Theresa Villiers, MP for Chipping Barnet, attended the AGM of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Tamils in the House of Commons on Wednesday to show her support for re-establishing this group for the new Parliament. At the meeting, James Berry, Conservative MP for Kingston and Surbiton was elected as the new chairman of the APPG, taking over the role carried out by Lee Scott during the last Parliament.
Speaking after the meeting, Theresa Villiers said "I was delighted to be present for the re-establishment of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Tamils for the new Parliament. I believe it is important for MPs to work across party lines on matters relating to the Tamil community. I welcome the fact that MPs from different parties are involved in this group."
"I also warmly welcome the election of James Berry as chair of the APPG. I supported his campaign in Kingston at the general election and I am sure he will do an excellent job as chairman. Today's meeting was also an important opportunity to pay tribute to the work of MPs who were not re-elected on 7th May. There was unanimous agreement that Lee Scott did an outstanding job as chair of the APPG for Tamils. He has been a champion of the Tamil cause and he will be much missed in the House of Commons."
"I am sure that the newly re-established APPG will continue to provide an important forum for discussion and support for Tamils and for efforts to achieve a negotiated settlement which protects the interests of Tamils and gives them and all parts of the community in Sri Lanka an effective role in Government. I believe that continuing efforts to hold to account those responsible for human rights abuses during the military conflict will also be high on the agenda for the APPG."
The MPs attending the meeting confirmed the objectives of APPG as being: To promote in Parliament peace with justice and dignity for Tamils in the island of Sri Lanka and advance their development so as to recognise their legitimate socio-political aspiration."