Richard Ratcliffe and Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe have sacrificed enough. The Government must bring an end to this ordeal now.
Last week I was honoured and humbled to visit Richard Ratcliffe outside the Foreign Office on the sixteenth day of his hunger strike. For 21 days, Richard camped outside the front of the foreign office, forgoing food and water with one demand; the government does more to secure his wife, Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe's release from Iran.
On Saturday, Richard’s protest ended when he announced that he had “promised Nazanin to end the hunger strike” adding that that their daughter “Gabriella needs two parents.”
I applaud his bravery in the face of cold government indifference to bring his wife, the mother of his child home, and I hope he will fully recover after his physically and mentally taxing ordeal.
It is deplorable that the despite more than 2000 days having passed since Nazanin was erroneously detained in Iran, Boris Johnson has allowed this ordeal to drag on through his inaction, firstly as Foreign Secretary under Theresa May, and now as Prime Minister.
Furthermore, it shames us that any citizen of this country should despaired by our governments inaction that they need to embark on a hunger strike to bring their loved one's home.
In the five and a half years since Nazanin’s wrongful arrest, five Foreign Secretaries and three Prime Ministers have failed to resolve this family’s appalling ordeal and bring her home to the UK.
After this length of time, I must ask at what point Prime Minister is going to wake up and realise his government’s approach to securing the release of UK nationals unfairly imprisoned abroad like Nazanin has been an abject failure.
The priority of any Government should be to protect its citizens, whether here or abroad and in this instance, there has been a clear dereliction of duty.
Speaking to my colleagues in Parliament I know this is an issue that rightly transcends political divides.
As the Her Majesty's Opposition, Labour has made clear that we would support the Government in pursuing every avenue available in securing the safe return of Nazanin to her family.
Despite cross party commitments, the Government are wallowing in their own inaction.
Bring increased sanctions on Iran to Parliament and we will support you. Move to pay off historic debts between the UK and Iran. Take any action that tells us this issue is a priority for you Prime Minister.
Your inaction is a political choice and Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe and her family are paying the price.