Let me first draw the House’s attention to the unprecedented G8 statement on Zimbabwe. In the face of the deepening tragedy in Zimbabwe—the intimidation and deaths, the violation of human rights, the detention of political prisoners—the G8 made it clear that we do not accept the legitimacy of the Mugabe Government and that the UN Secretary-General should now appoint a special envoy both to report on the deterioration of human rights and to support regional mediation efforts to bring about change.

The G8 also called for the immediate resumption of humanitarian aid, which is essential to preventing further suffering and loss of life. We resolved that we would take further steps to take financial and other measures against those individuals responsible for the violence. As the House knows, we have followed that up immediately with a UN Security Council resolution, which is now being discussed in New York. We propose an international arms embargo on Zimbabwe, including a ban on all supplies of any arms, weapons, ammunition and military equipment. We list in the resolution 14 named members of the Mugabe inner cabal against whom travel and financial sanctions should be imposed by the whole international community. We have now set in train work to identify, in Africa, Asia, America and Europe, through a forensic assessment, both the physical assets and the bank accounts and finances of those 14 people. The UN resolution will also establish a committee to monitor the operation of those sanctions.

With worldwide sanctions and the worldwide arms embargo that we propose, our aim is that there will be no safe haven and no hiding place for the criminal cabal that surrounds the Mugabe regime. Now that the G8 has taken its decision, we propose that the UN put the full weight of the international community behind isolating an illegitimate Government.

At the heart of the summit’s other considerations and conclusions were the triple shocks hurting the world economy: the doubling of oil prices, rising food prices and, because of the credit crunch, the rising cost of money. Those are three shocks that, it is now agreed, cannot be solved by traditional monetary policy means alone but require direct action that will tackle the sources of oil and food inflation and make for more stable commodity, agricultural and financial markets.

The summit also reflected a world that is changing fast, with a consensus about the new economic power in Asia; about the fact that oil, commodity and food prices represent global problems that require global solutions; that there is an economic as well as an environmental imperative to break our dependence on oil; and that we should act in Africa and on international development for moral reasons, but also because developing countries hold the key to addressing our food shortages and will be the ones most affected by climate change.

First, while the summit noted that there are many explanations for the doubling of oil prices in a year, and that the scale of change is now greater than the oil shock of the 1970s, the basic challenge, which cannot be resolved by one country or group of countries alone, is that oil demand exceeds oil supply now, and will in the future. Although Governments are taking action domestically—Britain with special winter payments, new help for low-income families and the current freeze on fuel duty—the G8 agreed that the global conditions for ensuring a more stable international energy market were, first, expanding nuclear power, with the International Energy Agency suggesting that we will need 1,000 new nuclear power stations over the next four decades; secondly, accelerating the expansion worldwide of renewables; thirdly, radical measures in each of our continents to improve energy efficiency; and fourthly, co-operation between oil producers and oil consumers to ensure greater understanding of the balance between supply and demand and then to ensure new investment in all sources of energy. The G8 supported the London summit that will be held later this year between producers and consumers.

Britain reported that, for our part, we are following up changes to the North sea licensing structure with a review of the current fiscal regime, with the aim of increasing recovery from new and existing oil fields. We will be discussing with Nigeria next week how the UK can work with the Nigerian authorities to address security problems in the Nigerian delta, which are costing 1 million barrels of oil a day. We are working with the Iraqi Government to build capacity in the oil sector there, and we are discussing with the Gulf states and others how sovereign wealth funds and oil revenues can be recycled into wider energy investments.

Global action to improve energy efficiency and to reduce the world’s dependence on oil will help not only to reduce energy and fuel bills for households and industry in countries such as ours but to fight the battle against climate change. That is essential to the future prosperity and security of the wider world. For the first time, the G8 agreed not just to consider but to adopt as part of an international agreement a long-term goal of a cut of at least 50 per cent. in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. Also for the first time, we agreed on the need to have interim goals and national plans to achieve them. I welcome the fact that the major economies group, which now includes China, India, Mexico, South Africa, Brazil, Australia, Indonesia and South Korea, as well as the G8, agreed to continue to work together in the UN to achieve an international climate agreement next year, and that the major emerging economies have agreed to adopt appropriate mitigation actions with a view to reducing their emissions below what is called “business as usual”.

As a measure of our shared commitment to meet these challenging goals, the G8 also agreed to 25 recommendations on energy efficiency standards, including agreement that each country will put in place car and consumer goods standards—standards we said that, if implemented globally, could cut global oil consumption by 15 per cent. and energy-related carbon emissions by 20 per cent. That is the equivalent of all the emissions of the USA and Japan combined. As I told the summit, these standards include Britain pressing in the European Union for an average fuel efficiency target of 100g of carbon dioxide per kilometre by 2020, and the Secretary of State for Transport is today publishing a consultation paper in support of this target. Britain will also work with other countries in the European Union on the scope for commercialising the production of electric plug-in and hybrid motor vehicles.

To make a reality of and to monitor higher energy efficiency standards, we are also setting up a new G8 energy forum to meet in the autumn to examine how we can globally adopt new standards and new technologies. This will feed into the next meeting of the consumers and producers dialogue in London, which was supported by the G8 and will happen before the end of the year. We will seek to make permanent these initiatives on energy by setting up an international partnership for energy efficiency co-operation as a high-level forum to accelerate the adoption of these new technologies, and for greater energy efficiency.

