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Resignation of Uk Ambassador to Usa

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 10:38 am on 11th July 2019.

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Photo of Alan Duncan Alan Duncan Minister of State 10:38 am, 11th July 2019

The right hon. Gentleman has spoken with authority and wisdom. What he said should be pinned on every wall as an instruction to people on how to act, respectively, in public life and about public life. I commend him for what he has just said.

We have emphasised throughout the importance of ambassadors being able to provide honest, unvarnished assessments of the politics in their country, and to be able to report without fear or favour. We will continue to support civil servants in carrying out that duty. On Tuesday and again today, I have been very grateful to those on the Opposition Benches for the support and cross-party unity they have shown. Their decency, with all those across the whole country who support officials when they are under attack, is something for which I personally am very grateful. When I spoke to Sir Kim yesterday, he was too. He asked me to pass on to the entire House his gratitude.

The right hon. Gentleman is right about the decay in our institutions. We can have a ferocious contest across the Floor of the House, but we have to do that under certain rules and certain codes of conduct—being able to say hello in the bar afterwards, having expressed our differences. So many codes of conduct are in freefall. It is leading, as the right hon. Gentleman rightly says, to unacceptable attacks on judges, Members of Parliament and broadcasters. Attacks of that sort are a fundamental attack on all the basic freedoms within the democracy in which we operate.