Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:33 pm on 13th November 2017.

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Photo of Boris Johnson Boris Johnson Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs 3:33 pm, 13th November 2017

I am more than happy to say again what I said to the right hon. Lady last week: yes, of course, I apologise for the distress and the suffering that have been caused by the impression that I gave that the Government believed—that I believed—that Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe was in Iran in a professional capacity. She was there on holiday, and that is the view of—[Hon. Members: “Say sorry!”] I do apologise, and of course I retract any suggestion that she was there in a professional capacity. Opposition Members must have heard that from me about a dozen times.

The right hon. Lady asked an important question about diplomatic protection and how that would work. She is absolutely right that that is a question that Richard Ratcliffe himself has raised with me. All I can say is that I will be answering Mr Ratcliffe. I cannot give her an answer today; I would rather answer Mr Ratcliffe in person. I am delighted to say that I am seeing him tomorrow, and I will be explaining the position on diplomatic protection. As I said last week, he has requested to come to Tehran. I do not know whether that will be possible, but we will see what we can do.