We also know that to adopt alternative energy sources Africa and developing countries must have greater access to funds, so it has been a British initiative to create what has been called the climate investment funds at the World Bank. We agreed measures at the G8 that will provide more than $120 billion in public and private finance for alternative energy and other environmental investments. This is $117 billion through the existing clean energy investment framework, and $6 billion of new funding through the new climate investment funds—a huge new global investment fund of more than $100 billion for tackling climate change and encouraging developing countries to move to alternatives to fossil fuels.

With rising food prices having an impact at home and abroad, particularly for the poorest, the need for co-ordinated global action is also clear, so the G8 agreed to invest more than $10 billion to meet the short-term humanitarian needs arising from famines, including increases in food aid, but we also agreed to improve food security and measures for agricultural productivity over the longer term.

One major element in reducing food prices, as well as generating wider global benefits, will be a successful outcome to the Doha trade round, where lowering trade-distorting subsidies and import restrictions could increase the global gross domestic product by as much as €120 billion a year by 2015. The Doha trade round is primarily a development round that will benefit the poorest countries most. But if we are to break the year-long deadlock in negotiations, the upcoming ministerial meeting of the World Trade Organisation on 21 July will be critical. It is a make-or-break meeting for a trade deal, and I discussed the importance of this at the summit with all its participants, including President Bush, the Presidents of Brazil and South Africa and the Prime Minister of India. We agreed that the biggest signal we could send that the present challenges must not be an excuse for a renewed bout of protectionism was signing that world trade deal.

I hope that all sections of this House will agree that all countries should show the resolution to achieve the breakthrough that we want and need. To support the deal, the G8 also reiterated a commitment to invest $4 billion in aid for trade to help the poorest countries to take advantage of new trading opportunities.

As part of action this year on the millennium development goals, the G8 also signed up to new action to meet goals on health, and reaffirmed commitments made at Gleneagles to provide $25 billion in aid to Africa, and $50 billion globally by 2010, as well as establishing universal access to treatment for AIDS. How the world achieves further major advances in the alleviation of poverty, disease and illiteracy is the subject of the UN millennium summit convened by the UN Secretary-General for 25 September. I call on all countries to do what is necessary to meet the promises that they made on the millennium development goals.

My aim at the summit was to turn generalised commitments that were not time-specific into concrete action and into delivery to address poverty, disease and illiteracy. We agreed that over the next five years we would deliver the commitment of $60 billion to tackle infectious diseases and strengthen health in Africa and developing countries. Some other countries will provide additional resources for health care systems, including our own.

We also agreed to help to fund in 36 African countries a target of 2.3 health workers per 1,000 people. That would mean in total an additional 1.5 million new doctors, nurses or health workers, including a major advance in the number of skilled midwives so that women no longer have to die when unaided during childbirth. The G8 also committed to finance 100 million bed nets by 2010 for the prevention of malaria—this could save 600,000 lives—while $1 billion of new funding for the education fast-track initiative will immediately help a further 10 million children to go to school.

During the summit, I had a number of key bilateral meetings with other leaders on millennium development goal issues, and on other issues as well. This included a meeting with the new President of Russia, when we agreed on co-ordinated international action on Iran and the middle east peace process. But I raised in detail all the major issues that exist between our two countries, our position on the Litvinenko case, the treatment of the British Council and the withdrawal of visas for BP employees.

The G8 also agreed that, in a world of global financial flows, it is essential that immediate action be taken to tackle the impact of financial instability. Action at home should be accompanied internationally by clearer standards for the valuation of assets, changes in the role and use of credit rating agencies and better management of liquidity. More generally, there was agreement on the need for concerted global action to reform the International Monetary Fund. There was agreement that the IMF should become a better early warning system for the world economy, and there was a wider agreement that the international institutions set up in the 1940s were now in need of fundamental reform to ensure that they were fit to meet the new challenges of the 21st century. Further work will be done over the coming year to produce proposals for their reform and renewal.

Just as on Zimbabwe, where we have seen the growth of an international coalition for change, there is growing agreement round the world—and real progress now—on the need for detailed collaborative actions on energy, climate change, trade and international development. I commend this statement to the House.

I thank the Prime Minister for his statement, and I am sure that I speak for the whole country when I say we are pleased to see that Heathcliff has come home.

There are four main issues that I want to ask about—the world economy, aid, climate change and Zimbabwe. First, on Zimbabwe, may I congratulate the Prime Minister on putting the issue at the top of the G8 agenda? Real progress was made on sanctions against the regime and on not recognising the legitimacy of the Government, and he is to be congratulated on the role that he played in that. The key is now to translate those words at the G8 into an effective UN resolution. Given what the Russian President has said—that a UN resolution has not actually been agreed—is the Prime Minister confident that the Security Council will pass a resolution that enforces an arms embargo and meaningful targeted sanctions against members of the regime? Specifically on sanctions, given that EU sanctions target 130 officials, can he tell us why the figure in the draft resolution is just 14?

The G8 also calls for the appointment of a UN envoy to Zimbabwe, which, again, is welcome. Will the Prime Minister press for the appointment to be accompanied by a UN commission to investigate human rights abuses in Zimbabwe? On Africa more widely, can the Prime Minister give us some further reassurance—he spoke about this—that the Gleneagles pledges are not being watered down? At Gleneagles, the commitment was to increase development aid by $50 billion by 2010, with $25 billion of that going to Africa. The latest communiqué has a rather tortuous phrase about being

“firmly committed to working to fulfil our commitments”.

