CONSERVATIVE
New Forest East

FOREIGN AFFAIRS – BURMA AND TOTAL OIL – 15 June 2005

[John Bercow (Buckingham): ... Let us consider the EU-wide position. Since 1988, $4 billion of trade and investment has been conducted with Burma by member states of the European Union. Total – one of the most serious offenders whose activities have done a great deal to prop up the brutal, savage military dictatorship in Burma – is in the process of investing about $400 million in Burma. I have raised the matter with the Prime Minister in response to his statements in the aftermath of European summits. I have urged him to add to the list of agenda items on which he is regularly in dispute with President Chirac by rightly remonstrating with him about allowing the disgraceful, antisocial and deeply damaging behaviour of Total to prop in that way. ...]

Dr Julian Lewis: I have waited many a long year for an opportunity to tell my hon. Friend the Member for Buckingham that he is being far too optimistic and sanguine about the European Union; that opportunity has now arrived. The chances of the European Union doing anything effective against Total are minuscule. However, the company is this country's fourth biggest oil supplier. Can my hon. Friend not think of measures that this country could take to hit Total where it hurts – in its pocket? Such measures might prove slightly more effective.

[For Julian's speech later in this Debate, click here.]