R50 – Ministerial Report from the Secretary of State for FCO. Watch

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Andrew97
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R50 – Ministerial Report from the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs,
The government has noted the passage of VM557 during the last parliament and I can confirm that the Consulate-General in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region have been directed, at my command, to perform same sex marriages for British nationals.
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Miss Maddie
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BosslyGaming are you aware that it's a legal requirement under British law that a marriage licence only be issued if the host government does not object? The Hong Kong government rejected so the embassy did not conduct same sex marriages as the HK government did not grant a marriage licence for same sex marriages. You need a bill to make this happens repealing the relevant law.

Andrew97 the relevant law banning same sex marriages in embassies and consulates abroad if the authorities of the country or territory the embassy is in objects is the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013 schedule 6 1(2)c. Can you rule if this statement is invalid/illegal and needs primary legislation to happen? Furthermore, the act references authorities to be the authorities who issue marriage licences. This is the Hong Kong government, not the Chinese one as Hong Kong marriage law differs to Chinese marriage law

I have linked two newspaper articles showing I have the right interpretation
https://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/...-not-hong-kong
https://www.theguardian.com/society/...tish-consulate
Last edited by Miss Maddie; 4 weeks ago
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The Mogg
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What's with these reports that are a couple of lines long, can they not just be statements?
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Baron of Sealand
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(Original post by Miss Maddie)
BosslyGaming are you aware that it's a legal requirement under British law that a marriage licence only be issued if the host government does not object? The Hong Kong government rejected so the embassy did not conduct same sex marriages as the HK government did not grant a marriage licence for same sex marriages. You need a bill to make this happens repealing the relevant law.

Andrew97 the relevant law banning same sex marriages in embassies and consulates abroad if the host government objects is the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013 schedule 6 1(2)c. Can you rule if this statement is invalid/illegal and needs primary legislation to happen?

I have linked two newspaper articles showing I have the right interpretation
https://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/...-not-hong-kong
https://www.theguardian.com/society/...tish-consulate
Since the People's Republic of China has sovereignty over Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, China's non-objection overrides Hong Kong's objection (note that diplomatic missions in mainland China have been performing gay marriage), which by the way was made under a different administration (meaning Her Majesty's government should at the very least ask if the current administration objects). The Kingdom of Spain also has been performing same-sex marriage at their consulate in Hong Kong, although of course they are not bounded by British law.

Diplomatic credentials in Hong Kong are presented and accepted by China, not to the Hong Kong government. The Hong Kong government, under the Sino-British Joint Declaration as well as the Hong Kong Basic Law, likewise has no power to issue a diplomatic note, as there are no provisions for the Hong Kong government to deal with diplomatic issues.

These have been outlined in the initial motion submitted and passed.
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Saracen's Fez
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(Original post by The Mogg)
What's with these reports that are a couple of lines long, can they not just be statements?
No, the difference between MRs and statements isn't to do with length. MRs are used to enact policy changes like this, whereas statements can't do that.

This (which changes consular policy) versus the statement I've just put up in AtG (which sets out our intention to do something) is about the clearest demonstration of the difference between MRs and statements I've seen yet, and would be a good example to be kept for new members' information.
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04MR17
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I hop the Leader of the Opposition is happy with the Government's sentence. Well worth asking for in my view. :yep::yep::yep:
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Miss Maddie
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(Original post by Baron of Sealand)
Since the People's Republic of China has sovereignty over Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, China's non-objection overrides Hong Kong's objection (note that diplomatic missions in mainland China have been performing gay marriage), which by the way was made under a different administration (meaning Her Majesty's government should at the very least ask if the current administration objects). The Kingdom of Spain also has been performing same-sex marriage at their consulate in Hong Kong, although of course they are not bounded by British law.

Diplomatic credentials in Hong Kong are presented and accepted by China, not to the Hong Kong government. The Hong Kong government, under the Sino-British Joint Declaration as well as the Hong Kong Basic Law, likewise has no power to issue a diplomatic note, as there are no provisions for the Hong Kong government to deal with diplomatic issues.