According to Oxfam, on current trends, rich countries could miss their 2010 promise by as much as $30 billion—money that could save 5 million lives. Given all that, is the Prime Minister really convinced that the Gleneagles pledges will be delivered?

Secondly, the Prime Minister mentioned the vital issue of access to HIV/AIDS treatment. Tony Blair said last year that the G8 was still committed to delivering

“universal access to HIV/AIDS treatment by 2010”.—[Official Report, 11 June 2007; Vol. 461, c. 514.]

I asked Tony Blair repeatedly about interim targets to help to make sure that the 2010 commitment was kept, yet now, with just two years to go, the G8 says that it is

“working towards the goal of universal access”.

How close to universal access to those vital treatments does the Prime Minister expect us to get in two years’ time?

Thirdly, on climate change, the Prime Minister said that the G8 agreement represented major progress, and on the face of it, the 50 per cent. cut in emissions does look good, but when we look at the small print, is there not a series of problems with the goal that was set? First, the goal is for global emissions, not G8 emissions, yet there are no figures for the contributions that G8 countries should make. Next, the Prime Minister mentioned the declaration issued by the wider group of economies that met on Wednesday; is it not the case that that had no specific figures at all? Furthermore, while the 2050 goal is clearly 42 years away, there are no interim targets. Vitally, is it not the case—although there seems to be some uncertainty here—that the 2050 goal is not being measured against 1990 levels, as we have always discussed, but against current levels? Could he confirm that? Taken together, do not those points demonstrate that progress has been painfully slow?

The fourth issue is the world economy. As the Prime Minister said, one of the keys to improving standards of living is to break down barriers to trade, and the G8 said that it would continue to work, as a matter of urgency, on the Doha negotiations. Is it not the case that the greatest contribution that the EU could make is to reform the common agricultural policy? The Prime Minister told the Liaison Committee last week that he wanted to see the CAP change “fundamentally”. Would that not have been much easier if the Government had not abandoned much of our rebate, without any guarantee of real CAP reform in return?

At a time when people face higher food prices, higher fuel bills and a credit crunch, what they need is a Government who are on their side and able to help. The Prime Minister talks a lot about global oil markets, and clearly those are important issues, but is there not something that he could do, in the UK, to help people who need a car to get to work? First, why does he not scrap his retrospective vehicle excise duty tax hike for next year? Will he at least admit that when he told me from the Dispatch Box that a majority of drivers would benefit, he was wrong? Will he now correct himself and apologise to the House for getting it wrong? Secondly, will he look at our proposal for a fair fuel stabiliser? [Interruption.] People want to know that the outcome of the G8 will be to help people in this country. Will the Prime Minister look at our proposal for a fair fuel stabiliser, so that when the price of oil rises, the Government share the pain with the motorist?

Is it not the case that when the Prime Minister looked at the situation in other G8 countries, he found that far from being the best prepared for global economic uncertainty, Britain is among the worst? France and the United States are cutting taxes to boost people’s living standards. He cannot do that, as he has given us the biggest Budget deficit of not only the G8 countries but all the 55 large economies, apart from Hungary, Egypt and Pakistan. Is that not the true situation? Is that not why, despite all the difficulties people face, the Prime Minister is actually planning to put up taxes next year and the year after?

Of course people welcome the positive reports the Prime Minister has given on developments at the G8, but are they not entitled to something else? Is it not time that the Prime Minister, who for years boasted about an end to boom and bust and about prudence and stability, told us why as the difficult years come he put nothing aside during the good years to help people when they need it?

Let me start with Zimbabwe where I believe that, as on some of the other issues raised, there is common ground. It was a major breakthrough at the G8 that the Russians and other countries agreed we should impose sanctions on Zimbabwe and that a UN envoy should go to Zimbabwe. The Secretary-General was at the G8 and wants to do that immediately. It was a major breakthrough that people agreed that the sanctions should start with the major figures in the Mugabe regime. I do not deny that the European Union has a wider list, but internationally agreed sanctions right across the world to deal with assets held by members of the Mugabe regime in Africa, and assets that we know are held in Asia and perhaps in parts of Europe outside the EU, will be a major prize.

I accept that the United Nations resolution goes further in two major respects, and detailed negotiations are taking place in New York at the moment, but I hope that the whole international community, having seen the statement of the G8 and the statement of the African Union about the illegitimacy of election process, will agree that they should take together the action we propose—sanctions, with the embargo that would happen on arms, and the envoy to Zimbabwe. It is a delicate situation: violence is being practised against members not just of the community in Zimbabwe but of the Opposition party which has a legitimate claim to having won elections to Parliament. It is important that we support the mediation efforts that are taking place, but it is also important that the whole weight of the international community is behind the efforts to secure transition in Zimbabwe. I believe that time is short for that, so it is important that the UN pass its resolution as soon as possible, and I hope that all countries and all continents will get behind it.

The second issue that the right hon. Gentleman raised was climate change. I have to disagree with him: it is major progress that the major countries, including America and the rest of the EU and Japan, have signed up to an international agreement that, if accepted, would mean a cut of 50 per cent. in carbon emissions by 2050. That did not happen a year ago and it has obviously not been possible for many years in our discussions on climate change. For it to happen at the summit is an important step forward.

