Thank you for contacting me about the Lords ‘Anti-Genocide’ Amendment.
I completely appreciate your concerns and I want to reassure you that my opposition to the amendment does not diminish my commitment to upholding the UK’s international and moral obligations. I am also confident that this Government takes the issue of human rights abuse around the world extremely seriously.
I opposed the latest amendment from the Lords on constitutional grounds. I believe that this amendment, as with previous Lords amendments, would have continued to blur the distinction between the role of Parliament and the courts. The amendment would have allowed a new Parliamentary committee, composed solely of former senior members of the judiciary, to make a preliminary determination on genocide. The Government has been consistently clear that it is for competent courts not committees to make determinations of genocide.
The creation of a Parliamentary Judicial Committee would have been a fundamental constitutional reform and would have upset the balance of power in our constitutional system. The amendment the Government supported, and which Parliament ultimately supported, avoided this. It requires the Government to set out its position in writing in response to a report of genocide and gives a House of Commons committee the power to draft a motion for subsequent debate.
I am proud that the UK plays a leading international role in trying to hold China to account for its violations, through leading joint statements at the UN, repeatedly underlining concerns to senior Chinese authorities and reviewing UK export controls applied to Xinjiang. I must also emphasise that there are no current plans to begin negotiations on a free trade agreement with China.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact me about this important matter.
With best wishes.
Jonathan Lord MP
Member of Parliament for Woking