Hong Kong Watch announces appointment of Alistair Carmichael MP and Fiona Bruce MP as patrons
Hong Kong Watch is delighted to announce the appointment of two new Patrons, Liberal Democrat Member of Parliament Alistair Carmichael, and Conservative Member of Parliament Fiona Bruce, who have been outspoken champions of Hong Kong’s freedoms in recent months.
Alistair Carmichael, MP for Orkney and the Shetlands, the most northern constituency in the United Kingdom, has tabled several Urgent Questions on Hong Kong this year and spoke at a Hong Kong Watch event earlier this month in Parliament to mark the 22nd anniversary of the handover of Hong Kong to China.
A former Secretary of State for Scotland and former Deputy Chief Whip in the Coalition Government, Mr Carmichael is the Deputy Leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats. As a prominent Liberal Democrat he takes on the role of Patron of Hong Kong Watch following the death of our founding Patron, the former Liberal Democrat Leader Lord Ashdown of Norton-sub-Hamden, who died in December 2018.
Fiona Bruce, MP for Congleton, is Chair of the Conservative Party Human Rights Commission and a prominent voice for human rights around the world. Mrs Bruce has raised numerous questions in Parliament on Hong Kong in recent years and, in January 2018, introduced the first House of Commons debate on Hong Kong in more than two years. In October 2018 she chaired a fringe meeting with Hong Kong Watch at the Conservative Party Conference, at which the founder of Hong Kong’s Democratic Party Martin Lee and Umbrella Movement leaders Benny Tai and Nathan Law spoke.
Fiona Bruce said: “I am delighted to join Hong Kong Watch as a Patron, having worked very closely with the organization for the past 18 months and having followed the deteriorating situation in Hong Kong for several years. Hong Kong is on the frontlines of freedom, and it is imperative that we do all we can to protect and defend its way of life, including its basic human rights, rule of law and autonomy, and ensure that Britain lives up to its responsibilities to the people of Hong Kong, as well as urging the international community to speak up. I look forward to working even more closely with Hong Kong Watch for that purpose.”
Alistair Carmichael said: “It is a great honour to take up this position as a Patron of Hong Kong Watch, an organization which has never been more vital and which is doing such important work advocating for the basic human rights and freedoms of the people of Hong Kong. I am especially delighted to take on this role following one of my political mentors and colleagues, Paddy Ashdown, whom we all miss enormously and who inspired so many of us, across the political divide, in the cause of freedom. All of us who enjoy the rights and freedoms which we take for granted must use our freedoms to speak up for those whose freedoms are threatened, and I will continue to do exactly that for the people of Hong Kong at every opportunity.”
Fiona Bruce and Alistair Carmichael join Hong Kong Watch’s existing Patrons Catherine West MP (former Labour Shadow Foreign Minister), Sir Malcolm Rifkind (former Foreign Secretary), Lord Alton of Liverpool and Sir Geoffrey Nice, QC, and our International Patrons, former Canadian Secretary of State for Asia-Pacific David Kilgour, Canada’s Deputy Shadow Foreign Minister Garnett Genuis MP, and South Korea’s former ambassador for human rights Jung-Hoon Lee.
Benedict Rogers, co-founder and Chair of Hong Kong Watch, said: “We are absolutely thrilled that Alistair Carmichael and Fiona Bruce have agreed to join our distinguished Patrons. Both have been amazing champions of Hong Kong’s freedoms, autonomy and the rule of law and we are delighted to be able to deepen our relationship with them by their appointment as Patrons. Just before Christmas last year we lost one of our founding Patrons, Paddy Ashdown, and we will always miss him. But in Alistair and Fiona, together with our other Patrons, we have determined and passionate defenders of Hong Kong’s freedoms who will continue the struggle. Hong Kong Watch is, and always will be, a truly cross-party venture, bringing together defenders of human rights from all political parties and beyond, and from different countries, in our effort to ensure that the threats to Hong Kong’s freedoms become a universal concern.”