Global Britain and the International Rules-based Order

Part of Brexit, Science and Innovation – in the House of Commons at 3:08 pm on 6th September 2018.

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Photo of Thomas Tugendhat Thomas Tugendhat Chair, Foreign Affairs Committee, Chair, Foreign Affairs Committee 3:08 pm, 6th September 2018

I beg to move,

That this House
welcomes the Government’s aspiration to ensure the UK retains its influence and status as it prepares for departure from the EU;
notes that for Global Britain to be more than a worthy aspiration the slogan must be backed by substance;
further notes the threats to the international rules-based order posed, in particular, by the aggressive stance of the Russian Government;
and therefore calls on the Government to publish by 31 October 2018 its assessment of the threats posed by Russia and other hostile states to the international rules-based order, and the Government’s strategy and resources for countering those threats.

It is a pleasure to rise to speak on this motion, which stands not only in my name but in the names of every other member of the Committee that I am privileged to chair. I am particularly privileged because we have such a wide range of views and yet such a harmonious existence; that is naturally down to their skill as politicians rather than mine as their convener. I am grateful they have kindly agreed to allow me to speak on this motion today.

We are here to talk about global Britain, and that is because—as the Clerk who will be expertly advising you throughout this debate, Mr Deputy Speaker, will be able to tell you, having been such an expert Clerk of my Committee beforehand—the debate is about how Britain resets its relationships as we move away from the structures that have kept us propped up according to some, or stable according to others, for the past 40 or 50 years. The argument for this country is really about how we set ourselves in this new, turbulent world. The Committee has asked the Foreign Office that question and we have, I am afraid, been extremely disappointed by the answer; we have found a headline and a slogan, but that is largely it.