Skip to main content


Volume 627: debated on Tuesday 11 July 2017

8. What discussions he has had with his international counterparts on the breakdown in the rule of law in Venezuela. (900345)

My colleagues and I are in close contact with our international counterparts, including most recently at the Organisation of American States summit in Cancun last month. I issued a very strong statement on 6 July, utterly condemning the 5 July attack on Venezuela’s National Assembly and its elected Members, and calling for the Venezuelan Government to uphold the constitution and show respect for democratic institutions. That statement was echoed by many colleagues across the world.

The Leader of the Opposition described the regime in Venezuela as offering an “alternative agenda” from which we could learn. The alternative agenda has seen the economy collapse and poverty increase. It has seen scores of people killed in civil unrest and now an attempt to undermine both the elected Congress and the independent attorney general. Will my right hon. Friend confirm that Her Majesty’s Government strongly condemn the attempt by the Maduro regime to rewrite the constitution and rub out democracy?

The Leader of the Opposition does seem to be a great fan of the Venezuelan Government, giving a passable impression himself of Fidel Castro, one sometimes thinks. What is happening to the Venezuelan economy gives us a clear indication of what would happen to the UK economy if ever the right hon. Gentleman were Prime Minister.

What practical steps have the British Government taken to deal with famine on the border between Venezuela and Colombia?

There are no easy such attempts; we do not have a bilateral programme, but we are in touch with the United Nations. The hon. Lady’s very question illustrates the extent to which the Venezuelan Government have driven their own people to poverty; they are running short of the some of the most basic goods on which they have to live.