25 MPs call for Commonwealth nations to consider giving Hong Kongers a second citizenship.

25 MPs call for UK not to ‘abandon’ Hong Kong citizens, and for Commonwealth nations to give Hong Kongers a second citizenship.

A Parliamentary motion signed by 25 Members of Parliament today calls for the United Kingdom to seek consensus among Commonwealth citizens for the extension of a second citizenship to Hong Kongers.

The motion co-sponsored by Conservative Human Rights Chair, Fiona Bruce and Labour MP Catherine West states: ”That this House calls on the Government to seek agreement with some of the other 53 Commonwealth countries to provide Hong Kong citizens with a second citizenship and potential place of abode”.

It has been signed by politicians from the Conservatives, Labour, Liberal Democrats, Scottish National Party, Democratic Unionist Party, as well as Angela Smith who sits as an independent.

When asked about the motion in the House of Lords, the UK Government Minister Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon said: “I will certainly take the issue of the Early Day Motion back and look at the detail. I assure noble Lords that the important thing is that we continue to raise through all international and bilateral channels the importance of upholding the rights of, and obligations to, the citizens of Hong Kong.”

Separately, on 3 September 2019, there were two debates about Hong Kong in the UK Parliament. In the House of Commons, Members called for the UK government to press the Hong Kong government to conduct an independent inquiry into police brutality, and extend universal suffrage, as well as for the UK government to offer refuge for Hong Kong citizens at risk of persecution.

Similar issues were raised during a House of Lords urgent question. Baroness Northover said:

”Does he note that the crisis is fast escalating, that the police appear to be acting with impunity and that Carrie Lam apparently feels that she has no autonomy? The Government have been very silent, certainly in public, on Hong Kong recently; they may be distracted, but what action are they taking, especially as we will shortly be coming up to the 70th anniversary of the foundation of the establishment of the People’s Republic of China? What is the Government’s view of proposals for a second UK or Commonwealth citizenship for Hong Kong citizens?”

In response Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon said:

”My Lords, I first reassure the noble Baroness and your Lordships’ House that the Government are taking the situation in Hong Kong very seriously. As I have alluded to, my right honourable friends the Prime Minister and the Foreign Secretary have spoken to their respective counterparts—and, in the case of the Prime Minister, to other members of the G7. The permanent under-secretary has also summoned the Chinese ambassador to relay our deep concerns. On the wider issue of citizenship, current citizens of Hong Kong enjoy the BNO category, which was created, as the noble Baroness knows, in 1985 and gives certain rights. It remains our view that, within the agreement signed by the Chinese and British Governments, protections offered to those citizens should prevail. On the issue of the police acting with impunity, we impress on the Hong Kong authorities that they should ensure that those committing acts of violence—whichever side they may be on—are brought to justice and held accountable. That includes those enforcing the law.”

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