Hunt Fails to Convince House of Commons on Maritime Force
Iran Press TV
Tue Jul 23, 2019 01:27PM
The British Foreign Secretary's address to the House of Commons on Monday July 22 was met by scepticism, even derision, by attending MPs.
Fabian Hamilton, shadow minister for peace and disarmament, effectively demolished Hunt's position on the illegal capture of the super-tanker Grace 1 and Iran's subsequent detainment of the British-flagged Stena Impero.
Hamilton's revelation that the Gibraltar government had created new laws to justify the illegal capture of Grace 1, blew a hole in the British claim to be acting lawfully and in compliance with European Union (EU) directives.
In keeping with Hamilton's sceptical approach, other leading parliamentarians, notably Tory MP Jonathan Lewis, questioned the wider legality of the British action in the Gibraltar strait.
Former leader of the conservative party, Ian Duncan Smith, pointed to the royal navy's shrunken status, and depleted capabilities, to cast doubt on Hunt's plan for a new maritime protection mission.
Hunt's plan envisages a European-led maritime force that would, supposedly, operate independent of, and parallel to, the US's plans for a maritime security coalition.
Addressing Hunt's plan directly, Tory MP Anne-Marie Trevelyan, questioned the practicality of the foreign secretary's proposal on account of the fact that other European powers lack both the resources and the political will to contribute.
Furthermore, Chris Bryant, a leading labour party MP, questioned Britain's ability to devise and implement a major maritime strategy independent of the US.
Hunt's response to Bryant was highly revealing as the foreign secretary admitted that "under the surface" the UK and US positions are "closer" than people think.
This can be construed as an admission that the UK acted as America's enforcer by illegally seizing Grace 1 in the Strait of Gibraltar.
Moreover, on account of "under the surface" UK-US strategic alignment, Hunt's proposal for a maritime protection mission will likely amount to little more than political rhetoric designed to shore up the US position in the Persian Gulf.
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