[Mr. George Howarth in the Chair] — British Indian Ocean Territory

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 9:30 am on 10th March 2010.

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Photo of Jeremy Corbyn Jeremy Corbyn Labour, Islington North 9:30 am, 10th March 2010

As my hon. Friend says, I am far too generous to impute such motives to others in these matters. I will leave hon. Members to form their views on that.

I support the zone and, as far as I am aware, the islander communities in this country and in Mauritius support it, too. It is in nobody's interest to destroy the environment or ecosystem. There should be sustainable living by the islanders who wish to return. I do not know how many there will be, but the number will be much smaller than tens of thousands. It is the right of return that is so important and that, in particular, is what this debate is about.

I hope that in his reply, the Minister will acknowledge the anger and outrage of islanders. The feasibility studies have been designed to create the aura that incredible expense and infrastructure would be required, in order to detract from the possibility of the islanders ever returning to the islands. I ask the Minister to look again at the issue, in particular at how the islanders have been treated and at the possibility of reaching a quick out-of-court settlement so that we can move on. We should have the marine protection zone, which would be a legacy of the British Government and Prime Minister, but that should be part of a wider settlement package that gives the islanders the right of return.