Henry Smith MP: Statement on the Government Update on the British Indian Ocean Territory

I’m extremely disappointed that the Foreign & Commonwealth Office has chosen not to allow the Chagossian people the right of return to their homeland.

While I’ve always said we can’t turn back time, the Chagos islanders deserve the opportunity to return home.

The statement today does raise further questions and I’ve already started seeking clarification. £40 million has been pledged over the next ten years to support improvements to the livelihoods of Chagossians.

I’ve asked the Foreign Secretary for details on how these measures will support the UK’s largest Chagossian population, who have made their home in Crawley.

Additionally, this fund will support an expanded programme of visits for Chagos islanders to the British Indian Ocean Territory. This is not the resettlement that we wanted, however I hope this will enable more members of the community to visit the islands.

I’m proud to be Vice Chair of the Chagos All-Party Parliamentary Group – an example of a cause which attracts the support of all sides of the House of Commons.

The islanders are British citizens and it remains a point of principle that they should be given the chance to return to their homeland.

Henry Smith MP