Monday, January 09, 2006

MP Condemns Blair Involvement in Cyprus Property Issue

North Thanet`s MP, Roger Gale has this (Monday) evening condemned the involvement of the Prime Minister's wife, Cherie Booth, QC, in property issues relating to northern Cyprus.

Speaking at the House of Commons this evening following receipt of an answer to a written parliamentary question the MP said:

"The Downing Street position is inconsistent with the Foreign Office position.

It is simply not good enough for the Prime Minister's wife, acting in any "professional” capacity, to defend the interests of those exploiting stolen and occupied property in the northern part of the Island of Cyprus while the F&CO says, as they have:

"The Government warns British citizens of the risks of purchasing property in northern Cyprus that arise from the international community's non-recognition of the self-declared "Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, the property implications of any future settlement and the claims to ownership of Cypriots displaced in 1974.

We further warn British citizens that they may face legal proceedings in the Cypriot courts and elsewhere in the EU including the UK.". (Douglas Alexander, Minister).

I have spent parliamentary years seeking to secure the restoration of a home stolen from my constituent, George Gerolemou, now 93 years old, and I think that I am entitled to object to the signal being sent out from one corner of Downing Street in conflict with the "warning" issued by the Foreign Office.

The theory is that "Cherie Booth, QC" has nothing to do with government. The fact is that her involvement in another case allegedly funded by a former North London Turkish Cypriot Labour Councillor and seeking to defend the interests of British nationals who claim to "own" a villa built on land belonging to a Greek Cypriot refugee, is clearly designed to bestow legitimacy upon an illegal regime and upon the illegal development of the villas that are now smothering the northern part of the Island.

It is not surprising that the Cypriot community resident in the UK is spitting blood at the insensitivity, to say the least, shown by someone very close to the Prime Minister of this Country. Once again it would seem that venal self-interest is taking precedence over the legitimate rights of those who have had their properties illicitly taken from them."

Speaking before the response to the Parliamentary question at the Blessing of the Seas ceremony in Margate yesterday (Sunday, 8th January) Roger Gale had told representatives of the local and London Cypriot community:

"I am ashamed that those in high places in my country are seeking to represent the interests of those who have illegally acquired land and property in your Island. My constituent, George Gerolemou, and his compatriots,wish to return to their homes and, within the European Union, have a right so to do and it is those human rights that the United Kingdom, as a guarantor power, ought to be protecting".

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