19 September, 2018

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UK: Four Visits And Statements In The Commons On The Controversial Rajapaska Regime, Why ?

By Colombo Telegraph

Four visits in nine months and statements in the Commons on the controversial Rajapaska regime: why does the 28-year-old MP for Stockton James Wharton care so much about Sri Lanka? the UK Independent questions.

MP for Stockton James Wharton -Paid for by the Sri Lankan government | Photo Evening Gazette

The newspaper today reported; ” In February he joined the British-educated High Commissioner Christopher Nonis to toast Sri Lanka Independence Day. In June, he met President Mahinda Rajapaksa during his visit to London to celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee (Wharton had also met the President in December 2010, barely six months after being elected to Parliament). In August this year he again returned to the High Commission so that Nonis could introduce him to members of the Sri Lanka Olympics team after it arrived to take part in London 2012.”

Questioned by The Independent over the level of his involvement in Sri Lanka affairs, Wharton said: “I am very much not… the Sri Lankan government’s cheerleader.”

According to the Independent Wharton said that the lack of Sri Lankans in his constituency is “an advantage” because it allows him to make an independent contribution to the debate. “It means I can take an objective view on Sri Lanka without having pressure from either of the big two diaspora communities that live in the UK.”

The Independent said  that Wharton spoke out during a Parliamentary debate on Sri Lanka in February this year, saying that a report by a United Nations panel of experts, which detailed allegations of human rights violations by the Sri Lanka government and the rebel Tamil Tigers during the civil war, should be treated with caution. “Is it not clear that, while the report sets out a narrative and raises legitimate concerns, it must not be taken as a factual account?” he asked.

For a 28-year old backbench Tory MP it was a highlight of his young political career. James Wharton beamed for the camera as he accepted a ceremonial plate from the Sri Lanka Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa.

According to the Independent, Wharton said he has made friends on both sides of Sri Lanka’s ethnic divide and that he hopes to make a contribution to building peace in a country that is still recovering from conflict. “There are areas that haven’t been resolved and areas where people have irreconcilable differences but there are a large number of areas where people could work together to make life better for the people in Sri Lanka.” Asked about the frequency of his visits to Sri Lanka and the country’s High Commission in London he said: “I don’t think it’s disproportionate or unreasonable, no.”

Wharton told the Independent  that he wished to introduce more balance into the discussion. “I do not pretend that things are absolutely fine in Sri Lanka, it would be ridiculous to do so. But I do think that the debate we have in the UK about it is very one-sided.”

When the Independent asked about his apparent obsession with Sri Lankan affairs, Wharton said his interests were partly business-related on behalf of his constituents. “I’ve got a number of companies on Teesside that do a lot of work out there.”  He declined to identify the companies.

“Wharton’s interest in Sri Lanka echoes that of the former Defence Secretary Liam Fox, who was a frequent visitor to the country despite having no obvious responsibilities for it. Dr Fox was forced to call off one visit to Colombo in late 2010 after his controversial assistant Adam Werritty had already flown on ahead amid reported concerns from the Foreign Office.” the Independent reported.

But John Mann, a Labour MP who has also travelled to Sri Lanka with the Royal Commonwealth Society, said the country still had “huge human rights problems” and that Mr Wharton had become too close to the government, the newspaper reported.

“’There’s a reason why he has been invited so many times by the Sri Lankan government, paid for by the Sri Lankan government so many times and that they are wining and dining him so often at the Sri Lanka High Commission in London,’ he said. ‘This is not a very effective use of parliamentary time and he’s going to have difficulty explaining it to his constituents.'” the Independent further reports.

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Latest comments

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    Obviously the guy has been bought by Big Brother Mahinda who is looting Lankan tax payers and running up the national debt to pay off stooges, while having Lamburgini and luxury car night races disturbing the peace in the middle of the night in Colombo!
    The Trade Unions Unions of Lanka must protest the car races and ask for austerity which the people have to bear.
    Lack of funding for the universities mean that they are run into the ground due to lack of funding and workers suffer due to the depreciation of the rupee due to Rajapakse’s massive debt – but the Rajapassa brats have their Christmas entertainment ready!
    STOP THE ROT – WORKERS MUST UNITE AGAINST THE RAJAPASSA CORRUPTION!

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      China Doll it is the works of Bell Pottinger & Company who canvass for MR with such purchases outside.

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      In the fashion industry everything goes retro except the prices.

      The best ideas come as jokes.
      Make your thinking as funny as possible,
      and then don’t rely on other people to do what YOU can do!

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    Better check who paid for his ticket and luxury holiday in Sri Lanka.

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      SRILANKAN TAX PAYERS OFCOURSE PAID FOR ALL THE 4 TRIPS AND ALL THE 5***** SERVICES BORROWED FROM CHINA AND FROM THE CHARITABLE AID PAID BY CHARITABLE ORGANISATIONS OF THE WORLD FOR THE SRILANKAN POOOOOOOOOOR PEOPLE BUT NOT TO BE SPENT ON THESE PUBLICITY SEEKERS HAVING A LAUGH ON THE EXPENCE OF THE SRILANKAN POOR. WHAT CAME OF THE EX FOREIGN MINISTER BY THE NAME OF FOX WHO WAS WINED AND DINED AGAIN ON THE SRILANKAN TAX PAYERS EXPENCE. NOTHING . MEN AND WOMEN MAY COME AND GO TO BE WINED AND DINED WITH NO PURPOSE OR INTEREST IN THE COUNTRY. JOLLY GOOD TIME WE ALL HAD IN COLOMBO . EXCELLENT.

