Diary - piracy in international waters

Out into the sunshine first thing and then to the Commons. Coffee and papers and then routine constituency matters before attending the first of three Urgent Questions (UQs) on the latest outbreak of violence in Hong Kong. Pictures have been released showing men in white t-shirts attacking pro-democracy protesters in the Yuen Long MTR station. It is claimed they were members of triad gangs. This is not the first time that China has flexed its muscles in Hong Kong and there are fears that these attacks were premeditated. Along with other colleagues, I raised concerns at China's interference in Hong Kong and, if this is what is happening now, how much worse will it get by 2047 when Hong Kong finally returns to China. Three Statements followed the three UQs and I again attended the first of these. Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt made a Statement on the on-going crisis in the Gulf, where the Iranians have hijacked the British-flagged tanker Stena Impero and are holding the crew. This is an outrageous move and amounts to piracy on the high seas, not that the Iranians care two figs for that inconvenience. Listening to Mr Hunt, I was concerned at what appeared to be a sit-back-and-see attitude for fear of escalating the situation. HMS Montrose, the only British warship in the area, arrived too late to help. She's already escorted 30 merchant vessels through the Straits and had acted alone. It was this point that I raised. Why were so few military resources available when we could guess that Iran would behave in this way after Royal Marines boarded one of their vessels taking oil to Syria. I suggested placing Royal Marines on board British-flagged vessels in order to deter the Iranians in the future. Mr Hunt said this had been considered but was rejected as too provocative. I'm afraid at this point I was incredulous. An excellent point was made that we need to spend more on defence and especially our navy. I concur. At 1800 I headed to No 10 with other colleagues to attend the PM's farewell drinks party. Mrs May spoke very briefly. It was then time to head home.