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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

I thank my hon. Friend for paying tribute to consular staff and FCO teams, and the work that they are doing, and for the general points that she has made. I can reassure her that embassies are being kept open wherever possible in order to give British nationals who find themselves stranded or in a vulnerable position the support that they need, even if they cannot physically access the embassy or the high commission building. I can go further than that and tell her that we have spent the last fortnight reprioritising the work of the Foreign Office and our missions, so that the lion’s share—all but the most essential alternative business—is focused on the consular effort. We are limiting the drawdowns, in the way in which some hon. Members have suggested, to those that are required because of vulnerability or safety, and reprioritising them to meet the challenge of providing the consular services that we need.