The comments made by Lisa Nandy, the Shadow Foreign Secretary, on 22 March 2021.
This long overdue action is a grubby, cynical, last-ditch attempt to buy votes ahead of a backbench rebellion later today. The Foreign Secretary has repeatedly refused to sanction Chinese officials for more than two years and only now, after the US and EU have done so and he is facing defeat in the Commons, is he reluctantly forced to take action.
If anything sums up just how utterly inconsistent the Government’s approach to China is, today the Foreign Secretary will apply sanctions to officials responsible for human rights abuses and in the same breath insist on the right to sign trade deals with countries that commit genocide.
Despite claiming the actions of Chinese officials are “barbaric”, the Foreign Secretary has spent recent weeks privately talking up the prospect of a trade deal with China. We urge Tory MPs to vote with their consciences today. After a decade of rolling out the red carpet to Beijing and turning a blind eye to human rights abuses, this is the moment to force a significant change in Britain’s foreign policy and begin to live up to our values in the world.