Jonathan Taylor: SBM Offshore

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:41 pm on 9th November 2020.

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Photo of Wendy Morton Wendy Morton Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office) 3:41 pm, 9th November 2020

I will certainly pass on the hon. Lady’s good wishes to the Foreign Secretary.

On the case of Mr Taylor, I absolutely do not accept the charge that we were abdicating responsibility. I have tried to make it clear that, in the first instance, we are providing consular support. We are in contact with Mr Taylor and his family, as I am sure the hon. Lady would expect. We have spoken to his lawyer. We have spoken to the Monégasque prosecutor’s office to request the details of the specific charges. As I indicated earlier, if we receive evidence that Mr Taylor’s arrest is linked to his whistleblowing activities or that due process is not being followed, we will see what further steps we can take to support him.

I referred to the Vienna convention with regard to consular relations. I reiterate that we cannot interfere in the internal affairs of other countries, just as we would not expect similar interference here. Mr Taylor has appealed to the Croatian supreme court and that process should be allowed to run its course. We understand that Mr Taylor is facing charges of bribery and corruption, and we have approached the Monégasque prosecutor’s office to request more information.

I assure the hon. Lady, as I endeavoured to assure my right hon. Friend Caroline Nokes, that we take this matter very seriously.