China's record on human rights is fueling calls for a boycott ©Getty Images

Labour, the main opposition party in the United Kingdom, has joined calls for a diplomatic boycott of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics and Paralympics.

Writing to the Government, shadow foreign secretary Lisa Nandy and shadow culture secretary Jo Stevens said that the Games should be used to demand "unfettered UN (United Nations) access to Xinjiang to conduct a full, transparent and independent investigation” into widespread allegations of abuses against Uyghur Muslims.

"This has been repeatedly sought by the UK and other governments but has not yet been realised”, continued the letter.

"If this is not granted, the UK government should not send ministers, Royal Family members or senior representatives to participate in any official duties or ceremonies at the Beijing Olympics."

UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has floated the idea of a diplomatic boycott previously, but no firm decision has yet been taken.

The Labour politicians described what is happening in Xinjiang as an "appalling situation”.

Senior opposition politician Lisa Nandy has joined calls for a diplomatic boycott of Beijing 2022 ©Getty Images
Senior opposition politician Lisa Nandy has joined calls for a diplomatic boycott of Beijing 2022 ©Getty Images

Campaigners say China's treatment of the Uyghur Muslim population in Xinjiang now amounts to a genocide.

It has been accused of using forced Uyghur labour, operating a mass surveillance programme, detaining thousands in internment camps, carrying out forced sterilisations and intentionally destroying Uyghur heritage.

Beijing claims the camps are training centres designed to stamp out Islamist extremism and separatism, and denies the charges laid against it.

It is facing growing calls to allow the UN unobstructed access to the region to investigate.

Politicians in Canada, Australia and the United States have all called for the Games to be used to take a stance on the issue too, with legislation which would confirm a diplomatic boycott of Beijing 2022 recently passed by the US Senate, the upper chamber of Congress.

Beijing is due to become the first city to host both the Summer and Winter Olympics next year, although the boycott threat appears likely to dominate the build-up to the event.