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British Citizens Abroad: FCO Help to Return Home

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 1:21 pm on 24th March 2020.

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Photo of Dominic Raab Dominic Raab The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs 1:21 pm, 24th March 2020

We are regularly talking to European Governments and I am speaking to my opposite numbers in Europe and across the world on a regular basis. I will look into the case of the Dominican Republic. Of course, it is less well travelled than some of the other routes, which is part of the challenge, but that just means we need to redouble our efforts.

The right hon. Gentleman rightly raised the fact that we will not get the hundreds of thousands of Brits stuck abroad back home by just lobbying airlines or engaging unilaterally on actions that we can control. I reassure him that I will lead the conversation on behalf of the UK at the G7 meeting, which will take place tomorrow remotely through virtual media, and that the four prongs of the strategy are: helping the most vulnerable countries; pursuing a vaccine; dealing with the economic response; and, critically, ensuring that we improve international collaboration on returning our nationals. That is true for me, as it is for the Peruvian Foreign Minister—we talked about Peruvian nationals here who want to get back home. We must ensure that we keep vital air links and, in particular, regional and international hubs open to drive that effort forward. I will lead the conversation for the UK in the G7 tomorrow.