Simon Danczuk, a suspended Labour Party member of parliament (MP), addressed opposition BNP supporters in Dhaka last week and said the Awami League government had created a ‘culture of fear’, the Guardian newspaper reported on ThursdayThe government of Bangladesh reacted to his call, terming it interference in its “internal affairs”.“Talking about Bangladesh’s internal politics is interference in the internal affairs of the country,” The Guardian quoted a spokesman for the Bangladeshi high commission in London as saying.Danczuk, who reportedly flew to Dhaka on Friday, addressed tens of thousands of supporters of the opposition Bangladesh National Party (BNP) – telling them that since taking power, the current government had created a “culture of fear” with a “break down in human rights … and political opponents disappearing”.
The newspaper said Danczuk also called on British ministers to say “the [UK-Bangladesh] relationship has … soured. Sanctions should be applied if there is not a return to true democracy”.British ministers have not broken off relations with Bangladesh despite political violence scarring the country. The Guardian report mentioned that the UK remains the largest bilateral donor to Bangladesh, sending about £180m a year.The high commission spokesperson was said to have stated: “Bangladesh has a flourishing democracy and the next elections are set for 2019.”“Danczuk’s comments are similar to the one of the opposition parties Bangladesh Nationalist party, which is allied to the Jamaat-e-Islami party – which has been described as a ‘criminal organisation’ and has been identified to have links to all radical … terrorist groups,” the spokesperson was quoted to have observed.Danczuk, vice chair of the all-party parliamentary group on Bangladesh, was suspended in December by the Labour party after newspaper allegations about that he exchanged explicit messages with a 17-year-old girl, according to the Guardian.When contacted by the newspaper, the suspended MP said: “It’s not interference,” he said. “I did say that sanctions should be considered because of what has happened in Bangladesh. Numerous reports show the breakdown in human rights. The British government needs to pressurise Bangladesh into reason.”Teh Guardian also quoted a British foreign office spokesperson who said said: “The UK urges all Bangladesh’s political parties to work together to strengthen democratic and political accountability. Bangladesh is an important partner for the UK and we continue to support its people in their aspiration for a more stable, prosperous and democratic future.