Hywel Williams MP to hold debate in Westminster on ‘Global Britain, human rights and climate change’

Plaid Cymru’s international spokesperson, Hywel Williams MP, will today (Tuesday 7 September) call on the UK Government to develop an ethical foreign policy in order to “match climate rhetoric with action”.

During a debate in Westminster Hall at 16:30, he will criticise the Conservative Government for funding fossil fuels at home and abroad while hosting the COP26 Climate Change Conference in Glasgow.

For example, in July 2020 the UK pledged $1.15bn of UK Export Finance (UKEF) to an offshore Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) project in Mozambique. Friends of the Earth have warned that foreign interest and financing for the LNG project has fuelled local conflict and human rights abuses, with communities trapped between Mozambique government-backed forces and mercenaries, and an armed insurgency.

He will also call on the UK Government to reject the application from Siccar Point Energy and oil giant Shell to drill the new Cambo oil field, 80 miles west of Shetland. Cambo is the second largest undeveloped field on the UK continental shelf, containing a potential 800 million barrels of oil. If approved, drilling would begin next year.

The Arfon MP will also criticise the UK Government for its “environmentally damaging trade deals”. Planned trade deals with countries like Australia will likely see food and goods produced to lower environmental standards flown into the UK, undermining more environmentally friendly producers in the UK.

Ahead of his debate, Hywel Williams MP said:

“The UK as co-host of COP26 and current president of the G7 has an unparalleled and critical opportunity to deliver climate leadership and secure climate action in a decade which will make or break our collective future.

“Yet our foreign policy fails to reflect either our climate values or deliver climate action. Over twenty years ago, the UK experimented with the idea of an ethical foreign policy and now, faced with the overwhelming threat of climate change which threatens every human right, we must revisit it.

“From aid budget cuts to environmentally damaging trade deals to support for hydrocarbon projects at home and abroad, this Government has failed at every turn to match climate rhetoric with action. We must change course, before our climate changes the course of humanity.”