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Budget Resolutions - Amendment of the Law

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 6:56 pm on 13th March 2017.

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Photo of Boris Johnson Boris Johnson Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs 6:56 pm, 13th March 2017

I have to say that I am deeply disappointed that I finally gave way to the hon. Gentleman, because he has shown the most staggering ignorance of the British Council, of Foreign Office spending and of the success of our diplomatic network. However, I will give him the answer to his question. In response to the challenge and the opportunities that we have, we are increasing our representation: just in our European posts, 50 more diplomats and 25 new trade experts have been recruited. We are expanding a fantastic network, and that is on top of the enormous soft and hard power that we have. As I am sure the House will know, the United Kingdom is the third biggest contributor to development finance in the world, after the United States and the European Union. That is an extraordinary record, of which I think every Member in the House—certainly every member of this Conservative Government —should be proud.