Cross party bid to halt Grand Prix
A cross party campaign calling for a halt to this weekend's Bahrain GP because of Government crackdowns has been launched in Parliament.
Labour MP Jeremy Corbyn (Islington North) has won support for an early day motion from Tory Peter Bottomley (Worthing West) and Liberal Democrat Bob Russell (Colchester).
The motion comes as the 12 Formula One teams arrive in the Gulf state to prepare for the weekend's event.
Formula One is due to race in the Kingdom despite daily disruption in the capital Manama and pledges from opponents to the governing regime to stage protests at the Sakhir circuit.
Mr Corbyn's motion said: "This House is astonished that the Bahrain Formula One race is going ahead despite huge concerns over abuse of human rights expressed by Amnesty International and others.
"It notes that a trial is continuing of 52 medical professionals who tried to help victims of the suppression of protests.
"It believes that the Formula One race will be used by the Bahrain government as an endorsement of its policies of suppression of dissent.
"And it accordingly calls for its cancellation."
Five MPs have so far signed the motion, which was tabled yesterday.
Shadow foreign secretary Douglas Alexander yesterday called for the race to be cancelled.
He said: "F1 bosses should call off the scheduled Bahrain Grand Prix.
"To go ahead at present risks sending the wrong signal at a time when the authorities in Bahrain should be focused on delivering real reform."
But Jean Todt, president of the FIA, Formula One's governing body, insisted on Sunday the race was able to go ahead because conditions in Bahrain are "good and secure".
Speaking to German television in China, he said: "We have spoken...with representatives of the government, with the embassies and with neighbouring countries, as well as with European foreign ministries.
"We have made an extensive examination with a lot of checks. It is clear the grand prix can go ahead.
"There has been some controversy about it, but the FIA is a sports organisation. We are only interested in sport, not politics."
The Bahrain race was cancelled amid violent protests last season after being scheduled as the opening event of the 2011 calendar.
Attempts to reschedule it later in the year were unsuccessful but it was placed as the fourth event on the 2012 calendar.
Track action is scheduled to be on Friday, ahead of qualifying on Saturday and the race on Sunday.