The US State Department has defended freedom of expression and explicitly called for the charges against Ebrahim Sharif to be dropped, whereas the Foreign Office has merely expressed concern. Does the Minister believe that such prevarication will convince the Government of Bahrain to drop those charges?
The hon. Lady touches on a matter on which I feel I am developing a relationship with the Scottish National party. The United Kingdom and the United States have different relationships with Bahrain in terms of the style, the approach and the strategy that we use to influence countries in the Gulf and to advance the democratic process. We have a closer relationship with Bahrain, in which we can have frank conversations. We might not have put out a press statement on this matter—we might not have made the headlines in that sense—but I can assure her that we are having frank conversations with the aim of improving policing, the rule of law and democratic rights. This is happening; the hon. Lady just does not see it all the time.