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Britain’s Place in the World

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 2:42 pm on 15th October 2019.

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Photo of Alok Sharma Alok Sharma The Secretary of State for International Development 2:42 pm, 15th October 2019

I do not think the hon. Lady was in the House in 2010 when we had an emergency Budget to deal with the economic mess we were left by the Labour party. I remember that in those debates, the Opposition told us that a million jobs would be lost as a result of the policies we were putting in place. Almost 10 years on, there are more than 3 million extra jobs in the economy, wages are outpacing inflation and we are seeing growth in the economy year after year. If she wants to avoid the uncertainty of no deal, why did she not support previous deals? Will she commit to supporting a deal if one comes back from the European Council?

Perhaps I can move to another topic that we lead the world in tackling—namely, climate change. We were the first major economy to legislate for net zero, and at the UN General Assembly, the Prime Minister doubled our support to help developing countries to tackle climate change. Climate change is not a problem created in the developing world, but the world’s poorest will be hit hardest by it and we have a responsibility to act. Some weeks ago, we saw the catastrophic effects of climate change in the Bahamas. The first responders on the ground saw the devastation caused by Hurricane Dorian and described the scenes as “apocalyptic”, with roofs ripped from buildings, homes under water and families left devastated by the loss of their loved ones. I am proud that our armed forces, supported by DFID and FCO expertise, led the British response. This was a joint global-British response to a natural disaster.

Sadly, disasters like these will become all the more common. Almost 1 million plant and animal species are at risk of extinction with floods, droughts and storms becoming increasingly frequent. Each one pushes yet more people into poverty. We cannot ignore this global threat. The Bills announced by the Prime Minister yesterday will continue the word-leading efforts that this Conservative Government have taken to protect our environment. Our new environment Bill will guide our country towards a cleaner and greener future. Under the Conservatives, we will continue to proudly lead the world in this area.