Cleverly dismisses calls ‘not to stand in the way’ of council boycotts

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Cleverly dismisses calls ‘not to stand in the way’ of council boycotts

Middle East minister responds to call made by Labour MP Andy Slaughter, who said the government must not 'encourage or support economic and financial activity in settlements'

Lee Harpin is the Jewish News's political editor

James Cleverly
James Cleverly

Middle East Minister James Cleverly has dismissed a request made by a Labour MP to “not stand in the way” of public bodies who decide to boycott companies they claim are investing in Israeli settlements.

Responding to a question from Hammersmith MP Andy Slaughter in the House of Commons, the Minister said: “Procurement by public bodies is governed by various public procurement regulations.

“The Public Contracts Regulations 2015 require contracting authorities to treat all economic operators equally and without discrimination.

“In addition, the Local Government Act 1988 requires local authorities to exercise their functions in relation to public supply or works contracts without regard to non-commercial matters, which includes the location in any country or territory.”

Slaughter had attempted to contrast Cleverly’s earlier claim that “his Department’s policy is not to encourage or support economic and financial activity in settlements”, with policy directed towards public bodies.

Leeds Labour MP Alex Sobel also used Foreign Questions on Tuesday to raise what he said was “vocal support” from the UK consulate in Jerusalem ” to oppose the illegal evictions in Silwan and Sheikh Jarrah. ”

Sobel asked “what practical action can the UK Government take to ensure that those evictions end?”

He added:” They run contrary to the intentions of the international fund for peace and, as the Minister has just stated, we are opposed to illegal occupations.”

Cleverly responded:”The UK enjoys a close and important relationship with Israel, and because we have that close relationship, we are able directly to bring up sensitive issues.

“I and my ministerial colleagues have brought up with the Israeli Government our opposition to those demolitions.”

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