Chagos Islands

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 5:25 pm on 28th October 2015.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Patrick Grady Patrick Grady Shadow SNP Spokesperson (International Development) 5:25 pm, 28th October 2015

It is a pleasure to serve under your chairmanship, Mr Rosindell; I know that you take an interest in these matters. I congratulate my hon. Friend Dr Monaghan on securing a debate on an issue to which he has long been committed and which is highly topical. I welcome the work of the all-party group and the various hon. Members who have spoken. I note that the honorary president of the APPG, Jeremy Corbyn—I do not know whether he is right honourable yet—is with us. I welcome him to his place; it is a very commendable show of support and solidarity.

In his maiden speech in the main Chamber, my hon. Friend the Member for Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross highlighted both the cause of the Chagossian people and the historical experience of people in his own constituency who were affected by the highland clearances. In my constituency, the clearances are commemorated by, among other things, a plaque on the wall of the Lios Mor bar. The plaque names some of those most responsible for the forced removal of people and what it calls a form of ethnic cleansing. I will leave it to hon. Members to visit my constituency to determine exactly where in the bar the plaque is located, but it is in a place where it invites male visitors to pay those whom it names the respect it says they are due. Whether exactly the same attitude should be applied to those responsible for the forced removal of the Chagossians is not necessarily for me to say, but what is clear is that the situation is an injustice for which a resolution is long overdue.