These have been outlined in the initial motion submitted and passed.
Situation likes this is why the UK law was worded to be 'authorities of the country or territory' the embassy is located in approve. Hong Kong is a territory of China, regardless of what it's called, and as such the UK law should still apply. The government is overstepping its mark by ignoring an authority in a territory. Amending the UK law would be unequivocal way to make this change. Even the RL foreign office consider the move to be illegal
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Jammy Duel
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So why has this taken so long?
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Baron of Sealand
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(Original post by Miss Maddie)
Situation likes this is why the UK law was worded to be 'authorities of the country or territory' the embassy is located in approve. Hong Kong is a territory of China, regardless of what it's called, and as such the UK law should still apply. The government is overstepping its mark by ignoring an authority in a territory. Amending the UK law would be unequivocal way to make this change
Like I said, there is currently a contradiction between the instructions from China and Hong Kong, and if the argument is that the smaller authority should be prioritized over the bigger one, then one must also wonder if the local authority of Admiralty should have been consulted, as they are an authority, and the Consulate-General is in their territory.

The second point I was making was the validity of a diplomatic note itself. There are no provisions for the Hong Kong government, either under British or Hong Kong law, to issue such a document. In other words, an objection issued in the form of a non-diplomatic note may be appropriate, but issued in the form of a document that the authority is not empowered to issue, cannot possibly be recognized. There's a reason why when the Consulate-General initially asked the Hong Kong government, all the government departments were telling them they could not respond to that, as the Hong Kong government cannot handle diplomatic matters. What the former chief executive did was irregular and unconstitutional.

There are cases where there may be a difference between our recognition of their sovereignty and actual control, such as in the case of Taiwan, Palestine, and Crimea. The word "territory" would be to deal with that difference, which does not exist in the case of Hong Kong and Macau/Macao, as both the Hong Kong and Macau governments recognize China's sovereignty over them.
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Miss Maddie
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(Original post by Baron of Sealand)
Like I said, there is currently a contradiction between the instructions from China and Hong Kong, and if the argument is that the smaller authority should be prioritized over the bigger one, then one must also wonder if the local authority of Admiralty should have been consulted, as they are an authority, and the Consulate-General is in their territory.

The second point I was making was the validity of a diplomatic note itself. There are no provisions for the Hong Kong government, either under British or Hong Kong law, to issue such a document. In other words, an objection issued in the form of a non-diplomatic note may be appropriate, but issued in the form of a document that the authority is not empowered to issue, cannot possibly be recognized. There's a reason why when the Consulate-General initially asked the Hong Kong government, all the government departments were telling them they could not respond to that, as the Hong Kong government cannot handle diplomatic matters. What the former chief executive did was irregular and unconstitutional.

There are cases where there may be a difference between our recognition of their sovereignty and actual control, such as in the case of Taiwan, Palestine, and Crimea. The word "territory" would be to deal with that difference, which does not exist in the case of Hong Kong and Macau/Macao, as both the Hong Kong and Macau governments recognize China's sovereignty over them.
Why is your interpretation of the British law completely different to that of the RL foreign office and their legal team? Why have four foreign office administrations, and their legal teams advising them, got the interpretation completely wrong despite immense pressure to change, and internally stated desire, to change?

You can write as much as you like about how the Chinese government is the superior legislature, you're still at odds with the RL foreign office who are obviously taking the straight forward and implied 'spirit of the law' interpretation of the 2013 Act. You're pushing a dodgy interpretation to further your own aims and thinking of rhetoric to support that interpretation. You should be writing bills to change the law if you don't like.
Last edited by Miss Maddie; 4 weeks ago
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Jammy Duel
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(Original post by Baron of Sealand)
Since the People's Republic of China has sovereignty over Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, China's non-objection overrides Hong Kong's objection (note that diplomatic missions in mainland China have been performing gay marriage), which by the way was made under a different administration (meaning Her Majesty's government should at the very least ask if the current administration objects). The Kingdom of Spain also has been performing same-sex marriage at their consulate in Hong Kong, although of course they are not bounded by British law.

Diplomatic credentials in Hong Kong are presented and accepted by China, not to the Hong Kong government. The Hong Kong government, under the Sino-British Joint Declaration as well as the Hong Kong Basic Law, likewise has no power to issue a diplomatic note, as there are no provisions for the Hong Kong government to deal with diplomatic issues.

