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Why I will vote to recognise Palestine


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On 21 July, I wrote of the conflict over Gaza: As we have recoiled from the violence committed by both sides, too little attention has been paid to the reality of Israeli settlements on the West Bank, their development over the years and their consequences for Palestinians. The progression of those settlements has left the Palestinian people in a state of despair. The election of Hamas appears to be one result. A hopeful future must be found instead. As William Hague […]

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The capacity of the Royal Air Force


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Much of Friday’s debate took for granted the Royal Air Force’s capacity to deliver substantial air power. We are to understand the operation in Iraq could last for years. In 1991, at the time of our first Gulf War, the RAF had exactly 30 front-line fast jet squadrons. Today, we have seven. Of those seven, four are Typhoon squadrons. They do not yet have the necessary Stormshadow, Brimstone or RAPTOR capabilities. The other three squadrons – II(AC), IX(B) and 31 – are equipped with […]

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On declining to support action in Iraq


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ISIL is a brutal tyranny founded on a narrow and perverted interpretation of Islam together with unyielding violent religious intolerance. Muslims in Wycombe have with one voice condemned ISIL. Resisting ISIL with lethal force is a just and essential cause. We have been asked to set aside the mistakes of the past. Sectarianism, intolerance and entrenched interest appear to have prevented the emergence of open liberal democracies across the Middle East and North Africa. Those factors are apparently still in place. […]

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Kashmir Westminster Hall Debate


Yesterday I attended a Westminster Hall debate on Kashmir. The full Hansard transcript of proceedings can be found here. I made the following remarks; Steve Baker (Wycombe) (Con): Three foreign policy issues are of acute interest to my constituents: Israel and Palestine, Sri Lanka and Kashmir. Members will have spotted that all three have something in common, which is, of course, the legacy of the British Empire. I very much welcome this debate, and I congratulate the hon. Member for Bradford East (Mr […]

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On green belt protection


In DCLG questions this week: Charlie Elphicke (Dover) (Con): Will the Minister confirm that the national planning policy framework has provisions that protect the green belt from developers and people like the hon. Member for Huddersfield (Mr Sheerman) who would like to build all over it? Brandon Lewis: My hon. Friend is right, and I intend soon to issue additional guidance to reiterate the protection that the national planning policy framework provides to the green belt and other designated areas. That will make […]

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Debate on Hospital Car Parking Charges


Yesterday I made an intervention during a debate on Hospital Car Parking Charges. You can view the full debate here. Steve Baker (Wycombe) (Con): I want to set in context what my hon. Friend has just said about the scale of these charges. I have just checked the cost of parking at Chiltern Railways’ new multi-storey car park in Wycombe, and it is only £7.50 a day. I say “only” because that seems quite good value given that some people are paying […]

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Question to the PM on anti-terrorism


Yesterday the Prime Minister gave a statement to the House on the EU Council, Security and Middle East. I asked the following question; Steve Baker (Wycombe) (Con): I was appalled to learn that the British terrorist interviewed on “Newsnight” came from Wycombe. Does my right hon. Friend agree that this man has disgracefully betrayed the community that I represent? Given what was said, can he reassure me that if that man presents in the UK, he will face the full force of the law? […]

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Gaza: the violence must stop


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As the appalling toll of lives lost has mounted again today in Gaza, it is increasingly clear that it is practically impossible for the Israelis to conduct proportionate operations there. The UN Security Council has rightly called for an immediate ceasefire. The UN Secretary General has described Israel’s shelling of the Shejaiya district of Gaza as “an atrocious action”. Israeli Forces may well give advance notice of their actions but Gaza is arguably too densely populated to allow effective evacuation under operations […]

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Speech on the timetabling of DRIP yesterday


Yesterday in the debate on the timetabling of the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Bill, I said: Steve Baker (Wycombe) (Con): The subject of the Bill is of profound importance to members of the public who care about such matters, and no wonder because it is the paradigmatic example of the conflict between the rights of the individual and the power of the state as enabled by technology. The Bill can be understood only in the context of the very worst crimes […]

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I deplore the violence by both sides in the Israel-Gaza conflict


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Yesterday, the House of Commons heard a statement from William Hague on Gaza. Today, I met a party of pupils from Cressex School whose concern was obvious and who were keen to discuss the situation. Later in the week, I expect to meet a group of local people to discuss it further. Many local people have contacted me by email. It is a matter of grave concern that violence has once again escalated. I see this evening that “Israel has resumed […]

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