Richard Ottaway
Richard Ottaway, chairman of the foreign affairs select committee

China has stated that it will ban a group of British MPs from visiting Hong Kong.

Members of the Commons Foreign Affairs Committee planned to visit to further an inquiry into the state of relations between the two states, three decades after the UK ceded sovereignty to the Chinese.

The joint declaration between China and the UK was signed in 1984 and led to the handover in 1997.

However, the Chinese embassy in London has said that if the group attempts the visit in December they will be turned away.

Sir Richard Ottaway, chairman of the committee, told Sky News: "The Chinese government are acting in an overtly confrontational manner in refusing us access to do our job."

He said that on Monday he will call for an emergency debate in the Houses of Commons.

The ban appears to be related to the current protests by pro-democracy campaigners in Hong Kong.

In July this year campaigners Martin Lee and Anson Chan met the committee in the Commons. Meanwhile there have been continued protests and arrests in Hong Kong this weekend.

But the ban comes as the campaign appears to be losing its momentum. The numbers of demonstrators are now much lower than at their peak earlier in the year, when millions of protestors flooded the streets and brought parts of Hong Kong to a standstill.

An opinion poll carried out by Chinese University of Hong Kong in October indicated that 56% of the population are willing to accept pre-selected candidates, in the forthcoming elections if the government makes the nominating committee more democratic.