Almost half the members of the committee are from Hong Kong, and there are at least two clear stages on two different drafts where the Basic Law will go out for wide consultation. If the Basic Law bears a resemblance to what the hon. Gentleman claims it will bear a resemblance to, people in Hong Kong will make many points, some of which may or may not be similar to the points made by the hon. Gentleman.
At the end of the elaborate consultation process we will wish to see—and I am confident that we shall see—a Basic Law which fully implements the terms of the Sino-British joint declaration. The drafting of the Basic Law is the sovereign right of the Government of the People's Republic of China, but the implementation of the joint declaration through the Basic Law is a matter in which we and the House have a legitimate interest.
My right hon. and learned Friend the Foreign Secretary assured the House in the debate on 20 January that it was the solemn responsibility of the British Government to administer Hong Kong up to 30 June 1997 in the best interests of its people. We shall discharge the responsibility to the utmost of our ability. There is no question of Her Majesty's Government in any way letting Hong Kong down.
We shall also seek to ensure that the Sino-British joint declaration is fully and faithfully implemented, so as to preserve confidence in Hong Kong and to create a firm basis for Hong Kong's future stability and prosperity. Those are objectives to which the British and Chinese Governments are firmly committed. I am sure that the House will wish to join me in endorsing those objectives and the policies that we are pursuing in order to achieve them.