Silence is not an option

By email to:

Rt Hon Dominic Raab MP
Secretary of State for Foreign & Commonwealth Affairs

Dear Secretary of State,

The inhumane killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis has saddened all of us and, quite legitimately, has reignited questions about the treatment of black people in the United States of America and across the world.

Change is needed, and we all have a role to play in that change. Understandably, my constituents are rightly questioning what representations the UK is making to America at this time.

President Trump’s actions following this tragic event have been disgraceful.  Rather than trying to heal a divided nation and create a sense of unity, he has created further division and sparked hatred. For a president to utter the words “when the looting starts, the shooting starts”, should be unimaginable. These are not the words of someone looking to heal the divide.

The UK Government’s silence thus far, and its lack of unity with the American people is hugely disappointing, and I urge you to use that special relationship we so often hear about, to stand with the American people. Silence is unacceptable.

My constituents also share the concerns expressed by Amnesty International about UK-manufactured riot equipment being shipped to the United States for use in an excessive and militarised police response to Black Lives Matter protests.  Therefore, I also seek your assurances that the Government will end the exporting of these products until reassurances are sought that they are not being used to attack peaceful protestors, bystanders and journalists.

As you will be aware, several journalists have reported being shot at, teargassed, harassed and intimidated.  This situation is aggravated by a President who continues to tweet about mainstream media disinformation as ‘fake news’ and ‘an enemy of the people’.

The UK must speak up for the freedom of the press, and I would appreciate if you could let me know what – if any – discussions your department has had with US Government about upholding media freedoms.

Inaction on this matter is not an option; the UK must always stand against hatred and racism.

I look forward to hearing back from you regarding this pressing issue.

Yours sincerely,

Drew Hendry MP
Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch & Strathspey