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Genocide trade bill row: Peers propose new amendment in Lords debate Genocide trade bill row: Peers propose new amendment in Lords debate
(about 2 hours later)
The Trade Bill has gone back and forth between the two Houses of Parliament.The Trade Bill has gone back and forth between the two Houses of Parliament.
Peers will make another attempt to amend the government's Trade Bill later - hoping to stop deals being done with countries who have committed genocide. Peers are making another attempt to amend the government's Trade Bill later - hoping to stop deals being done with countries who have committed genocide.
The bill has gone back and forth between Lords and MPs due to a row over the best way to tackle the issue.The bill has gone back and forth between Lords and MPs due to a row over the best way to tackle the issue.
The government got the backing of MPs - despite a Tory rebellion - to give select committees a greater role in examining allegations of genocide.The government got the backing of MPs - despite a Tory rebellion - to give select committees a greater role in examining allegations of genocide.
But Lord Alton wants claims looked at by people with judicial experience.But Lord Alton wants claims looked at by people with judicial experience.
Speaking in a debate on the bill in the House of Lords, the crossbench - or independent - peer said: "We failed to predict genocide, we failed to prevent genocide, we failed to protect victims of genocide and we failed to prosecute perpetrators of genocide.
"The genocide amendment is a modest attempt to begin to address some of those failings."
Narrow government win in genocide trade bill voteNarrow government win in genocide trade bill vote
Who are the Uighurs?Who are the Uighurs?
Will the UK refuse trade deals over human rights?Will the UK refuse trade deals over human rights?
A number of MPs, including many Conservative backbenchers, have been pressing the government to take a tougher stance on human rights abuses - especially in light of the treatment of the Uighur Muslim population in China.A number of MPs, including many Conservative backbenchers, have been pressing the government to take a tougher stance on human rights abuses - especially in light of the treatment of the Uighur Muslim population in China.
The House of Lords previously backed an amendment put forward by independent peer Lord Alton to give British courts the right to decide if a country was committing genocide - which would then impact the decision over whether to sign a trade deal with them. The House of Lords previously backed an amendment put forward by Lord Alton to give British courts the right to decide if a country was committing genocide - which would then impact the decision over whether to sign a trade deal with them.
His proposal got the public backing of a number of Conservative MPs and looked set to lead to a rebellion in the Commons.His proposal got the public backing of a number of Conservative MPs and looked set to lead to a rebellion in the Commons.
But the government used parliamentary procedure to prevent MPs voting on the amendment and instead managed to secure enough support for its own measure.But the government used parliamentary procedure to prevent MPs voting on the amendment and instead managed to secure enough support for its own measure.
This would allow a parliamentary committee to trigger a Commons debate and vote if it decided there were "credible reports" that genocide had been committed by a state the UK was negotiating a trade deal with.This would allow a parliamentary committee to trigger a Commons debate and vote if it decided there were "credible reports" that genocide had been committed by a state the UK was negotiating a trade deal with.
New panelNew panel
Lord Alton had been expected to re-table his amendment as the bill returned to the House of Lords - in a process known as "ping-pong" - but he has instead put forward a new one.Lord Alton had been expected to re-table his amendment as the bill returned to the House of Lords - in a process known as "ping-pong" - but he has instead put forward a new one.
His latest proposal would keep the select committee report on genocide as the first step, but it would then be referred to a panel of five MPs and Lords who had held "high judicial office" in the past - such as former High Court or Court of Appeal judges.His latest proposal would keep the select committee report on genocide as the first step, but it would then be referred to a panel of five MPs and Lords who had held "high judicial office" in the past - such as former High Court or Court of Appeal judges.
Peers will debate and vote on the amendment on Tuesday afternoon and, if approved, it will then return to the Commons again for another vote. During the debate on his amendment, Lord Alton accused the government of "total inadequacy" on its response to genocide.
He said peers would send the "strongest possible message that this House will not remain indifferent or silent to the very worst atrocity crimes nor will your lordships be satisfied with a slight of hand".
Peers will vote on the proposal on Tuesday afternoon. If approved, it will then return to the Commons again for another vote.