Page last updated at 11:10 GMT, Saturday, 24 May 2008 12:10 UK

Tory calls Burma's leaders 'evil'

Burma devastation
More than two million people in Burma are in need of help

A leading Tory has said that the military regime in cyclone-struck Burma should be hauled before the International Criminal Court.

Andrew Mitchell, the party's shadow international development secretary, condemned the country's political leaders for failing its people.

"We see a regime run by evil thieving gangsters," Mr Mitchell told the Scottish Tory conference in Ayr.

Cyclone Nargis killed about 80,000 people when it hit Burma on 2 May.

Some 2.4 million people in Burma are estimated to be in urgent need of help in the wake of the storm.

However, there has been international condemnation following the reluctance of the military regime to allow outside aid agencies in to help the sick and destitute.

'Crimes against humanity'

Mr Mitchell, who was addressing delegates at his party's Scottish gathering on Saturday, said two million people in Burma were in danger because of the failure to develop a civil society in the country.

He said: "They [the military regime] don't give a fig for their people.

"I say that such leaders should be carted off to the International Criminal Court at The Hague and face charges of crimes against humanity."

Mr Mitchell made the call in a speech which said a Tory government would put "every possible effort" into conflict resolution.

Andrew Mitchell
Andrew Mitchell said the Scotland-Malawi agreement was a good thing

He said an aid deal signed in 2005 between Scotland and one of Africa's most impoverished countries could be the model for similar agreements elsewhere in Britain.

The agreement sends Scottish know-how in areas like health and education and economic development to Malawi, with which Scotland has historic links.

It was reached at the instigation of the then Labour First Minister of Scotland, Jack McConnell.

Mr Mitchell said a Tory government at Westminster would give its "full support" to the Scotland-Malawi agreement.

He went on: "I'd like to see many similar twinning arrangements up and down the land, knitting people in Britain together with people from the developing world.

"Showing that development is about so much more than just money - its about sharing skills and expertise.

"So, I pledge today that a Conservative government at Westminster will give its full support and encouragement to the Malawi partnership - and will promote and encourage twinning relationships which support development objectives."


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