Scotland’s Foreign Policy Footprint

Part of Delegated Legislation (Committees) – in the House of Commons at 10:00 pm on 3rd December 2018.

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Photo of Alan Duncan Alan Duncan Minister of State 10:00 pm, 3rd December 2018

The House may be pleased to know that I can press down on the accelerator a little and need not delay the Scottish National party much longer.

In what I hope is a proper answer to the speech of the hon. Member for North East Fife, let me say that we host offices of the devolved Administrations in several countries, and work closely with their trade and investment representatives in many more. This ensures that they have an effective platform for engaging on devolved matters, if they wish to do so. It also allows them to contribute their perspectives and expertise in delivering the UK’s broader agenda for the bilateral relationship with those countries.

In formulating foreign policy, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office draws on the principles of what is called open policy making. That is about broadening the range of people we engage with, and the quality of that engagement. That is why, when developing the UK policy on the Arctic earlier this year, we consulted all the devolved Administrations, and worked particularly closely with the Scottish Government, who are formulating their own Arctic strategy.

We are working hard to strengthen our partnership with the devolved nations. In the build-up to the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting earlier this year, my ministerial colleague, Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon, spent time in both Scotland and Wales seeking views on strengthening the Commonwealth. In addition, over the last two years, more than 100 senior Foreign Office officials, including new and existing ambassadors, have held meetings in the devolved nations to share expertise and strengthen relationships.

Let me conclude by making it clear that the Government remain absolutely committed to devolution, which we believe strengthens our Union. Our four nations each have distinct capabilities and strengths, which we recognise, celebrate, and put to work to the benefit of all citizens of this United Kingdom, and to support and promote the values that unite us all. These values of tolerance, democracy, equality and fairness are at the heart of the Government’s work, at home and aboard. We are united by these values, and by our common purpose of serving the needs of all our people, wherever they live on these islands. Let us be proud of our individual strengths, and even prouder that we can achieve great things when, together, we harness those strengths for the benefit of all.

Question put and agreed to.

House adjourned.