India: Persecution of Minority Groups — [Mr Laurence Robertson in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 10:30 am on 12th January 2021.

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Photo of David Linden David Linden Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Housing, Communities and Local Government) 10:30 am, 12th January 2021

It is a pleasure to serve under your chairmanship, Mr Robertson. I thank Jim Shannon for leading today’s debate on behalf of the APPG for freedom of religion or belief. In paying tribute to fellow APPG members, I also congratulate Fiona Bruce on her appointment as the Prime Minister’s special envoy for freedom of religion or belief. I know that she has a personal passion for this subject, and I do not doubt at all that she will be an outstanding envoy for the Government, so I wish her well on behalf of my party.

In the run-up to this morning’s debate, I have to say that I have been fascinated—indeed, quite perplexed—by the knee-jerk reaction to the debate. That extends to Barry Gardiner: if I followed the logic of his remarks that we should not be interfering in the domestic politics of other countries, particularly countries that the UK once ruled over, surely the same would be true of the United States of America, but I recall that fairly recently he had lots to say about George Floyd. The reality is that foreign affairs is a reserved matter for this Parliament, and it is entirely right for Members of this House to comment on it.