Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:34 pm on 15th March 2018.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Mark Field Mark Field Minister of State 12:34 pm, 15th March 2018

The hon. Gentleman is absolutely right: we would not seek for returns to be anything other than voluntary, so we must be patient.

It is also worth pointing out that the Foreign and Commonwealth Office has been engaged in a concerted effort of lobbying other nations. Certainly since the Foreign Secretary arrived back, this is an issue that we raise not just with ASEAN states, but with countries such as China, Japan, Australia and New Zealand, to make it clear that we need collectively to work—potentially as a matter of great urgency—both on the humanitarian side, which is where I think the urgency will be needed, and on the diplomatic side, where we will have to be in it for the long haul. That is not being pessimistic; I am hopeful. I want things to work and I would love to see solutions sooner rather than later, but the hon. Gentleman makes the valid point for the whole House that this issue will, I suspect, be high profile for many years to come before there are the voluntary returns that we all want.