Liz Truss misled Gulf human rights committee, MP says | Policy

Labor MP Chris Bryant accused Liz Truss of apparently misleading the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee by saying she had personally raised human rights issues with Gulf leaders, but that ‘She hadn’t provided proof when asked.

Challenging Truss about appearing before the committee in June when she was still Foreign Secretary Bryant said in a letter that it was “hard not to conclude that you deliberately misled the committee” rather than admit error.

Instead, he argued, the Prime Minister had “attempted to mislead us further” by writing to the committee only giving information on general discussions, which included rights issues, but without saying who they were. had raised.

Interviewing Truss before the committee on June 28, Bryant asked Truss whether she had personally raised human rights issues with Gulf leaders in her role. She replied, “I personally have, yes.”

Pressed to elaborate, Truss continued, “I have raised particular issues when I have been in the Gulf on human rights issues…I am not going to go into all the details of the private conversations, which I will return to in due course.

In her letter, Bryant said Truss made it clear that she raised the issue herself and did so during visits to the Gulf.

But in his follow-up letter, he said, Truss only mentioned a meeting with Gulf leaders at Chevening, the government’s retreat in Kent, also including the junior Foreign Secretary of the at the time, James Cleverly, who said that “a wide range of issues were discussed, including human rights”.

In his Tuesday letter, Bryant wrote, “You do not cite a single issue where you have ‘personally’ raised human rights with Saudi Arabia or any other Gulf Cooperation state. You say that human rights “have been discussed”, but not by whom. So I can only assume that your assertion that you “personally” raised these issues misled the committee and therefore the chamber.

Nor did Truss mention a single instance of raising rights issues while in the Gulf, Bryant added, saying, “I can only assume that, too, was untrue.”

Noting that Truss’ seemingly erroneous comments could have been unintentional, Bryant noted that in such cases, ministerial code dictates that ministers must set the record straight as soon as possible and apologize. But, he wrote, she had done neither in her July letter to the committee and had instead apparently sought to cover up the issues.

“In the absence of an explanation or apology for your inaccurate comments to the committee, it is difficult not to conclude that you misled the committee, as you were unwilling to admit that you knew you had never raised these issues with the Gulf States, whether in the Gulf or at home.

Officials said No. 10 would respond to Bryant’s letter “in due course.” A government spokesman said: “UK ministers and officials regularly raise sensitive human rights issues with their Gulf counterparts, both in public and in private.”

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