Prevention and Suppression of Terrorism

Part of Business of the House – in the House of Commons at 7:50 pm on 26th February 2019.

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Photo of Nick Thomas-Symonds Nick Thomas-Symonds Shadow Solicitor General, Shadow Minister (Home Office) (Security) 7:50 pm, 26th February 2019

I will make some progress, but I will come back to the right hon. Lady.

The Home Secretary stated in his letter to the shadow Home Secretary:

“Hizballah, as a political entity in Lebanon has won votes in legitimate elections and forms part of the Lebanese Government. It has the largest non-state military force in the country.”

In last January’s debate, the Security Minister said:

“We believe that the best way to weaken Hezbollah in the region and further afield is to have a strong state of Lebanon. The stronger the state of Lebanon, which represents multi-faith groups, has a democracy and Speakers of Parliament and recognises the individual religious minorities in the country, the weaker Hezbollah will be. It is not in our interests to have a weak, fractured Lebanon.” —[Official Report, 25 January 2018;
Vol. 635, c. 512.]

He is of course correct about that.

I totally appreciate the strong views on this matter, and it has previously been the view of the Foreign Office for many years that the proscription of the political wing, which is part of the elected Lebanese Government, would make it difficult to maintain normal diplomatic relations with Lebanon or to work with the Government there on humanitarian issues, including those facing Syrian refugees in part of the country controlled by Hezbollah. The Home Secretary said in his remarks about ongoing diplomatic engagement with the Government of Lebanon that he would be looking at whether it is compliant with the order. I would appreciate him setting out in more detail how that engagement is to continue.