I do not think the right hon. Gentleman properly appreciated that agreement that there would be a need for interim targets in 2020 and 2025 was also an important step forward. There was a suggestion that countries should provide their national plans to do so. We are not just putting forward proposals that there be targets set that have to be met by our children’s generation, but that there are targets that have to be met by this generation as well.

The developing countries are now readier to sign up to mitigation efforts and to their own standards for meeting the climate change agenda. That will be part of the talks that are about to take place, including all the different summits in the run-up to Copenhagen, as well as a full discussion of climate change issues at the next G8 meeting with the major economies that I have just listed. What makes it possible for developing countries and emerging markets to sign up to targets has not yet been properly recognised as an outcome of the summit—the $150 billion or so being made available through the World Bank as part of public-private partnerships to enable those countries to invest in alternatives to coal-fired power stations and deforestation—so that they can invest long-term in sources of energy that are more environmentally efficient. I believe we have made major progress on the climate change agenda. The right hon. Gentleman raised this, and it is very important that we recognise that Europe is leading the debate; but we can lead the debate only as part of Europe, playing a full part as a member of the European Union, and I hope at some point that at least the sensible voices in the Conservative party will wake up to that.

On food prices, the right hon. Gentleman is absolutely right. We have put forward major changes to the common agricultural policy, which is up for review this year. It is part of the budget settlements of the last few years, and I hope that other members of the European community can be persuaded of the need for major reform of the common agricultural policy.

We need to act on famine now, which is why additional money is being provided by all G8 member countries to deal with the famines in Africa and elsewhere as a result of rising food prices. We need to invest in the equivalent of a green revolution in Africa to complement what happened in Asia, so that Africa ceases to be a net importer of food but, with a population mostly dependent on the land, starts to become a net exporter of food. That will be to their benefit by raising their earnings, and also to that of the rest of the world by reducing food shortages. More and more, the development agenda, the environmental agenda and the economic agenda are coming together and, as I have said to other countries that are looking at their development aid budgets at the moment, it would make no sense for them to cut development aid because it is needed to help Africa with both the agricultural agenda and the environmental agenda.

I disagree with the right hon. Gentleman when he says that we did not do enough on millennium development goals at the summit. It is true that there is legitimate debate among countries about the level of development aid—[Interruption.] The right hon. Gentleman said that countries were not meeting their commitments to the 2010 target. We in Britain are meeting our commitments, and it is right to tell other countries that they, too, should meet their commitments. That is why we try to turn the abstract promises of the past into concrete commitments—what was being said on health, malaria, education and agriculture and dealing with the problems of food.

I come now to the world economy. I hope the right hon. Gentleman has understood the message from the G8 summit: although we can do a great deal in our own countries—we have raised the winter fuel allowance and frozen fuel duty—we have responsibilities to the environmental agenda, as he used to recognise, which is why we are dealing with pollution from cars. There are global problems that require global solutions. Conservative blindness to the need for co-operation in the European Union means the Conservatives do not recognise the need for global action in the way we do. We will continue to work for global co-operation to deal with food, to deal with oil, to deal with commodities and to make for a smoother functioning global economy. I hope all parties will come to recognise that global co-operation and global leadership are now more necessary, not less relevant than before.

I thank the Prime Minister for the advance notice of his statement.

If words could transform the world, the summit would be revolutionary. No one can disagree with the stirring rhetoric about the needs of the developing world, about Zimbabwe and about the urgency of the ongoing trade talks. However, G8 summit words count only if they are translated into action, which is why although of course I welcome the strong language on Zimbabwe and the initiative being taken in the United Nations, I wonder why the Prime Minister has not taken more active steps in practice at home and abroad. For example, nearly three weeks ago I asked him to allow Zimbabwean asylum seekers to have the right to stay in the UK and to work to support themselves before they return home. He said he would think about it. What has he actually decided? What is he actually going to do?

Today, the Prime Minister said—stirringly—that

“our aim is that there will be no safe haven and no hiding place for the criminal cabal that surrounds…Mugabe”.

Of course. Will he go further than the United Nations? As he knows, Zimbabweans cannot be prosecuted by the International Criminal Court at present because they are not signatories to it. However, if the UN Security Council were so to decide, the Prime Minister could tell Mugabe and his henchmen that if they did not give up power within the next six months or so, one step outside Zimbabwe would mean they would be detained and prosecuted by the International Criminal Court. Will the Prime Minister take that step?

I am equally concerned that the Prime Minister is not honouring with action at home the rhetoric on the sharp increase in household gas prices. The G8 has rightly expressed concern—a concern that is particularly acute in the UK, with predictions that household gas prices will increase by 40 per cent. by the winter. As I have asked the Prime Minister several times, why is he not doing what other EU countries have done to recoup the subsidy given to energy-generating companies through the emissions trading scheme to install smart meters and energy-efficient measures in our households, and give real meaningful help to the most vulnerable families struggling to pay their fuel bills? He says that one of the major conclusions of the G8 summit was “radical measures to improve energy efficiency”. Taking steps to revolutionise the energy efficiency of our housing stock would do precisely that, but he seems to refuse to do it on the scale that is needed.

Finally, is it not true that the G8 is struggling to have any real influence over some of the world’s major emerging powers? Much has changed since the 1980s, when the G8 was seen as the boardroom of the world where all the big decisions were taken and everyone else followed. Today, emerging powers such as China and India are a bit like large shareholders, demanding change that the board cannot deliver, and since today is the day for Tory jokes about Heathcliff, I hope that the Prime Minister will agree that the G8 should not die a death like Heathcliff—a man ranting and raving at a world he can no longer understand, control or change. [Interruption.] It is indeed. Does the Prime Minister agree that the G8 should expand to include India and China?

