- Bahrain Grand Prix
Parliamentary group speaks out in support of Bahrain GP
An All-Party Group from the UK parliament has written an open letter in the Times in support of the this year's Bahrain Grand Prix going ahead.
It comes in response to an open letter from members of the UK's House of Lords encouraging the FIA and Formula One to drop the race, published in the same newspaper last week.
The most recent letter, signed by Conor Burns, MP, and Thomas Docherty, MP, of the All-Party Group on Bahrain, argues: "The presence of thousands of Western visitors and journalists in the run-up to and during the event will act as an additional incentive to the authorities in Bahrain to show the international community its sincerity in the cause of reform."
It was published on the anniversary of last year's 'day of rage', which saw an escalation in pro-democracy protests and fatal clashes between protestors and security forces. The BBC reports that the anniversary has resulted in a heavy police presence on the streets of Manama, but there are no signs of a mass protest despite violent clashes in outlying villages.
The full letter from the All-Party Group on Bahrain reads:
"Sir, We note with concern calls on these pages to cancel the planned Grand Prix to be held in Bahrain.
"Bahrain has been conveniently lumped together with other nations and labelled part of the 'Arab Spring'. Yet the response of the government of Bahrain has been notably different. Bahrain invited independent human rights lawyers, the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI), to investigate and has started to implement its recommendations. In addition to elections that have led to a four-fold increase in women elected to parliament, Bahrain has also asked John Timoney, the former New York police chief, and John Yates, the former Assistant Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, to overhaul policing, Sir Daniel Bethlehem, the FCO's former principal legal adviser, to review judicial processes, and opened detention facilities for inspection by the Red Crescent.
"Those who want Bahrain to continue on the path of genuine reform will do the cause no service by cancelling the Grand Prix this year. Indeed, surely the presence of thousands of Western visitors and journalists in the run-up to and during the event will act as an additional incentive to the authorities in Bahrain to show the international community its sincerity in the cause of reform and that their support for Bahrain is well placed?"