The Speaker of the House of Commons, Rt Hon John Bercow MP, is leading a cross party group of MPs on a working visit to Burma this week.
The visit, which includes a meeting with Aung San Suu Kyi and other key figures in civil society and the Burma parliament, marks the next stage of support by the UK House of Commons for Burma’s democratic journey. Since Aung San Suu Kyi was warmly welcomed to Parliament in 2012 and provided an historic address to both Houses in Westminster Hall, the House of Commons has received two delegations from the Rangoon parliament. In addition, staff of the House have been working directly with colleagues in Rangoon on enhancing scrutiny.
The delegation consists of the Speaker, Sir Malcolm Bruce (Lib Dem), Fiona Bruce (Con) and Valerie Vaz (Lab).
On the agenda for the MPs will be discussions on continued ethnic tensions and violence in Rhayngi State, the release of political prisoners and the speed of democratisation. The Speaker met with the President of Burma, President Thein Sein in Speaker’s House on 16 July and spoke of his long standing interest in the region and his first-hand experiences of seeing the devastating impact of continuing internal conflict.
The delegation will report back to Parliamentary colleagues on their experiences following the visit.
Speaking ahead of the visit, John Bercow said:
"Although I welcome the recent change of atmosphere in Burma, I remain very concerned about the ethnic violence and the pace of constitutional and democratic reform and said so directly to the President when I met him on 16 July. I look forward to visiting Burma with MP colleagues and seeing how Westminster may be able to help in securing democracy and freedoms for its people. My colleagues and I are happy to share the experience gained over many centuries in the UK on the development of free and democratic institutions."
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