Topical debates — Kenya

Part of Business of the House – in the House of Commons at 2:33 pm on 17th January 2008.

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Photo of Meg Munn Meg Munn Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign and Commonwealth Office) 2:33 pm, 17th January 2008

I do not have that information to hand. Perhaps I can write to the hon. Lady about it after this debate, although she may be aware that the issue was not my personal responsibility.

Problems started as votes began to be counted. The domestic and EU observer missions have reported serious irregularities in the tallying process for the presidential elections. I can tell the hon. Member for Mid-Norfolk that the EU observer mission will release its final report on 4 February.

The UK's position is that we are working closely with our allies. A number of hon. Members, including my hon. Friend the Member for City of York, who speaks with great authority, rightly said that it is not for us to be prescriptive. We are therefore working with our allies—the US, and our European and African partners—to support efforts to resolve the crisis in Kenya. The UK wants Kenyan politicians to live up to their responsibilities and agree a way forward. Crucially, we are supporting the mission led by Kofi Annan to assist them in doing so.

A number of hon. Members called for a rerun of the elections, although I recognise that they appreciated the problems of doing so straight away. We want African mediation to help the parties agree a way forward, but it is not for us to prescribe the outcome of that mediation.

Briefly, on consular issues, we are not advising British nationals to leave—we are currently providing consular support—but we are advising against all but essential travel to Kenya. We keep our advice updated, and we want to ensure both that consular support is in place and that British citizens in Kenya are informed of what is happening.

To conclude, there is a unanimous view throughout the House that the situation needs to be resolved—

It being one and a half hours after the commencement of proceedings, the motion lapsed, without Question put, pursuant to Temporary Standing Order (Topical Debates).