I am grateful for the right hon. Gentleman’s remarks about Zimbabwe, and I shall deal with one of the issues that he has raised. We all agree about the need for sanctions, the need for a UN envoy and the need to report on the human rights situation so that the whole world can see what is happening in Zimbabwe. As the right hon. Gentleman acknowledges, Zimbabwe is not a signatory to the International Criminal Court, but under the sanctions proposals that we have put forward, anybody who tries to leave Zimbabwe will be denied travel access, and that will be clear in the resolution at the United Nations.

The right hon. Gentleman did raise with me the question of people seeking asylum from Zimbabwe, and I did say that we dealt on a case-by-case basis with the right to asylum, and that is still the policy. However, I can confirm that no one is being forced to return to Zimbabwe from the United Kingdom at this time—no one. I can confirm also that we are actively looking at what we can do to support in this country Zimbabweans who are failed asylum seekers, who cannot work and who are prevented from leaving the UK through no fault of their own. They are provided with accommodation and vouchers to ensure that they are not destitute, but we are looking at what we can do to support Zimbabweans in that situation, and we will report back to the House in due course. However, I repeat to the right hon. Gentleman that no one is being forced to return to Zimbabwe at the present time.

The right hon. Gentleman also raised the question of fuel efficiency. The G8 accepted 25 recommendations for greater energy efficiency, and I must say that probably the most controversial one relates to cars and the future of vehicles, with the promotion of electric technology, plug-in vehicles and hybrid cars. I believe that all countries—Japan, the European Union countries and America—can make huge progress on that immediately, and we are putting, I think, £100 million into research to encourage companies to move forward on the issue.

The right hon. Gentleman asked what we are doing to ensure that people have access to cheap energy efficiency measures, such as loft insulation. No Government have done more than this Government to tackle those problems. Three million people are about to benefit from the measures on loft insulation and on draughtproofing, and he seems to forget that we have also signed with the utility companies an agreement that they will provide £100 million next year and £150 million in future years to help low-income households to do exactly what he says should happen. So we have the winter allowance, we have the £150 million that will come from the utility companies, we have our own programme for fuel efficiency and we are doing everything we can to tackle fuel poverty. I accept that in difficult economic times, which every country in the world is experiencing, as we have explained, it is our responsibility to do everything we can to help people in this country.

The reason I think the right hon. Gentleman underestimates the importance of the G8 is that, for the first time, I see a recognition that, when facing an oil shock, food price rises and the credit crunch, we need joint international action to solve such global problems. There will have to be a major reform of the international institutions, the necessity for which we have been promoting for some time anyway—even before the financial shocks. Over the next few months, there will be increasingly co-ordinated action by, and collaboration between, the major economies to do what we can to reduce our dependence on oil, to stabilise the energy market, to deal with the problems of financial instability, to help with the difficulties of food prices and to keep the world economy moving forward. I hope that all parties in the House will support that.

No one would compare my right hon. Friend to Edgar in the novel, so that is some consolation. May I congratulate him on showing a photograph of someone—an Opposition party activist—who was murdered in Zimbabwe? It should, I hope, have awakened in the other G8 leaders further interest in that country’s tyranny, but would it not be totally irresponsible if any member of the Security Council decided to veto the proposed British resolution on sanctions and on the embargo? One hopes that that will not happen, but it would be deplorable if it did.

I am grateful to my hon. Friend, who has taken a huge interest in these matters over time. The major advance is that the whole membership of the G8 supports the need for sanctions. I accept that the UN resolution is more detailed, because it not only asks for the UN envoy to be appointed under specific circumstances, but names 14 individuals, demands that the UN monitor the sanctions over a period—this will affect the whole international community, not just the G8—and calls for an arms embargo. I urge every United Nations member country to support the resolution. There cannot be change in Zimbabwe without the G8 sending the strongest possible message that the international community supports such change, and I hope that United Nations members—even those that in the past have not supported such action on Zimbabwe—will realise that in terms of humanitarian aid, this is an emergency, that a criminal cabal is running a country without legitimacy, and that the people of that country need relief from the miseries to which they are subjected.

The Prime Minister stated that in his meeting with President Medvedev, he addressed the subjects of Litvinenko, the British Council and TNK-BP, but he did not share with the House the President’s response. Will the Prime Minister confirm that when, in fact, he received a very negative response from President Medvedev to each of those three issues, he reminded the President that he had said that the improvement of the rule of law in Russia would be one of the priorities of his presidency? And did the Prime Minister think to suggest to the President that the rule of law means not just that the people obey the law, but that the Government of Russia should, too? The process might start with the three matters to which the Prime Minister referred.

I had a very full discussion with President Medvedev about those issues. The meeting ran substantially over time, because of the detailed discussion of the issues that the right hon. Gentleman raises. I reminded the President that the British Council was operating within the rule of law and that it was completely unfair to deal with the British Council as the Russians did. I hope that its full position will be restored as soon as possible. On BP, I made it absolutely clear that the visa decision was not a commercial issue, but an issue for the Administration themselves, and that whatever were the difficulties with the commercial relationship between two Russian companies, the Russian Government had a duty to look at the visas. I made it clear also that the Litvinenko issue would not be closed. We have justice to do on the part of someone who was murdered on British soil, and the current position is not acceptable.

