Tories seek confirmation on Kenya and Pakistan from Miliband

The Conservatives have called on foreign secretary David Miliband to come before the Commons next week to set out the UK’s position on Kenya and Pakistan.

In a letter to Mr Miliband, shadow foreign minister David Lidington has called on the government to ensure urgent action is taken in both countries as violence continues to cause international concern.

The Conservatives have urged the government to work with the EU and Commonwealth for urgent action in the African nation.

Specifically they want Mr Miliband to reassure MPs Britain and the rest of the EU are pressing for EU monitors’ recommendations that the results from the presidential election should be re-tallied using voting totals from the constituency level rather than nationally.

Violence has been ongoing in Kenya since the disputed presidential election, held on December 27th.

Mr Lidington wrote: “In Kenya both EU and Commonwealth monitors have observed serious electoral malpractice.

“I hope that you will be able to report next week on how Britain is using its membership of both organisations to exert the maximum diplomatic pressure to end the bloodshed and restore political stability in Kenya.”

The Conservatives are also seeking assurances that steps have been taken to protect British citizens in Kenya and that the government will respond positively to appeals from the Kenyan Red Cross.

The British high commissioner in Nairobi, Adam Wood, issued advice to British nationals in Kenya and insisted the commission is doing all it can to ensure their safety.

In a statement, Mr Wood said: “The British High Commission is currently being staffed 24 hours. We have increased the number of phone lines available for British nationals to contact us. Details will be given to the media and are available through our website.

‘We remain appalled by and condemn the continued incidents of violence, and the horrific killings that have been reported. We urge all political leaders to call for calm and an end to the violence, to restrain their followers, to act within the law and to respect human rights.”

The high commissioner confirmed Douglas Alexander, international development secretary, has decided to release £1 million from the development programme for Kenya to the Red Cross.

Mr Lidington further wants Mr Miliband to explain to the Commons the British government’s role in Pakistan.

He wrote: “On Pakistan, we regret the postponement of the elections. A huge responsibility rests on President Musharraf to ensure that the elections take place on the February 18th as now promised and that they are genuinely free and fare.

“To lift the current restrictions on the press and broadcasters in Pakistan seems to me to be essential in order to restore confidence in the electoral process among the people of Pakistan and the international community.”

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