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    When will the foolish masses realise that MR is in the hands of the US, the UK and India running this country for them. Where is the pride of the Sinhalese who abhored the Imperialists then along with these Madamulane type? What Hypocrisy these people resort to?

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    Funny how The Independent decided to make an issue of this instead of looking into the motives behind the rabid LTTE cheerleader squad of Siobahn McDonough, Keith Vaz et al.

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    There are so many British MPs who take parliamentary time to voice Tamil opinion on Sri Lanka. They do it in exchange for Tamil votes, in turn would convert to money.

    i.e. once they become a member money and perks that comes with the position amount to indirect payment. More because their talks in the House are not about the constituent but useless rhetoric about a distance place only to thrill a section of their voters. I think those are the real hypocrites.

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    I congratulate the Indie on discovering evidence of a Tory MP visiting Sri Lanka in support of a democratically elected SL govt which defeated the worst terrorist group of the late 20th century.

    Will the Indie fearlessly investigate how a legion of Labour MPs supported the banned LTTE in the UK? How they enabled the LTTE to fundraise in the UK to operate suicide bombers on public transport in Sri Lanka? If that’s too difficult for them, ask the Bureau of Investigative Journalism to do it for you.

    My top three LTTE supporting Labour politicians are:
    Joan Ryan, ex-MP for Enfield, ex-Home Office minister with special responsibilities for nationality, citizenship and immigration is now CEO of The Global Tamils Forum,. Irony?
    http://tinyurl.com/77nptva

    Ken Livingstone, who’s been “unrelenting [in his] support for the Tamil people’s struggle”, who attends fundraisers for LTTE suicide bombers and promised (if elected) would allow the LTTE to celebrate its leader’s birthday at Trafalgar Square, “so that Londoners in all their diversity can come and see and be part of what you have brought to this city.”
    http://tinyurl.com/3lx82hz

    Barry Gardiner MP who supports the de-proscription of the LTTE in the UK, supports the creation of a ‘Tamil homeland’ in Sri Lanka and accepted £1,000 from the “Association of Tamils, an LTTE front organization in UK.

    Almost forgot, the LTTE even enlisted Jimmy Saville’s help as they were about to be destroyed. Sadly Jim couldn’t fix it for them. http://tinyurl.com/d6k3748

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      Fantastic reply. All these corrupt UK ex- MP’s and US former AG can work for LTTE, a procribed terror organisation on fee basis, but some people get disturb when an independent MP ( There are no Tamil votes he has to depend on ) who make a fairier assesment on Sri Lanka. Please note that MR has won two Presidential elections with popular vote & General Election with more than 145 seats in Parliment. People are unable to find their toung to speak about democracy

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      Supporting LTTE for the political stand it took about discrimination of Tamils and violence on them by Srilanka Government and the Sinhala racists was never considered illegal by British Government. It is only supporting the unacceptable actions of LTTE such as killing of non combatants and dissidents, by intimidating people to raise funds or to make propaganda about the unacceptable actions was considered illegal and those who did so were jailed. Unlike Srilanka, UK is a democratic country where there is freedom of Expression and exposing atrocities committed on Tamils by Srilanka Government and its agents or espousing right to self determination including secession is not an offence. Unlike in Srilanka you cannot force the Judges in UK to give verdicts according to the whims and fancies of Sinhala racists to muffle Tamil dissent. What has happened to Liam Fox and Lord Naseby. Any MP in UK if he is found to have accepted any handouts including presents and free trips not in the interests of British government will be exposed by the free press and will have to face the music.

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    Bell Pottinger fee of Sterling Pound 3,000,000 was paid out of money that belonged to the people of Sri Lanka and what ever money spent by LTTE did not belong to the Sri Lankanpeople+++++

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      Another boot licker for the regime if you must know would be the scottish big mouth son of the dead scotish bigger mouth. guess who?

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    We have to remember that this article in The Independent has appeared in the context of possible legislation by the British government to prevent newspapers abusing their powers to hack private emails and phones. Right now the UK press is trying to prevent this happening by arguing that British politicians are so corrupt that only a powerful press unhindered by laws can expose them.

    In fact James Wharton is doing no more than many, many other MPs are doing: to visit other countries to enhance Britain’s trading and political relationships. Given the stagnant state of the EU it seems wise for British MPs and others to do all they can to improve relations with fast developing nations such as Sri Lanka, especially when more than half the Bitish public think the UK would be better off outside the EU. These visits by UK MPs can also be used to quietly persuade these other countries such as Sri Lanka to improve their human rights practices.

    James Wharton, like many other British MPs, is to be congratulated for looking to the future for Britain’s relations with Sri Lanka rather than dwelling on unsubstantiated stories about the past.

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