These have been outlined in the initial motion submitted and passed.
A question must be asked, if your interpretation holds true why is it not defacto the case in TSR land by virtue of it being the case IRL, the RL case would suggest that while credentialed via Beijing it is in fact the government of Hong Kong that is recognised for purposes of objection or non-objection
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04MR17
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I really want the government to send this to division now and whip against it just for banter.
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Baron of Sealand
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(Original post by Miss Maddie)
Why is your interpretation of the British law completely different to that of the RL foreign office and their legal team? Why have four foreign office administrations, and their legal teams advising them, got the interpretation completely wrong despite immense pressure to change, and internally stated desire, to change?

You can write as much as you like about how the Chinese government is the superior legislature, you're still at odds with the RL foreign office who are obviously taking the straight forward and implied 'spirit of the law' interpretation of the 2013 Act. You're pushing a dodgy interpretation to further your own aims and thinking of rhetoric to support that interpretation. You should be writing bills to change the law if you don't like.
(Original post by Jammy Duel)
A question must be asked, if your interpretation holds true why is it not defacto the case in TSR land by virtue of it being the case IRL, the RL case would suggest that while credentialed via Beijing it is in fact the government of Hong Kong that is recognised for purposes of objection or non-objection
I will be submitting a bill to amend it if that will satisfy you.

But the argument that the real-life FCO has operated like that thus it must be legal holds no water at all. Governments do illegal things all the time, and this is, at best, a legally ambiguous situation. Like I said, different branches of the Hong Kong government itself declined to even respond to the Consulate-General, because there was simply no precedence for it. From the Consulate-General's side, the fact that they asked multiple departments to receive a no comment likewise suggested that they were not sure what they were supposed to do in the situation. Further, I have never heard the Hong Kong government issuing diplomatic notes to anyone regarding anything, because like I said, there's simply no legal provisions for that. I can issue something I claim to be a diplomatic note to the Embassy if they asked if I would like to join a party, but ever if I would be able to respond to that invitation legally with them accepting it, the Embassy still cannot possibly accept that as a diplomatic note, for the simple reason that a TSR Leader of the Opposition is not empowered to issue one, just like a chief executive of Hong Kong is not.

In other words, you're taking this situation, where neither of the governments knew what to do, and proceeded with something without a legal basis and was ultimately unprecedented, to suggest that it is perfectly legal with no grey area whatsoever. The Chinese government, on the other hand, does not show any sign of confusion over it.
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Baron of Sealand
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(Original post by 04MR17)
I really want the government to send this to division now and whip against it just for banter.
Is "the Liberals and Labour whipped against gay marriage" a news headline you wish to see?

In any case, I can now confirm that I will not be sending this to division (although of course others could). I have just finished writing the amendment to end this debate none of us is qualified to be a part of. It will be submitted in a few days, either as a party item or a private member item.
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04MR17
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(Original post by Baron of Sealand)
Is "the Liberals and Labour whipped against gay marriage" a news headline you wish to see?

In any case, I can now confirm that I will not be sending this to division (although of course others could). I have just finished writing the amendment to end this debate none of us is qualified to be a part of. It will be submitted in a few days, either as a party item or a private member item.
Another item about Hong Kong? Oh that's a wonderful idea.
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Baron of Sealand
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(Original post by 04MR17)
Another item about Hong Kong? Oh that's a wonderful idea.
It is not tailor-made for Hong Kong, as it will affect all British diplomatic missions overseas.
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CatusStarbright
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(Original post by Jammy Duel)
So why has this taken so long?
I presume someone internally began wielding a club to kick people into action.
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04MR17
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(Original post by CatusStarbright)
I presume someone internally began wielding a club to kick people into action.
No it's because the Conservative Party began asking for them to write a sentence. So they wrote a sentence and hope the Conservative party is now satisfied with said sentence, extremely useful I'm sure for the entire house.
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Jammy Duel
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(Original post by 04MR17)
No it's because the Conservative Party began asking for them to write a sentence. So they wrote a sentence and hope the Conservative party is now satisfied with said sentence, extremely useful I'm sure for the entire house.
And it was not done last term because?
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Baron of Sealand
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(Original post by 04MR17)
No it's because the Conservative Party began asking for them to write a sentence. So they wrote a sentence and hope the Conservative party is now satisfied with said sentence, extremely useful I'm sure for the entire house.
It's definitely more useful than most, if not all of your contributions in the recent weeks.
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