Former Foreign Secretary says British Conservatives wish to “Help the brave people of Hong Kong”
New political group of MPs and Peers to lobby the UK government for tougher sanctions on Hong Kong officials
Leading Conservatives met on the 21st of April for the inaugural meeting of the new Conservative Friends of Hong Kong, founded to act as a focal point for the widespread support for Hongkongers in the Conservative Party.
Patron of the new group and former Foreign Secretary, Sir Malcolm Rifkind, said: “We all, in the UK, wish to help the brave people of Hong Kong in their struggle to preserve their freedom. I am proud to be a Patron of the Conservative Friends of Hong Kong who will be very active in their support.”
A new member-led group, the Conservative Friends of Hong Kong, held its inaugural meeting on Wednesday 21st April 2021 with the goal of supporting Hongkongers and ensuring that the UK government does the same.
The group has garnered preliminary interest from 17 prominent Conservative’s, including patrons Lord Patten of Barnes, the last Governor of Hong Kong; Tom Tugendhat MP, Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee and Sir Malcolm Rifkind, former Foreign Secretary.
The group’s opening motion, put forward by Chair Andrew Rosindell MP, proposed to: “Offer support to the people of Hong Kong in their determination to uphold democracy and freedom within their territory; to provide a forum of discussion on all matters relating to Hong Kong; and to welcome all Hong Kong residents who have come to this country to make Britain their home.”
One of Conservative Friends of Hong Kong’s goals is to extend a warm welcome to Hongkongers arriving in the UK under the British National (Overseas) (BN(O) visa scheme. The new initiative enables Hongkongers who have British National (Overseas) passports, and their relatives, to move to the UK and escape the brutal crackdown on freedom, democracy and human rights in their home city.
Home Office projections estimate that up to approximately 422,000 Hongkongers will apply for BN(O) passports in the scheme’s first 4 years. The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government has promised a support package of £43 million to support Hong Kong families moving to the UK under the scheme, but it is imperative that the government ensures all Honkongers receive the support they need – including those who have arrive as asylum seekers.
Newly elected Chair of the group, Andrew Rosindell MP said: “Hongkongers arriving in the UK have fled an oppressive Chinese regime which thinks it can bulldoze the international rule of law and human rights with impunity.
“We as Conservative’s deplore such bullying and this new group demonstrates that Conservatives welcome Hongkongers and we are ready to support them in their fight for freedom.”
John Song, a representative of the grassroots campaigning organisation Stand With Hong Kong, said:
“We are grateful to the Conservatives who started this new group to provide a welcoming space for Hongkongers in the Conservative Party. We believe thousands of Hongkongers who are moving to the UK will exercise their civic duty to vote, engaging with UK political parties would be an important step. We are glad to see the Conservative Party being the first UK political party to set up a new group for Hong Kong.
“Our hope is that groups like this will provide a new platform to engage with new voters and address British Hongkongers concerns, such as integration, housing, and education. Concern on when will the UK take concrete actions to hold China to account is also high on Hongkongers’ priority. We hope CFHK will be a new driving force in the Conservative Party to engage with these important issues.”