Following the Government statement on the protests in Hong Kong, Andrew Mitchell calls for dialogue and discussion.
It is good to see my right hon. Friend responding on this matter; his broad wingspan now covers yet more of the planet.
The disgraceful behaviour of the demonstrators who entered LegCo yesterday and the misuse of the Union flag should be noted by Parliament, as should the damage done to the case that they are making. I looked at the statement by the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman, Geng Shuang, who said that
“the SAR government decided to suspend work on the Fugitive Offenders and Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Legislation (Amendment) Bill 2019.”
He also said:
“The Chinese Central Government expresses its support, respect and understanding for the SAR government's decision”.
Surely a period of dialogue and discussion is now required to try to reach a mutually agreed solution to this complex problem.
I am grateful to my right hon. Friend for pointing out that I am answering questions that do not normally fall within my responsibility. My wingspan has stretched wider than I or any Member would normally expect.
My right hon. Friend is far more expert on this issue than I am, but the one point on which we can all agree is that a period of de-escalation and dialogue would be far preferable to any continuing tension and violence. I very much hope that all those who are involved in this issue can pause for thought and try to plot a way through this without further escalating any kind of conflict.