The UK has long supported the promotion of our values globally. We are clear that more trade does not have to come at the expense of human rights. Although our approach to agreements will vary between partners, our strong economic relationships allow us to have open discussions on a range of issues, including human rights and responsibilities.
In a leaked recording last month, the Foreign Secretary said he wants to do trade deals with countries that violate international standards on human rights, as not doing so would mean missing out on profit. Will the record now be set straight? Does the Minister recognise the remarks made by the Foreign Secretary as Government policy and is this the view shared by the Department for International Trade?
I think the hon. Lady has misquoted the Foreign Secretary in her account of what he said, but let me be absolutely clear that we will continue to encourage all states to uphold international human rights obligations. The UK has long supported the promotion of our values globally and remains absolutely committed to its international obligations. We are currently negotiating with Australia, New Zealand and the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership. They will all be important partners and they are all places that the UK will be engaging with when it comes to questions of maintenance and international support for global human rights.
I will make the Minister’s life a bit easier when answering the question. Last month, the Foreign Secretary explained that there were some countries whose behaviour on human rights put them “beyond the pale” when it comes to trade agreements, but that otherwise we should be open to deals with anyone. Can the Minister of State save us some time by listing those countries whose behaviour the Government regard as beyond the pale and those that they regard as acceptable?
Again, I will have to go back and see exactly what the Foreign Secretary said, but I think the hon. Gentleman’s interpretation of what he said is not quite right. Let us be absolutely clear. I ask him to have a look at the roll-over trade agreements we have already done with 66 countries and see if he can identify any diminution of human rights in the agreements we have already done.