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Speaker’s Statement

Volume 698: debated on Wednesday 30 June 2021

Before we come to today’s business, I would like to remind the House that today is International Day of Parliamentarism. The Inter-Parliamentary Union’s Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians, which protects MPs under threat, says it has found many examples of politicians being persecuted simply for doing their job. In recent experience, Members of this House, peers and others have faced sanctions from China for speaking out against the human rights violations of the Uyghur people. That is completely unacceptable— I stress, completely unacceptable. The ability to speak out on things that matter to us, however controversial, is a basic human right of every British citizen. Members of this House must be able to speak out fiercely on behalf of their constituents, and on important national and international issues. That is why, with colleagues from the British group of the Inter-Parliamentary Union, I was delighted to attend the flag raising in New Palace Yard this morning to mark this special day, the principles of which, I am sure, all Members will support.