Uk Relations: Saudi Arabia

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:49 pm on 7th March 2018.

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Photo of Anna Soubry Anna Soubry Conservative, Broxtowe 12:49 pm, 7th March 2018

I would never do such a thing, Mr Speaker.

As you know, Mr Speaker, I am a feminist. When I was a Health Minister—serving in the same Government as Sir Vince Cable, I might add—I had the honour to lead a delegation to Saudi Arabia, as a woman, obviously. At no time did I find any prejudice or disrespect, and I was quite surprised about that.

I commend all my right hon. Friend the Minister’s fine words. Does he agree that although we are obviously a long way from seeing in the Kingdom the sort of rights that we would expect of any modern civilised society, the best way to achieve those rights and to influence that country is to have firm conversations and a good relationship in private?