Marking the harvest festival Thai Pongal, British MPs have issued statements expressing gratitude for the contribution of British Tamils to the UK and renewing their commitment to justice and accountability in Sri Lanka.
Rishi Sunak, UK Prime Minister and MP for Richmond (Yorks)
UK Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak wished Tamils a "healthy, happy and prosperous Thai Pongal" and thanked them for "demonstrating the true meaning of service" in the NHS.
Keir Starmer, Leader of the Opposition and MP for Holborn and St Pancras
Leader of the Labour party Keir Starmer, raised his concern over the "persecution of Tamils" in his Thai Pongal message.
Elliot Colburn, MP for Carshalton and Wallington
Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group, Elliot Colburn emphasised the need “to hold Sri Lanka to account and fight for peace, accountability and justice for Tamils”.
He also noted that January marked the beginning of Tamil heritage month and expressed his gratitude for the contribution of the British Tamil community.
Theresa Villiers, MP for Chipping Barnet
In her statement, Villiers thanked Tamil doctors and nurses for playing a pivotal role in the NHS and emphasised the need for accountability for the atrocities committed against Tamils during the armed conflict.
Robert Halfon, MP for Harlow and Minister for Skills, Apprenticeships and Higher Education
Halfon highlighted the "cruical contributions" British Tamils have made to the UK and the "vital role" they have played in the NHS.
"It is essential that in 2023, we carry on pursuing justice and accountability against those who committed war crimes against Tamils" he stressed.
Halfon also called on the Sri Lankan government to meet the political aspiration of Tamils.
Paul Scully, MP for Sutton and Cheam and Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Tech and the Digital Economy and Minister for London
Scully noted that "Thai Pongal brings new opportunities" and emphasised that in 2023 there would be "new opportunities to look for greater accountability and justice in Sri Lanka".
He also emphasised the need to "mobilise the international community" to put pressure on the Sri Lankan government.
Steve Baker, MP for Wycombe and Minister of State for Northern Ireland
Baker celebrated the harvest festival and the beginning of Tamil heritage month as well as emphasised the need for reconciliation, accountability and justice in Sri Lanka.
Keith Prince, Member of the London Assembly
Member of the London Assembly, Keith Prince thanked the British Tamil community for their significant contribution and stressed the need to celebrate January as Tamil heritage month.
Louie French MP for Old Bexley and Sidcup
French provided the following message:
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