European Council and North Africa — Statement

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 8:12 pm on 7 February 2011.

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Photo of Lord Howell of Guildford Lord Howell of Guildford Minister of State (Foreign and Commonwealth Office) (International Energy Policy) 8:12, 7 February 2011

My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Lord. I will answer the first point in general terms. Of course we are concerned about all extra-legal detentions and even more about reports, which existed long before this revolutionary situation began, of torture and other illegal practices. Of course, we make constant representations through our posts on that. As to the specific individual to which he referred, I will write to him about the very latest information we have on that.

Secondly, on the three-man presidential council, that is taking us deep into the kind of arrangements that it is up to the Egyptians to develop for themselves. As a student of history, the talks of three-man presidential councils coming out of revolutions has a slight tinge of 19 Brumaire 1798 and the first three consuls-of which Napoleon Bonaparte was one. We all know where that went. I think it is much better for us not to advise the Egyptians on these matters.

I shall have to ask the noble Lord to repeat the third point as I did not quite get it down.