BUSINESS QUESTION – ZIMBABWE – 27 February 2003
Dr Julian Lewis: While we are rightly focusing on Iraq, may I nevertheless ask for a further debate on Zimbabwe? That would enable me to raise the case of the family of my constituent Hilary Parsons, whose son and daughter-in-law have been forced off their farm at Karoi, whose daughter-in-law and grandchildren were attacked by a mob of 30 so-called war veterans when they returned to see if the remaining animals were all right, who were told that an official of the Zimbabwe Football Association, one Temba Mliswa, now owns the farm –
[Mr Deputy Speaker: Order. The hon. Gentleman must not give the contents of the speech that he would make if such a debate were to be granted. I think that the Leader of the House may have got the point.
Robin Cook: I welcome the fact that regularly on a Thursday hon. Members raise their concerns about Zimbabwe, because it is very important that the Government of Zimbabwe should be under no illusion about the depth and breadth of feeling on the issue in this House. I fully agree with the hon. Gentleman that the appalling things are taking place in Zimbabwe are wholly deplored on both sides of the House, in particular the forcible land settlement of people who have contacts with the regime at the expense of people who previously owned and farmed that land. That is not only wholly unacceptable, but partly contributes to the appalling malnutrition and food shortages in Zimbabwe.]