Parliament resumed and Labour MP’s complained that they had to observe social distancing in a queue of a few hundred yards in order to vote, adding an extra 30 mins to the usual voting procedure time; many of the public queue for 30 minutes on a daily basis for the supermarket and pharmacy without complaint. Virtual participation is only for MPs who have self-certified they are unable to attend parliament for medical or public health reasons related to the pandemic, MPs who are at high risk from coronavirus because they are clinically vulnerable can arrange for their vote to be cast by proxy.
UK is opposed the new national security law China is imposing on Hong Kong which curtails current freedoms and autonomy. PM Boris Johnson said “Britain wants nothing more than for Hong Kong to succeed under ‘one country, two systems’. I hope that China wants the same. Let us work together to make it so”.
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said, “Even at this stage I sincerely hope China will reconsider its approach. But if not, the UK will not just look the other way when it comes to the people of Hong Kong.”
Johnson and Home Secretary Priti Patelare prepared to give nearly 3million Hong Kongers yearly extendable visa rights, which after 3-5years, depending on personal circumstances, would be a path breaking way to British citizenship.How long will Hong Kong remainUK’s top investment destination in Asia is anyone’s guess; Sam Bowman and Bruno Macaes have mooted reviving Nobel Prize winning economist Paul Romer’s idea of new a charter city,Hong Kong 2.0 on the shores of UK.
A charter city is a city granted a special jurisdiction to create a new governance system, post-Brexit this could present UK with an unprecedent economic fillip using all the entrepreneurial expertise exiting from Hong Kong.
Meanwhile geopolitical pandemic tensions have urged UK’sNational Cyber Security Council to rethink Huawei’s role in UK’s 5G, officials are in talks with Japan’s NEC-Rakuten and South Korea’s Samsung.
Kashmir seems to be a popular topic for virtual conferences for those with nothing better to do during the lockdown.
MP Paul Bristow vice-chair of APPG Kashmir chaired an event in which seven Tory MP’s took part on 17 May. On 31 May Masood Khan addressed guests of Fahim Kayani, Chairman of Tehreek-e-Kashmir UK, including Hurriyat Leaders and six members of Labour’s Shadow Cabinet including Rebecca Long-Bailey, and three Conservative MPs.
On 3 June a new group that emerged on 2 March called ‘Conservative Friends of Kashmir’ chaired by Conservative MP James Daly joined a Zoom meeting organised by the Jammu and Kashmir self-determination movement and Raja Najabat Hussain. Many familiar names were on the guest list: Debbie Abrahams, Naz Shah, Tanmanjeet Singh and surprisingly Angela Rayner Shadow First Secretary of State, Ms Rayner must have acquired the permission of Labour Leader Keir Starmer to attend such an event.
Before the general election Labour’s relationship with British Indians had deteriorated to a new low. After Keir Starmer was elected Labour leader,he apparently repositioned Labour on Kashmir, following a meeting with Labour Friends of India on 30th April, Starmer said
“We must not allow issues of the sub-continent to divide communities here…Any constitutional issues in India are a matter for the Indian Parliament, and Kashmir is a bilateral issue for India and Pakistan to resolve peacefully.”
But early in May ‘The Socialist Campaign Group’,which includes Shadow Cabinet members and Labour front benchers, released a statement expressing “solidarity with the people of Kashmir in their struggle against the world’s largest military occupation”. Labour’s socialist activists and Momentum have openly opposed Starmer’s policy.
In late April Keir Starmer reached out to British Indians writing to Mrs Trupti Patel of the Hindu Forum Britain, Starmer quotes his revised India policy as above and writes “under my leadership I will ensure that the Labour party does not use this dispute happening on the subcontinent to divide our communities in the UK. The Labour Party has a long and warm relationship with India and I want to see that continue.”
The following week Starmer wrote to Mrs Ifath Nawaz of the Muslim Council Great Britain “Our position on Kashmir has not changed, we support and recognise previous UN resolutions on the rights of the Kashmiri people, but maintain if we are to find a lasting settlement, to end this ongoing conflict, that can only be achieved if India and Pakistan working together, with the people of Kashmir.”Starmer has a reputation for blowing with the wind and this looks like a prime example.
The so-called Conservative Friends of Kashmir group seem to have an anti-India agenda, promoting international interference in an internal matter.
Although a letter from the Deputy Chairman of Blackburn Conservatives to constituents pretends the Conservative Party have officially organised the group, this seems more like a localassociation pandering to local politics.