Afghanistan: FCDO Update - Statement

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 9:24 pm on 7th September 2021.

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Photo of Lord Coaker Lord Coaker Shadow Spokesperson (Defence), Shadow Spokesperson (Home Affairs), Opposition Whip (Lords) 9:24 pm, 7th September 2021

My Lords, clearly the immediate priority for the Government has to be dealing with the specific crisis as it is now—those who have returned and those we are seeking to bring back. Notwithstanding that, and building on the question from my noble friend, can the Minister say something, even at this early stage, about the Government’s thinking around how they will take forward the whole concept of global Britain and what this will mean for the integrated defence and security review?

We hear legitimate questions in the Chamber about why the Minister does not meet with regional partners, what it means for NATO, what it means for the United Nations and what it means for the trust that this country has with the allies that we seek to work with. The Minister knows that the battle over the next few decades will be between democracy and autocracy. Where does Britain stand on that? How will we deal with it? My noble friend was saying that it is imperative that the Government give their early thinking—and discuss with Members in both the other place and this House, and people beyond—to how we take that forward.

I gently urge the Minister, whose calm demeanour belies the fact that he knows that we do not want to read in our newspapers or see on our televisions different government departments briefing against each other and blaming each other for what is a crisis: we need a united front from our Government, debating with us how we move our country forward within our alliances for the protection of democracy and human rights across the world.