Scotland’s Foreign Policy Footprint

Part of Delegated Legislation (Committees) – in the House of Commons at 9:24 pm on 3rd December 2018.

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Photo of Alan Duncan Alan Duncan Minister of State 9:24 pm, 3rd December 2018

I am happy to describe the hon. Lady and her party in any way that she wishes. She knows me well, and I always wish to observe the courtesies of this House and courtesies to those across the Floor of the House. I hope that I have always shown that, and indeed the tone of this debate is that we wish to express certain things in a collegiate way.

I was grateful to the hon. Member for North East Fife for contacting me in advance of the debate to give me an idea of what he intended to say. Despite having spoken to him, I did not fully anticipate what everyone else on the SNP Benches intended to say, nor the length or the imagination with which they would contribute to a debate entitled “Scotland’s Foreign Policy Footprint”. It seemed that the hon. Gentleman wanted to name every distinguished Scot born in his constituency, and the soft power of Scottish education that I have enjoyed this evening is very much down to his knowledge and his wish to impart it to the wider world at this extraordinary hour in the House of Commons. I have learned more about William Wallace than I ever learned at school, and about all the other names from his constituency. I cannot totally pronounce them all, but I think I heard him right.

I genuinely speak as someone with a Scottish heritage. My late aunt was a Church of Scotland medical missionary for 30 years. She was teaching basic health in Nepal, Sikkim, Bhutan and Tibet 40 years ago, telling people how to wash their hands and drink fresh water. That is an example of the soft power of Scottish origin that all the SNP Members were trying to illustrate tonight.