I congratulate the Prime Minister on the strong and principled leadership that he showed at the G8 summit, and on Zimbabwe I welcome the sanctions measures that he announced. However, will he consider three additional measures: first, to return home the ruling clique’s sons, daughters and other relatives who are being expensively educated abroad; secondly, to ban all Air Zimbabwe flights to the European Union, including Britain, and internationally; and thirdly, to discuss with the South African Government their continued supply of electricity, which enables Mugabe and his ruling clique to escape the universal and persistent cuts that are imposed on almost everybody else? Finally, as a fellow anti-apartheid activist of decades ago, my right hon. Friend will recall that exactly the same arguments were used against sanctions on South Africa as are now being used against sanctions on Mugabe. They were wrong then and they are wrong now.

I am grateful to my right hon. Friend, who has a long-standing interest and suffered a great deal from his involvement in anti-apartheid campaigns over many years. He is absolutely right that many things must be considered, and he mentioned the supply of electricity and energy from South Africa to Zimbabwe, but I must say that the starting point is to have the whole international community imposing sanctions. It is all very well for one country or one continent to take action, but it works successfully only when we have the whole international community behind what we are doing so that the regime is genuinely isolated from the whole international community.

We have now started work in the United Kingdom to identify assets in other countries of Africa, where we know they exist, in Asia, where we believe that the regime’s members have assets stocked away, and, of course, in America and Europe. We are doing a forensic assessment to identify the physical assets, the bank accounts and the financial holdings of those 14 main people, who are part of the Mugabe cabal. That is the first step, and it is my hope that we will have the whole international community behind us so that the full pressure is felt on the Zimbabwean Administration.

Both the Prime Minister and my right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition have emphasised the importance of the Doha round. Will the Prime Minister take this opportunity to express his support for Commissioner Mandelson against the attacks made on him by the President of France? Does the Prime Minister agree with me that the tragic irony of the situation is that the root cause of Commissioner Mandelson’s difficulties lies in the disastrous decision taken by Tony Blair to renew the common agricultural policy for a further 10 years—a decision that has made it impossible for the European Union to make the constructive contribution to the Doha round that we would all like to see?

I am sure that the European Trade Commissioner will be delighted at the support given him by the former Leader of the Opposition; if I may do so, I shall convey the right hon. and learned Gentleman’s support directly to him. The right hon. and learned Gentleman may have noted the comments of the President of France only yesterday in Japan. He said that he, too, would support a deal that was against the protectionist sentiments that were flowing around the world and he called on other countries, including Argentina and Brazil, to play their part in making a trade deal possible.

The European Union is making concessions on tariffs and subsidies, and the American Government are also making concessions on subsidies. It is important that the whole world should see that changes are also being made in the industrialising and emerging-market countries of the world. That formed part of my discussions with President Lula. A deal is available. Obviously, Europe and America have to contribute to it; so, too, do all the other parts of the world, which have to make it possible for trade to be opened up, not just in agriculture but in manufacturing goods and services. I believe that in the next few days we will see whether that deal is possible. We will do everything to make it happen.

Is the Prime Minister aware that at the very moment when he was meeting the President of Russia for his welcome but delicate discussions to rebuild bilateral relations, without making concessions, MI5 officers were scurrying around London, talking and spinning to the media to do everything to undermine the Prime Minister’s initiative? Is he not aware that things are out of control as regards our security and intelligence services, particularly MI5? The situation is worse than that during the Wilson period. There is no parliamentary oversight of the services’ conduct, whom they speak to and where they meet them. It is time that some control was brought by this place on their conduct, which ultimately undermines his policies and initiatives.

I do not agree with what my hon. Friend says, but he will be pleased to know that, as part of the opening up of the debate about our security services, there will next week be a debate on those very issues of our security. That has been made possible by the Government. We are making changes in the Intelligence and Security Committee so that it is more responsible to the House of Commons. My hon. Friend will have the chance to debate and examine the national security strategy that is put forward. There is more transparency than ever before in how we can examine and scrutinise the working of our security services.

Although I welcome the new extra package of aid for Africa in what seems a renewed commitment on the Gleneagles agreement, I remind the Prime Minister that less than 20 per cent. of what was agreed in Perthshire has made its way through. How will we catch up, given that only two years are left in the Gleneagles arrangement, and when can Africa expect the money?

Ten million more children will receive education as a result of a decision made only this week. That means that since 2000, when we set the millennium development goal, 44 million children will have received education and another 10 million will in the next year. That is us making progress towards meeting the goals set at Gleneagles. Take the provision of malaria nets: 100 million malaria nets have been promised, and they will save tens of thousands of lives as a result of our decision.

Take health as a whole. I was asked by the Leader of the Opposition, and probably did not reply in detail, about the issue of HIV/AIDS. The very fact that we have agreed a timetable for $60 million to be spent over five years means that money will go directly this year, next year and the year after to HIV/AIDS and the alleviation of other diseases—from polio, to tuberculosis, to pneumococcus and other diseases that need to be treated. We are trying to turn promises at Gleneagles that were made sometimes more generally, without being time-specific, into concrete actions. I must say that that is possible only because we are part of a United Kingdom that has weight around the world in pushing the proposals and getting agreement from the big nations. It could not happen under the Scottish National party.

