Zimbabwe

Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office – in the House of Commons at on 12 December 2023.

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Photo of Ruth Jones Ruth Jones Shadow Minister (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)

Whether he has had recent discussions with his Commonwealth counterparts on the proposed readmittance of Zimbabwe to the Commonwealth.

Photo of Andrew Mitchell Andrew Mitchell Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office) (Minister for Development), Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office) (Minister for Development and Africa)

I regularly discuss a broad range of issues, including Zimbabwe, with Commonwealth counterparts, most recently on Sunday in Dubai when I met the Commonwealth secretary-general, Baroness Scotland. The decision on re-entry is for all members, based on the membership requirements and the values and principles set out in the Commonwealth charter.

Photo of Ruth Jones Ruth Jones Shadow Minister (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)

Given the recent enlargement of the Commonwealth, the matters that the Minister referred to are important. More than 100,000 Zimbabweans live in the UK, many in south Wales, and thousands work all year round in our NHS. What engagement has the Minister had with the Zimbabwean diaspora to understand the diversity of perspectives and to support their views about Commonwealth membership and other challenges and issues that they face?

Photo of Andrew Mitchell Andrew Mitchell Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office) (Minister for Development), Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office) (Minister for Development and Africa)

The hon. Lady is right that Zimbabwe has a productive and vibrant diaspora in the United Kingdom, and we hear their views many times. Britain warned that the election needed to be violence-free and fair, and it was certainly violence-free. We are waiting for the full report of the observers before making a judgment on further events.