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Thailand: Politics and Government

Volume 486: debated on Thursday 15 January 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will take steps in the light of the blockade of Bangkok’s two main airports to ensure that UK citizens who are caught up in protests or blockades in other countries can be (a) kept fully informed and (b) returned to the UK as soon as possible; and if he will make a statement. (240322)

As we did in Thailand following the blockade of Bangkok airports, we will use Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) Travel Advice and the local diplomatic mission’s website to provide practical, objective, accurate and up-to-date information to British nationals caught up in similar protests and blockades. We also encourage British nationals to register their overseas travel through the FCO’s online travel registration system called LOCATE. British nationals can use LOCATE to tell us where they are travelling and register their contact details. It only takes a few minutes to register with LOCATE and the facility can be found on the FCO’s website, alongside our Travel Advice pages. If a British national registers with LOCATE and an incident similar to the airport blockades in Bangkok occurs, our diplomatic mission in the country and crisis response teams in the UK can use the listed contact details to keep people fully informed.

During the disruption in Thailand we have been in close contact with airlines that have the majority of British ticket holders and have consistently encouraged them to lay on additional flights and honour their responsibilities to their ticket holders. As and when additional emergency flights were scheduled during the blockade, we passed on details of those British nationals who had contacted us to the flight organisers. We understand that many British nationals were able to leave Thailand as a result. Given a similar situation in another country we would expect to take all appropriate and necessary action to ensure British nationals are given similar assistance if required.