My right hon. Friend has long championed the millennium development goals as a means of tackling poverty internationally. As a result, our country is recognised as a world leader on committing aid. I congratulate him on persuading other European leaders to do their bit to honour their Gleneagles commitments. I ask him to ensure that the millennium development goals are not jettisoned as we try to tackle the current fuel and food crisis. What we need now—perhaps more than ever—is the longer-term strategic thinking that he has spelled out this morning.

I am grateful to my right hon. Friend, who was taking a huge interest in these matters long before he was a Member of Parliament and who has taken the same interest for all the time that he has been one. I congratulate him on the proposals that he has put forward to us over time on meeting the millennium development targets.

My right hon. Friend is absolutely right. The easiest thing in the world at the moment would be for countries faced with their own economic difficulties to cut the aid and support that they give the poorest countries, but that would be short-sighted and the wrong decision to take. Why? Because there is not only a moral obligation on our part to honour the commitments that we have made, but we will not solve our problems over food, energy, climate change and economic development unless we can involve the poorest countries—the developing countries and the emerging markets. That is why it is right to give $10 billion to support agriculture in Africa. That is why it is right also to give $100 billion in public-private money to fund energy-intensive and energy-efficient developments in the poorest countries. That is why it is also right that $60 billion is committed over five years to make sure that the health commitments that we have made are properly honoured. I will continue to argue that this is the time for us to build a stronger relationship with the developing countries, not to weaken our commitments to them.

Bearing in mind the fact that Japan has already banned the futures market in rice and that India has banned the export of rice, did the Prime Minister make any suggestions to other members of the G8 about steps that could be taken to curb the speculative manipulation of world food markets in ways that could threaten the social stability of many of the poorest countries?

The hon. Gentleman makes a very important point about the operation of markets in food. The fact is that 26 countries have placed bans on exports of food. Therefore they are making it impossible for other countries that may be able to and should have access to food to deal with famine to have that support. I think that the hon. Gentleman would agree that only 7 per cent. of rice is traded internationally. The biggest problem is not speculation, but production. It is important to recognise that we must get countries in different parts of the world that have either cut back production of these basic staples or are simply producing for themselves, to think of themselves as exporters for the future. That is why it is important to stimulate what some people call the green revolution a second time—but this time not only in Asia, but right across the world.

My right hon. Friend referred to his discussion with President Medvedev about Iran. Was he able to impress on the Russian President that Russia’s interest in making sure that Iran does not develop nuclear weapons is just as big as everybody else’s? Was my right hon. Friend able to get a commitment from President Medvedev that Russia would use its undoubted influence with Iran, which we need it to apply, to make sure that Iran does not take the road to nuclear weapons and that Russia will play its part in bringing Iran to the table?

I am grateful to my hon. Friend, who is an expert on this issue, as he is on many foreign policy issues. He knows that an offer has been made to Iran that it abandons its nuclear weapon ambitions and is instead given the guarantee of civil nuclear power. He also knows that that is part of an international offer that Russia is very much at the centre of and supports. Our discussions at the G8 on Iran included Russia promising that it would stick with us in this effort. First, we must try to get Iran to agree to the new offer that has been made, and then, if Iran is not prepared to take up that offer, we will have to consider further sanctions, I hope with Russian support.

Russia has made the offer that we have also made, and which has now come from the Foreign Minister of Saudi Arabia as well, that there should be a uranium enrichment bank that is held outside the countries that would benefit from it—that is, the nuclear powers making uranium available on terms that would mean that there was security of supply. Iran could be one of the first countries to benefit from that. That is very much a real proposal that is gaining ground throughout the world. I hope that as part of our discussions with Iran and other countries, the idea of an internationally recognised and validated uranium bond or bank can help us to solve these very difficult problems about avoiding nuclear proliferation.

May I reinforce the sentiment not only in this House but among many of our constituents about the need to see an urgent end to the Doha round? World conditions are making that even more imperative. If the ministerial meeting on 21 July is not a success, what is the Government’s fall-back position? Does it include considering whether the EU might take unilateral action to reduce its trade barriers in order to break the deadlock?

The hon. Gentleman is right that the EU can do things; it has already offered unilaterally to remove many of its restrictions on trade with Africa. As he will agree, the importance of a world trade agreement is that every continent of the world is involved—that is the prize. It would not be enough for the EU to take action and for America not to reduce its agricultural subsidies, and it would certainly be of no great benefit to the poorest countries of the world if some of the major continents were not involved. He is absolutely right that we must move forward with an attempt to get an agreement on 21 July. I believe that the director general of the World Trade Organisation is about to produce additional proposals for that. We will give him the support that we can in getting an agreement.

As I say, not only Europe and America but the developing countries and emerging markets must play a part in making this deal possible. I talked to President Lula, Prime Minister Singh and President Mbeki, all of whom have a major part to play in making this possible. I am convinced that these major world leaders want this deal to happen; we must now get through the remaining difficulties that have been the bottleneck to negotiations succeeding over the past year. I think that that is possible, and all our efforts over the next few days will be towards making it possible.

The Prime Minister should know that all of us in Parliament and outside Parliament who have campaigned on Zimbabwe for many years know that the seismic change in international attitudes to Zimbabwe, particularly the unanimous decision that it is an illegitimate regime, would not have happened without the personal dedication and commitment that he has given, not only at the G8 but over the past six months or so. I think that all Zimbabweans in this country will want to thank him. Does he agree that it would be absolutely shocking if something happened that allowed Mugabe still to attend the Beijing Olympics?

