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Cross party British MPs urge action over Sri Lanka's political crisis

A cross party group of British MPs, the All Party Parliamentary Group for Tamils (APPGT) have urged the UK government to take urgent action over the Sri Lanka's unfolding crisis following the sacking of the prime minister, Ranil Wickremesinghe and appointment of the former president, Mahinda Rajapaksa in his place. 

In a letter to the British foreign secretary, Jeremy Hunt, the APPGT questioned what action the government had been taking to ensure political stability on the island. 

"Given the UK Government's long history with Sri Lanka, we would be grateful if you could outline the UK Government's assessment of events in Sri Lanka. Please outline steps the Government is taking to all for political stability in Sri Lanka.

Please can you also outline what discussions have been helf with international counterparts regarding these events, and we would in particular like to know if this issue has been discussed with the Chinese and Indian Governments?" 

The letter, signed by the APPGT chair, Paul Scully MP as well as Edward Davey MP, Tom Brake MP, Theresa Villiers MP, Siobhain McDonagh MP, Zac Goldsmith MP, Wes Streeting MP, Bob Blackman MP, Joan Ryan MP, Stephen Timms MP, Mike Gapes MP and Virendra Sharma MP, also highlighting the risk faced by Tamils following Rajapaksa's return to power and called on Hunt to address the House on this issue as soon as possible. 

"A large proportion of the Tamil diaspora lives in the UK, including many in our constituencies; the thought of Mahinda Rajapaksa becoming Prime Minister causes great distress for Tamils in the UK and back in Sri Lanka. The threat of Mahinda Rajapaksa stoking nationalist divisions in Sri Lanka which previously fuelled the decades long civil war is very real and must not be dismissed by the international community."

"We therefore believe that it is vitally important that the UK Government a widespread outbreak of violence and we would therefore like to know if you have any plans for either yourself or the Minister of State for Asia and the Pacific to address the House at the earliest opportunity. Failing this we would be grateful if you could meet with Parliamentarians on the APPG for Tamils to discuss this matter."

Read full letter here or see below: