Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 1:12 pm on 17th July 2019.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of John Bercow John Bercow Speaker of the House of Commons, Chair, Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, Chair, Speaker's Committee for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, Chair, Commons Reference Group on Representation and Inclusion Committee 1:12 pm, 17th July 2019

Order. Further exchanges will unfold, but at this point I would like to say that all Members who visited you, Richard, when you were outside the Iranian embassy on your hunger strike will have regarded it as a great personal privilege and honour to have done so. Although people tend courteously to say, “It is good of this Member or that Member to find the time in a busy schedule”, I do not think we view it in those terms. As I say, we saw it as an honour to visit you. I am going to say to you very publicly what I have said to others and what I said to you: I was struck by your extraordinary stoicism and forbearance, a standard to which, in such circumstances, any of us could aspire but, I suspect, none of us would attain. It really was a very humbling experience. In my case, of course, I had the pleasure of not only meeting and engaging with you for the first time, but meeting your sister and your mum to boot. I want you and all of your family, and your precious daughter, to know that you will never be forgotten. The Minister has treated of these matters already in the most sensitive terms, as have other colleagues. For as long as it is necessary for this matter to be raised, as it has been by the hon. Member for Hampstead and Kilburn, with persistence and passion, it will be raised. This matter, the Iranians need to know, will not go away until mother and daughter, mother and wife and husband, are reconciled so that they can live as one.

I also want to mention what I have just been told by Christina Rees, which is that 13 of her constituents, 13 wonderful women, who, it is said, wholly implausibly to me, are of an average age of 80—I cannot see any such people in the Gallery–have made a special visit to the House today to observe our proceedings. They, together with everybody else, should be warmly welcomed. I hope you are witnessing the House at its best, treating of an extremely serious matter, on a cross-party basis, because it is not about party politics; it is about humanity and the requirement for the display of humanity in the conduct of public affairs.