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Prime Minister should have boycotted summit says East Ham MP Timms

PUBLISHED: 23:03 16 November 2013 | UPDATED: 23:37 16 November 2013

East Ham MP Stephen Timms.

East Ham MP Stephen Timms.

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The Prime Minister should have boycotted the meeting of Commonwealth Heads of Government currently being held in Sri Lanka, according to MP Stephen Timms.

Despite internationally recognised concerns over human rights abuses and allegations of former war crimes in the country, David Cameron and his government ministers decided to go ahead and attend the summit.

“There is no doubt the authorities in Sri Lanka are continuing to behave in appalling ways - for example, using torture,” said the East Ham MP.

“ The Prime Minister should have followed the example of the Prime Ministers of Canada and India, who refused to attend.”

Last week, Mr Timms had expressed his concerns to the Prime Minister and Foreign Secretary about travelling to Sri Lanka in a Commons debate.

He asked: “Is there not a terrible problem, in that the Prime Minister will give a big propaganda coup to a Government who really ought to be brought to book?”

Conservative MP and former FCO minister, Henry Bellingham, responded: “I certainly accept that, and it is one of the downsides.

“On the other hand, the signal must go out that the Commonwealth is an organisation that is growing in stature and strength, and becoming more relevant in the world.

“The Commonwealth is bigger than one country, one city and one President, which is why it would be a mistake for our Government to boycott the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting.”


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