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Promoting Democracy and Human Rights

Part of Points of Order – in the House of Commons at 4:34 pm on 13th October 2008.

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Photo of Malcolm Rifkind Malcolm Rifkind Conservative, Kensington and Chelsea 4:34 pm, 13th October 2008

I deliberately waited to see whether the Minister was concluding her speech. It is striking that in a debate that is intended to show the Government's approach to promoting democracy and human rights, the Minister has so far concentrated entirely on soft power, not hard power. She will be aware that she is a member of a Government that for their first 10 years, under Tony Blair, made a virtue of arguing that military means would have to be used from time to time, such as in Kosovo and Iraq, either to promote democracy or for regime change. Should the House interpret the absence of even the slightest reference to that in her speech as she approaches her concluding remarks as meaning that the Government, under the new Prime Minister, no longer believe in that approach and are unlikely to pursue it in the way that we saw during the first 10 years of this Labour Government?

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