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 very grateful to my hon. Friend for making that point. Although I stand here as a Foreign Office Minister, soft power goes far beyond the Foreign Office. Soft power and our influence and the respect in which we are held and therefore the manner in which we can have some bearing on the course of international events is not just a matter of departmental activity on the part of the Foreign Office; it is also, of course, international development where we are the only major western economy to commit to spend 0.7% of our GDP on international development. I have to say that I was very proud to have spent four years as an International Development Minister at a time when that 0.7% commitment was first being applied, which coincided with the Arab spring and what was happening in Syria. Essentially, we turned on a sixpence in order to commit the best part of £1 billion, and subsequently more, to relieve the suffering of people hit by conflict and instability.