Clause 33 — Extent

Part of Bill Presented — Sustainability of Livestock Farming and Food Production (Strategy) – in the House of Commons at 6:30 pm on 23rd March 2010.

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Photo of Bill Cash Bill Cash Conservative, Stone 6:30 pm, 23rd March 2010

I participated in a Westminster Hall debate initiated by Jeremy Corbyn only a few days ago on the issue of the British overseas territories, particularly the two just mentioned. The Chagos island disputes and the whole question of Diego Garcia were considered, as was the extent to which there were continuing problems of displacement and compensation and whether people could return to their properties. My hon. Friend Mr. Lidington alluded to aspects of those problems.

There is no doubt, on the basis of what Mr. Davey said and other evidence-or, at least, other assertions-that cluster munitions are stockpiled or lying in those territories. The formula adopted in clause 33(3) is not that unusual, but if we leave aside the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man, which I do think are likely to present problems, we need to look at the acute difficulty arising for the British overseas territories, particularly those mentioned by me, by my hon. Friend the Member for Aylesbury and by the hon. Member for Kingston and Surbiton. It is essential to clarify this matter, because there will otherwise be a serious contradiction.

Because these are British overseas territories, all the debates we have had about the interaction between ourselves and, say, the United States or other allies, arise in a very practical sense in this provision. This is about cluster munitions, the question of nationality, the question of residence and territorial rights and the question of whether cluster munitions are in a certain place. We should leave aside Afghanistan, where there is an essential, immediate and practical clear and present danger of these provisions impinging on persons within the jurisdiction of the UK. We are looking for a very specific answer from the Minister. I am sure he has got one, but I hope that it is going to be satisfactory.

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