Saturday, December 02, 2006

The week

Peccavi - a whole week since my last entry. Monday and Tuesday I was in Brussels with Subcommittee F of the Lords EU Select Committee taking evidence in connection with our inquiry into SIS II, a mega-database which will contain criminal information which law enforcement officers in the UK will be able to access, and immigration information from which we will be excluded because we're not part of Schengen. Wednesday moring the Committee met in our usual Committee Room 3, to take evidence from Joan Ryan MP, a Home Office Minister, the last witness before we decide on our Report.

Then I had lunch with a delegation of MPs from Cameroon, led by their Deputy Speaker Rose Abunaw Makia, who I had met when she was a member of a previous delegation two years ago.

Thursday was my question on Somalia
ldhansrd/pdvn/lds06/text/61130-0001.htm#06113069000008 followed by my debate on the forthcoming elections in Bangladesh
ldhansrd/pdvn/lds06/text/61130-0009.htm#06113069000004, and in the evening, dinner with the Supreme Head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, His Holiness Hadhrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, at The London Mosque.The Ahmadis believe in the benevolent message of Islam - peace, universal brotherhood, and submission to the Will of God. Unfortunately they are attacked in Pakistan, Bangladesh, Indonesia and now Sri Lanka by extremists who deny their right to call themselves Muslim, and in Pakistan itself, where they originted, they suffer discrimination under the law.

Friday I did al interview on al-Jezira TV, about the investigation by the Serious Fraud Office of alleged corrupt payments by BAe to secure the multi-billion Al Yamamah arms contract, and Saudi threats that if the investigation isn't called off they will cancel arms deals with the UK. Needless to say, I told them it was unthinkable that our Attorney-General or any other Minister would interfere with criminal or legal processes, whatever the consequences. There is an often quoted Latin tag, Fiat justicia, ruat coelum, which means Let justice be done though the heavens fall.

Today I was at the University of Kingston for the Annual Conference of the Peru Support Group, of which I'm President. It was a useful and informative meeting, with excellent speakers, organised by the invaluable Sophie Paton, the Secretary of the PSG.

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