Daniel Kawczynski is MP for Shrewsbury and Atcham.
Sir John Jenkins, the UK Ambassador to Riyadh, was tasked in April by the Prime Minister to undertake a review of the Muslim Brotherhood and its activities in the United Kingdom. Sir John, whom I have met in my role as Chairman of the Commons Saudi Group both during visits to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and in London, is one of the most impressive senior diplomats I have come across. So it was very pleasing to hear that a man of such professionalism and grasp of the Arab and Muslim worlds had been selected for this extremely important task.
In the past few days, however, there has been a flurry of media speculation claiming that the publication of Sir John’s report has been delayed, allegedly because of disputes within government over one of its conclusions, namely that the Muslim Brotherhood should not be described as a terrorist organisation. Such a conclusion would not be well received by our allies in the region. Against this background, media commentators have speculated that the report may in the event be fudged in some way. I very much hope this does not turn out to be the case.
The UK has been and must remain a safe haven for people who require genuine political asylum. This has long been a fundamental and essential bedrock of our democracy. From my own experience as someone whose family came from Poland I know just how important it was in the 70’s and early 80’s that the UK supported those struggling against oppression by the communist dictatorship in Warsaw. Many Poles and other Eastern Europeans who campaigned against the evils of Communism, and ultimately felt their lives at risk, sought and were given asylum in the UK and other western countries.
It is essential, however, that once safely relocated in the UK all immigrants must abide by the spirit and letter of the law in order to earn and maintain the right to the protection the UK provides. Put frankly, this means they must not participate in any activities which could lead to acts of violence or terrorism.
Equally, there are hundreds of thousands of British citizens living in the Gulf States who profit from the very special relationship that we have with these allies. These jurisdictions are of the utmost importance to the UK from a strategic and economic perspective and we rely on the friendship of these States to preserve peace and stability in the Gulf.
It surely follows from this that if members of the Muslim Brotherhood are found to be using their position in the UK to threaten or undermine the governments of these regional allies this must be investigated and stamped out. It is one thing to use media outlets to oppose ruling families, but it is quite another to be actively involved in planning and carrying out acts of terrorism.
As I have said, I eagerly await the publication of Sir John’s report so that we can be afforded the chance to debate all its findings on the floor of the House of Commons. For all the talk of fudges, I am sure that a man of Sir John’s distinguished reputation would not put his name to something that ultimately transpired to be questionable or incomplete. But let me say here and now that the report will be fully debated in Parliament. Our friends in the Gulf deserve no less than a full and thorough analysis of the Muslim Brotherhood whom they believe beyond doubt to have been involved in a number of acts of terrorism on their territory.