Ilois People

Oral Answers to Questions — Prime Minister – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 17th January 2001.

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Photo of Mr Tam Dalyell Mr Tam Dalyell Labour, Linlithgow 12:00 am, 17th January 2001

If he will discuss with the President of the Seychelles the return of Ibis people to the land of their ancestral graves, when he next visits the Seychelles.

Photo of Tony Blair Tony Blair Prime Minister

I know that my hon. Friend has a long association with this subject that goes back some 30 years. Indeed, he recently secured a debate on it in Westminster Hall. Unfortunately, I have no immediate plans to visit the Seychelles. However, as he knows, a team of independent consultants is currently assessing the feasibility of resettlement of the outer islands of the territory. We await its conclusions.

Photo of Mr Tam Dalyell Mr Tam Dalyell Labour, Linlithgow

Against the background of that hour-long Westminster Hall Adjournment debate, how about establishing an Anglo-American tribunal on compensation?

Photo of Tony Blair Tony Blair Prime Minister

This is where the briefing runs out, so I shall have to get back to my hon. Friend on that. However, as he knows—probably better than I do—a High Court case is currently examining whether resettlement is possible. Two ex gratia payments of some £4 million were made to specific people for resettlement, most recently in 1982.

We are currently conducting feasibility studies on the possibility of resettlement. I am not aware of the Americans doing that, but I shall find out as a result of my hon. Friend's question and write to him.