Things heated up last night in the Tory MPs WhatsApp group on Trade. Trade Minister Greg Hands, lambasted MPs who are backing the Genocide Amendment today,
“Clearly, we wouldn’t be negotiating any trade deals with any countries which are committing genocide. It just isn’t something a British Government would do. And you will have seen the Foreign Secretary’s robust position on China and Xinjiang this week. There are many problems with the Lord Alton amendment, including the fact that past genocides might be in scope (which could mean Turkey, could even mean Canada or Australia), and the fact that it’s a court which decides, not the Government or Parliament.
I don’t myself like this kind of judicial activism, nor courts opining on foreign policy. Clearly, trade is one lever one can use when dealing with countries which are behaving very badly – but that’s properly a matter for the Government, held to account by Parliament, I think, not the courts.”
Suggesting Canada or Australia had been responsible for genocide did not go down well with MPs. A source close to the Genocide Amendment rebellion’s leaders told Guido…
“We appreciate that the Government is growing desperate but accusing Canada and Australia of genocide is not just offensive to our closest allies but grossly misrepresents the effect of the amendment which only applies to current genocides.
The Government must consider the damage that their ill-fated opposition to this legislation is doing to their reputation for honesty and to our allies.”
MPs are about to begin a four hour debate on Trade Bill amendments. Guido expects it to be spicy…