Bahraini Political Prisoners

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 2:41 pm on 13th January 2022.

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Photo of James Cleverly James Cleverly Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office) 2:41 pm, 13th January 2022

I am grateful to Brendan O’Hara for securing the debate. It gives me the opportunity to put on record an alternative—and, I suspect, more balanced—viewpoint to the one that he put forward. Nevertheless, the debate gives us all an opportunity to discuss an important issue. I also put on record my gratitude to other Members who have spoken. I will try to address some of their points, but time prevents me from dealing with them all.

As has been said by Members on both sides of the House, the UK and Bahrain are indeed allies and partners. We work closely together on defence, security, trade and regional issues. Our naval support facilities are a symbol of that enduring co-operation and the UK’s commitment to peace, security and stability in the region. The country provided the first permanent UK naval presence east of Suez since 1971, and continues to support our counter-terrorism, counter-piracy and maritime security operations, providing security not just for British trade and British nationals, but for all those who are active in the maritime region around the waters of Bahrain.

The hon. Member for Argyll and Bute was passionate in his criticism of not just Bahrain, but Her Majesty’s Government. He claimed—Hansard will correct me if I am wrong—that the UK is bankrolling Bahrain. He went on to say that we were trying to get money from Bahrain. It is not credible to hold simultaneously the positions—