I beg to move,
That this House
has considered UK relations with the Gulf.
I refer Members to my entry in the Register of Members’ Financial Interests. In recent months, I have been lucky enough to go on two trips, to the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain.
For many years to come, any debate on the middle east such as this one will be prefaced by the phrase, “This could not be a more timely debate”—or at least until not a lot is going on in the middle east which, sadly, will not be any time soon. I am afraid that this debate, too, is particularly timely. Why? I could say economically, with the effects of the Iran deal to be seen in plummeting oil prices, making this a time of turmoil or of a renewables revolution for the region and all those who are linked with it.
I could say that it is a time for the west to be clearer to its historical allies about who its friends are. I could also argue for it to be a time to seize economic opportunities: in Dubai’s Jebel Ali port; the London Gateway collaboration; Emirates’ investment in London; and, we hope, the UAE’s investment in Portsmouth—after my hon. Friend Mrs Drummond, who has just taken her place, lobbied the rest of the delegates on a trip so excellently, but wearingly, for UAE investment in her constituency.
I could also talk about security—Yemen, Syria, Iraq and the humanitarian crisis that such conflicts create, including their effect on Europe. This is a time to recognise the UAE’s increased military activity and high-level capability, and the implications of that in the region.