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Thailand: Politics and Government

Volume 486: debated on Tuesday 13 January 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what estimate he has made of the number of UK citizens who were caught up in the recent blockade of Bangkok's two main airports; and if he will make a statement. (240327)

At this time of year approximately 1,000 British nationals are estimated to fly in to Thailand each day. During the blockade approximately 1,250 stranded British nationals registered with us using our online registration service, LOCATE. By 4 December the information available from the major airlines flying to/from Thailand suggested there were a maximum of 2,000 British nationals in Thailand who remained unable to leave as a result of the disruption. However, many were able to get seats on flights on 5 December, Suvarnabhumi International Airport's first day back at full operation, and over the subsequent weekend.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent assessment he has made of the political situation in Thailand. (243682)

The political situation in Thailand remains uncertain. The Thai Constitutional Court ruled on 2 December to dissolve three government coalition parties, including the People’s Power Party, and banned executive members of the parties, including Prime Minister Somchai, from politics for five years. The leader of the Democrat Party, Abhisit Vejjavija, was elected Prime Minister on 15 December and is in the process of forming a new government. However, we cannot rule out the possibility of further demonstrations and violent unrest. We continue to urge all parties to resolve their differences peacefully, respecting the rule of law and Thailand’s democratic institutions.