Neil Parish is the Member Parliament for Tiverton and Honiton. Before entering Parliament Neil was a farmer and Member of the European Parliament for the South West for ten years. During his ten years in the European Parliament Neil was the Conservative Spokesperson on Agriculture, Chairman of the Agriculture and Rural Development Committee.
Neil has also acted as an election monitor during Zimbabwe's 2000 Presidential elections; where he criticised the conduct of Robert Mugabe's regime. During the 2008 Presidential election Neil Parish called on the British Government to reject the legitimacy of ZANU-PF and to recognise Morgan Tsvangirai's MDC party as the democratically elected Government of Zimbabwe. Neil is still banned from re-entering the country after voicing his criticism.
Next February, if not before, the European Union looks likely to lift a raft of sanctions imposed on President Robert Mugabe and his destructive Zimbabwean regime as a reward for apparently making “progress” towards holding elections by the end of 2013.
To me, this seems to be a classic case of putting the cart before the horse. Rather than rewarding Mugabe and his henchman in the run up to elections, we must stand firm in solidarity with the Zimbabwean people and only begin to ease pressure on the regime once internationally recognised free and fair elections have actually taken place, and the country once again follows international law.
To do otherwise, would be a failure by the EU to represent the victims of the Mugabe regime over the past three decades as well as ignoring all the evidence about what is happening on the ground now in Zimbabwe.