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Volume 539: debated on Wednesday 1 February 2012

The coalition Government have doubled British aid to Burma. If progress on political reform continues, we will be able to do much more.

Does my right hon. Friend consider that there is sufficient substance to the reforms in Burma? Is he confident that money provided by DFID for humanitarian relief is getting to the areas where it is needed, such as the Chin state?

My hon. Friend poses the key question of whether these reforms are real. The fact that the regime in Burma has now released nearly all its political prisoners—particularly Min Ko Naing whom many Members campaigned to see released—is an enormously encouraging sign. The real test will come with the 48 by-elections due to take place before April. We will see how those elections are conducted and whether they are free and fair. If they are, that will be the most eloquent possible answer to my hon. Friend’s question.