Good morning. Most media commentators found Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe commendably impressive when she held a press conference yesterday, but on social media she received some criticism from people who thought she was mistaken in criticizing the government as it had secured her release by pay £ 400 million to Iran. (It was money Britain has owed Iran for decades, not a ransom, but that distinction was overlooked in Twitter’s screaming corridors where the nuance never survives.)
This morning, one of the former Secretary of State, whom Zaghari-Ratcliffe accused of not doing enough to help her, came to her defense. She was right, she said Jeremy Hunt. In an unusually honest admission from a former minister, Hunt used a thread on Twitter to say that Zaghari-Ratcliffe was betrayed by the government.
Hunt also joins Zaghari-Ratcliffe and her family, their MP Tulip Siddiq and former Secretary of State Alistair Burt, who support calls for an inquiry into what went wrong.
And he also points to a structural problem in the government that may have made the situation worse. In the United Kingdom, on average, secretaries stay in the post for less than two years (compared to almost three years in Germany). And as Zaghari-Ratcliffe pointed out yesterday, there were five foreign secretaries in the six years she was detained in Iran. If any of them had been longer on the post, they could have made more progress.
(Part of the problem, though, was that there were also three prime ministers, and a new prime minister would usually have a new foreign minister.)
Here’s Hunt’s Twitter thread in its entirety.
Here is the agenda for the day.
9.30: A verdict has been handed down in the case brought by West Midlands police against former Labor minister Chris Mullin, who refuses to disclose source material for his acclaimed 1980s book revealing the conviction of Birmingham Six for the pub bombings in the city for being a spontaneous abortion. Justice.
9.30: ONS publishes new figures on excess deaths in England and Wales from March 2020 to December 2021.
10.15: Sir Parick Vallance, the Government’s Leading Scientific Adviser, is testifying before the Lords Scientific Committee on a British Science and Technology Strategy.
11:00: Jacob Rees-Mogg, the Brexit minister, and Neil O’Brien, the level-up minister, testify before the Commons’ public administration and constitutional committee on procurement strategy.
11.30: Downing Street is holding a lobby briefing.
After 12.30: MPs debate the Lord’s amendment to the bill on nationality and borders.
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