The Liberal Democrats will today present a Bill with cross-party support which would require the Government offer Hong Kong citizens the right to live in the UK.
The move by the Liberal Democrats, whose former leader Paddy Ashdown led the argument for securing the right of abode if China ever reneged the Sino-British declaration, comes after a year of clashes and violence between the police and pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong.
Speaking ahead of presenting the Bill, Liberal Democrat Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Alistair Carmichael warned “If there ever were a time for us to act in support of Hong Kong, it is now.”
The Bill, which has cross-party support, would re-open the offer of a British National Overseas (BNO) passports for Hong Kong citizens and extend the scheme to provide the “right of abode”, allowing a person to live or work indefinitely in the UK.
Liberal Democrat Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Alistair Carmichael said:
“If there ever were a time for us to act in support of Hong Kong, it is now. China has repeatedly undermined Hong Kong’s democracy. There have been repeated reports of police brutality against Hong Kong citizens since the start of protests last spring.
“Boris Johnson’s slogan of ‘Global Britain’ is meaningless if his Government is timid in the area of international human rights.
“We must make our voice heard on essential values such as the rule of law and liberal democracy. If the Conservative Government intends to give substance to its global rhetoric, it should put its weight behind the Bill.”