I was saddened to learn that Robert Halfon voted with the Government earlier this week to defeat a Labour amendment that would have made it more difficult for the Government to strike trade deals with countries committing genocide. I am particularly thinking about trade with China where, according to Amnesty International “up to 1 million people, mainly Muslims, are being detained in political ‘re-education’ camps, where the Chinese government is attempting to enforce loyalty to the Communist Party”.
Robert has on a couple of occasions recently voted against the Conservative government and with Labour on matters of conscience, for which I thank him. His refusal to do so again is therefore all the more disappointing. At this time of deep political divide, surely we can all agree that making trade deals with countries committing genocide is a moral outrage?
What does it say about the character of our Government that they did not support this amendment? What does it say about the character of our representatives who voted with them?
This amendment had cross-party support; many Conservative MPs rightly voted against the Government. It had support from a variety of religious groups, including the Conservative Muslim Forum, the British Board of Jewish Deputies and many Christian groups, as well as the International Bar Association.
This week alone, the Government refused to stop the cut to financial aid for six million families; it refused to guarantee the resources to allow children to learn remotely, and now it has voted against making it more difficult for the Government to strike trade deals with countries committing genocide. It is disgraceful
Chair of Harlow Labour Party