I am grateful to my hon. Friend, who has taken a long-term interest in the difficulties that are faced by all races in Zimbabwe as a result of the actions of the Mugabe regime. We are determined to move forward with sanctions, and it is very important that we get the support of the rest of the international community. I want to persuade other countries that this is now the right thing to do, and all our efforts in New York are about achieving that end. We must remember that this is a very important change, with an international envoy, international sanctions and an international arms embargo, and we are negotiating the details today and tomorrow.

I wholeheartedly welcome the Prime Minister’s statement, in the context of energy security and climate change, that the challenge cannot be resolved by one country or group of countries acting alone. Does that mean that having abandoned unilateralism in defence he is now abandoning unilateralism in climate change, and that the Climate Change Bill will be amended so that it spells out what we are prepared to do, which, according to the Bill’s own cost assessment, involves a programme of more than £200 billion, but that that is not unilaterally binding on this country and becomes legally binding only if sufficient other countries sign up to similar commitments?

I agree with the right hon. Gentleman: this is an international problem that requires an international solution. We are 1 per cent. of the world’s population, and we need other countries to work with us, not only the G8 countries but the whole of the rest of the world. I see a determination on the part of developing countries and emerging markets also to be part of a new agreement at Copenhagen, and I hope that we can work to achieve that.

I hope that the right hon. Gentleman will also acknowledge that we need to make decisions in this country so that we can play our part in reducing our dependence on oil. That requires us to make a decision on nuclear power, which I hope all the Opposition parties will now support. It also requires us to make difficult decisions on wind power, on which we have not previously had the wholehearted support of Opposition parties. If we are to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, we will need to expand both nuclear power and renewables, and I hope that we can still build a consensus in this country on the need to do that.

In contrast to the backward, little England approach to climate change that we have just heard, may I urge my right hon. Friend to embrace the ideas that have been endorsed by President Sarkozy, Chancellor Merkel, Prime Minister Singh, and more lately by Lord Stern and Professor Ross Garnaut, who is advising the Australian Prime Minister—namely, that we should converge our carbon emissions on a per capita basis, which would provide us with the metric that we can use as a base mark to measure our concrete commitments?

Those are all issues that are part of the negotiations. I know that my hon. Friend is an expert on these matters and was part of a study that the Commonwealth undertook into these issues, and I look forward to hearing what he has to say further on that. The fact is that we have an opportunity over the next few months to get a worldwide agreement on cutting carbon emissions by at least 50 per cent.—it could be higher than that for the European Union and the United Kingdom. We have the chance to get an interim target, and I believe that we also have the chance to get the developing countries and emerging markets to accept commitments that are binding for the future. That must be the primary goal, and I believe that we can get agreement around the kind of discussion that we had yesterday in Japan.

Returning to the Prime Minister’s G8 discussions on measures that will help people to cope in the current economic climate, will he now answer a question posed earlier by the Leader of the Opposition and do so by apologising to the House for stating very clearly at Question Time on 4 June that the majority of motorists would benefit from the road tax proposals, particularly bearing in mind his own Treasury’s figures, which have just been published?

I have spoken to the House on this matter on a number of occasions. I have made it absolutely clear, first, that our policy on tackling pollution used to have the support of the Opposition parties, and secondly, that our policy is fair to people who have the least polluting cars as well as trying to take action against polluting. When I made the comments that I did on 4 June, the Leader of the Opposition said:

“He says that next year, half of all motorists will be better off or no worse off; that is what he has just said.”—[Official Report, 4 June 2008; Vol. 476, c. 765.]

I congratulate the Prime Minister on the real progress that has been made on climate change, although there are clearly details to be decided between now and the UN summit in Copenhagen in 2009. He will have seen the outcome of the GLOBE International legislators’ conference in Tokyo, which was presented directly to the Japanese Prime Minister and involved the participation of Members on both sides of this House in a very valuable way. Two of the contributions at that forum came from Barack Obama and John McCain, who gave very strong support to real changes in the American position on climate change. Has that position been noted by the leaders of the G8 plus 5, and has it had an influence on them?

The G8 itself has said that we look forward to a situation where there can be, under an international agreement, a 50 per cent. cut in carbon emissions by 2050. Equally, we note that John McCain has made a commitment that is similar, and indeed goes beyond that, as has Barack Obama. We look forward to next year’s Copenhagen negotiations knowing that there is a growing degree of support for an international agreement that will contain a very big cut in carbon emissions but also support for developing countries and emerging markets so that they too can play their part in reducing carbon emissions in the longer term.

Further to the Prime Minister’s comments about the importance of the Doha trade round, does he recognise that the protectionist tendency still runs strongly in France and other European countries? That conflicts with and compromises the British position, which is agreed by Members of all parties, for open trade and the reduction of trade barriers for the benefit of the poorest countries. Will he ensure, therefore, that the British Government are represented directly, at a high ministerial level, in future Doha trade negotiations, and that we offer to participate in liberal trading measures with poorer countries regardless of the attitude of protectionist countries in Europe?

We do that already, but as I have said before, the key thing is to get a world trade deal. It is to everybody’s advantage, particularly those in developing countries, that there are not just bilateral agreements, but that everyone plays their part in making world trade move more freely. I referred to the comments of the President of France a few minutes ago. He urged people to move from their protectionist sentiments, and he called on Argentina and Brazil to make possible a world trade deal. There is a common European position, which is being put at the ministerial gathering on 21 July.