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Britain in the World

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 5:53 pm on 13th January 2020.

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Photo of Thomas Tugendhat Thomas Tugendhat Conservative, Tonbridge and Malling 5:53 pm, 13th January 2020

My hon. Friend—I say that because he is a friend—is absolutely right: it is about the way that we partner with countries around the world, including Somaliland, bringing together not just foreign or aid efforts, but sometimes justice, the rule of law, policing and maybe even defence to make sure that we have a co-operative and integrated approach to delivering real change to such countries. That is exactly where we should be going.

Forgive me, Madam Deputy Speaker; I will wrap up very quickly. Our role should be to build on the insurance model that we had, and to remember that we can underwrite many of the ways that the world has traded in looking at the norms that we set out. Just as we sailed the seas, we must sail the new accountancy, looking at ways to create entities that share the responsibility that we expect of companies with aspiration and innovation. We need a revolution in thinking, and we need to experiment with regulations that promote growth and opportunity.

This will not work as long as the rules are regularly flouted. That is why China’s adherence to the rule of law is of great concern. State-owned and state-subsidised business such as Huawei not only use data from police states where human rights are regularly violated—such as Xinjiang—but seek a market dominance that we should resist. Urging South Korea’s Samsung and Japan’s Fujitsu to bid in the 5G world would make more sense than deepening our dependence on the Chinese Communist party. This is a 70th birthday gift that it does not need. Closer to home, Russia’s rhetoric and aggression are a reminder that we need to remain vigilant, and our nuclear fleet remains an essential part of our defence. It is to this world that the Government’s new foreign and defence review should respond, and it needs to be ambitious.

We want a world of opportunity and investment, where we can not only stretch our wings but partner with others. That will sometimes mean the United States, it will sometimes mean Europe, and it will sometimes mean others around the world, but as global Britain, we need global partners. As we chart a new course for our country, I am glad that we are looking forward. Too much of the past four years has been spent looking backwards and fighting battles that have been settled. I am glad that we have a Prime Minister who has set out an ambitious agenda, because that ambition matters. I am grateful that you have given me the time to explore these ideas, Madam Deputy Speaker.