Mongolia visit highlights increasing engagement with UK
BGIPU hosted from 22 to 26 February a parliamentary delegation from the State Great Hural of Mongolia, led by former Prime Minister, His Excellency Mr Amarjargal Rinchinnyam. Mr Amarjargal was joined by Mr Bat-Erdene Dashdemberel and Mr Enkh-Amgalan Luvsantseren and the delegation were accompanied by the Ambassador of Mongolia to the UK, His Excellency My Tulga Narkhuu, and Political Affairs Secretary, Mr Bold-Erdene Yadamsuren.
The first three days of the delegation’s visit were spent in Westminster, where the parliamentarians participated in a series of meetings and working lunches. On arrival to Parliament on 22 February the delegation were welcomed by the Chairman of Ways and Means and Deputy Speaker, Rt Hon Lindsay Hoyle MP, before receiving an introduction to Parliament from Head of the Overseas Office, Mr Crispin Poyser. Following this, Mr Bob Posner, Director of Party Election Finance, and Mr John Franks, Compliance Manager, of the Electoral Commission met with the delegation to discuss the regulation of political party finances in the UK.
Reflecting the visit’s focus on strengthening business relations between the two countries as well as inter-parliamentary ties, Monday’s lunch was then hosted by Mr John Grogan, Chair of the Mongolian-British Chamber of Commerce. Conversation focused on Britain’s links with Mongolia in the energy and resources sector and the delegation then went on to participate in afternoon meetings with Iain Wright MP, to discuss the role of committees, Amy Bell and Sally Pugh from the Cabinet Office, for a briefing on the UK Civil Service, and Adam Pile from the Cabinet Office to talk over the role of the Cabinet.
Following a Tuesday morning tour of the Palace of Westminster led by Baroness Barker, the delegation met with Mark Hendrick MP in his capacity as Mongolia lead in the Foreign Affairs Committee. Discussions centred on potential solutions to the Syrian conflict, economic sanctions against Russia and the importance of Britain staying within the European Union. Lunch was hosted by Lord Bowness, Vice-Chair of the APPG on Mongolia, where attendees congratulated the Mongolian members on their parliamentary vote to abolish the death penalty. Lord Howard and Ann Clwyd MP led discussions on the prominent issue of nomadic people within Mongolia and the effects of the country’s mining industry on the movement of citizens. The delegation then spent their afternoon with Minister for Trade and Investment, Lord Maude, considering Mongolian productivity, access to finance and the key to attracting inward investment.
The delegation’s last morning in London was spent meeting with Lord Norton of Louth to discuss constitutional issues and then Baroness Hooper and John Mann MP, where matters on the agenda ranged from law and order and terrorism in Mongolia to the educational system. The parliamentarians then witnessed a highly charged Prime Minister’s Question Time before moving on to a well-attended lunch hosted by Baroness Hooper.
Thursday saw the delegation travel to Cardiff, where the National Assembly for Wales provided an excellent programme, including a private tour of the Senedd and a meeting with Mr Lleu Williams of the Wales Governance Centre. The Mongolian MPs were provided with a summary of the Welsh political system and the country’s history, with subsequent discussions concentrating on the theme of national identity and the Welsh perception of the strength of devolution. Following a tour of Cardiff Bay, the delegation were joined for supper by Wayne David MP and Craig Williams MP, and Cardiff University’s Director of International, Mr Richard Cotton. The MPs had an opportunity to explain to the delegation the challenges of serving a Welsh constituency whilst sitting as a Parliamentarian in Westminster. The delegation returned to London on 26 February for departure back to Mongolia.