Lord Patten praises Lord Ashdown's report at Parliamentary Event
On 17 January 2017, Lord Ashdown of Norton Sub-Hamdon spoke about his recent report on Hong Kong at a Parliamentary event in the House of Lords. The event was attended by Parliamentarians from across the political spectrum including the last Governor of Hong Kong, Lord Patten of Barnes, who said that it was a ‘very good report.’
The event was attended by over 50 people, including academics, Parliamentarians and policy makers. Among Parliamentarians in attendance were Fiona Bruce MP, the Chair of the Conservative Party Human Rights Commission; Labour MP Catherine West, the Deputy-Chair of the China All-Party Parliamentary Group; Baroness Hodgson and Lord Truscott.
Lord Ashdown, the former leader of the Liberal Democrats began by delivering a short speech which outlined some of the contents of the report. Shortly afterwards, Lord Patten praised Lord Ashdown’s report:
“I am very pleased that Lord Ashdown went to Hong Kong, and I think it is a very good report. The last few years have been pretty bad for all the reasons that Paddy says… I admire what he has done, and the intellectual honesty of the report.”
Lord Patten also commented on Carrie Lam’s statement that the report was ‘foreign meddling’, saying that it was: “a rather unwise, over the top response which does not actually recognise the obligations on Britain or the obligations on China under the Sino-British Joint Declaration.”
When asked by Fiona Bruce MP about Ms Lam’s accusation, Lord Ashdown responded by expressing sympathy for Carrie Lam who he said had a ‘very difficult job’ and ‘those who are in Hong Kong recognise that she has a very difficult job. I would not want her job as she is trying to appease multiple factions’. He added that her comments were: ‘an overreaction but I see no benefit in personalising this in any way, so I am not going to respond in kind.’
Human rights in Hong Kong will be raised in the Houses of Parliament twice next week. Lord Ashdown is set to ask an Oral Parliamentary Question on human rights in Hong Kong at the House of Lords on Wednesday 24 January. Fiona Bruce has called for a debate in the House of Commons on ‘Hong Kong and democracy’ on Tuesday 23 January.