UK Relations: Saudi Arabia: 7th March 2018

Anna Soubry (Broxtowe) (Con)

Mr Speaker
Ah, another person who has been noisily chuntering from a sedentary position. She can now speak from her feet. I call Anna Soubry.

Anna Soubry
I would never do such a thing, Mr Speaker.​
As you know, Mr Speaker, I am a feminist. When I was a Health Minister—serving in the same Government as the right hon. Member for Twickenham (Sir Vince Cable), I might add—I had the honour to lead a delegation to Saudi Arabia, as a woman, obviously. At no time did I find any prejudice or disrespect, and I was quite surprised about that.

I commend all my right hon. Friend the Minister’s fine words. Does he agree that although we are obviously a long way from seeing in the Kingdom the sort of rights that we would expect of any modern civilised society, the best way to achieve those rights and to influence that country is to have firm conversations and a good relationship in private?

Mr Speaker
All I would say to the right hon. Lady, in the friendliest possible spirit, is that if in the course of her visit she met, for example, a prince, it might well be that that person thought that he was meeting a fellow royal.