Image Credit: Gulf News

London: Leading members of Britain's new Parliament met recently to re-establish the UK-UAE All Party Parliamentary Group, APPG.

The informal grouping, which brings together members of both the House of Commons and the House of Lords who are interested in the UAE and its relationship with Britain, ceases to exist at every British General Election and is then re-established by members of the new Parliament. Over ninety parliamentarians have now joined the group.

Members of all of Britain's three main political parties were represented at the meeting, at which a new set of officers was elected.

Lord (Michael) Howard of Lympne, a former leader of Britain's Conservative Party, who was a government minister for over 10 years until 1997, was elected as Chairman, with Kevan Jones MP, a former Minister of Defence under the last Labour Government, and Lord (Tim) Clement-Jones, a Liberal Democrat, being elected as Vice-Chairmen. Mark Tami MP, Labour, was elected as Secretary and Priti Patel MP, Conservative, as Treasurer.

Commenting after his election, Lord Howard of Lympne said: “I am delighted to have been elected Chairman of this Group, particularly at such an interesting time in UK-UAE relations. Parliamentarians in both Houses and from all parties recognise the importance of the UAE as a trading partner and strategic ally. I expect links between our two countries to strengthen further during this Parliament and I hope that the All-Party Parliamentary Group will contribute to that process.”

The meeting was attended by Mohammad Al Otaiba, charge d'affaires at the UAE Embassy in London.

The Embassy, he said, “welcomes the re-establishment of this valuable group, whose purpose is to promote relations between the two countries. Many members of both Houses of Parliament are interested in the UAE,” he added, promising that the Embassy “will endeavour to keep the Group informed about the latest developments in the UAE, and thereby widen an appreciation of our country among policy-makers in Britain.”