Boris Johnson: Yes. The whole Indo-Pacific tilt, of which this is a part, is a recognition of the fact that the CPTPP area my hon. Friend talks about is a £9 trillion trade area in which the UK has an increasing diplomatic and commercial presence.
Boris Johnson: We vindicate international law. One of the reasons we have sent the carrier strike group to that part of the world is to make that point.
Boris Johnson: Yes, that is exactly right, and I thank my hon. Friend. The UK leads the world in some of these technologies. The factories, plants, ports and docks that make this stuff are distributed across the United Kingdom. There are opportunities for high-wage, high-skilled jobs that will last a generation and more.
Boris Johnson: I think it is very important that we continue to engage with our Chinese partners, but to engage very firmly on the points that we care about, whether it is human rights in Hong Kong, democracy in Hong Kong or the treatment of the Uyghurs. The UK, as the hon. Lady knows, has imposed sanctions on those who exploit forced labour in Xinjiang and taken many other steps besides.
Boris Johnson: I can certainly assure my hon. Friend that this will be great for jobs across the United Kingdom, but as I said, there is an 18-month scoping programme to work out exactly how the labour is going to be divvied up.
Boris Johnson: All parts of the United Kingdom, including the great Principality of Wales, will—I have no doubt—benefit from this agreement.
Boris Johnson: What this does is allow the three countries that share very close perspectives on human rights, the rule of law, free trade and international shipping to come together and, above all, to uphold our belief in democracy. We do not wish to be adversarial towards any other global power, but we wish to underscore that we work together to uphold those values, whether in our military co-operation or...
Boris Johnson: I think most commonsensical people will welcome the arrival of jobs across the whole of the United Kingdom, particularly in Scotland. By the way, the Type 26 frigate programme, which I have seen being built in Govan, is worth £19.5 billion to this country and, like the nuclear submarine programme, will generate jobs for decades and decades to come. It is a great thing for the whole of the UK.
Boris Johnson: Absolutely. Of course, Hastings and Rye was the last place in which this island suffered a reversal at the hands of the French, but our relations with the French remain very good. My hon. Friend is certainly right about the benefits that this will bring throughout the UK, including, I hope, Hastings and Rye.
Boris Johnson: This is not zero-sum. I have spoken to the House already about the depth of our co-operation with the French—which has a nuclear dimension as well—whether it is in Estonia or in Mali. One of the potential winners from this technological partnership is the French company Talis, which of course has many people working in this country.
Boris Johnson: My hon. Friend is absolutely right. AUKUS is a big, big leap forward in terms of trust—agreeing to share nuclear propulsion systems is a giant step—but what this means now is that we will build on that platform to co-operate on cyber, artificial intelligence and all the other types of technology in respect of which it is vital that we stick together.
Boris Johnson: I think most people in this country would consider that a bit bizarre. We have not only stood up for human rights in Hong Kong, but have taken the step of welcoming the British nationals (overseas), 30,000 of whom are coming to this country. We should be very proud of what we are doing to protect and help them, and we will continue to do so.
Boris Johnson: Yes. I wish to repeat that this makes visible and incarnates the Indo-Pacific tilt that we have been talking about. It is an incredibly important development for our relations in the Indo-Pacific. However, it in no way detracts from our commitment to the north Atlantic area, to the European theatre and to our overall security.
Boris Johnson: Yes, of course, although I remind the House that the carrier strike group is out there expressing British influence—hard power and soft power—8,000 miles away, which is something that very few other countries can do.
Boris Johnson: I should stress to the House that what New Zealand has said is its historic position; it has been in that place for 30 years or more. What my hon. Friend says about India is absolutely right. Again, there is a great deal of community of interest and values, and we should pursue that.
Boris Johnson: Yes, we will continue to pursue that type of partnership with every other country where we think that it can be done without any threat to our critical national infrastructure. I think that is what the House would support.
Boris Johnson: There will be jobs and growth across the whole of the UK as a result of this partnership, but above all as a result of the policies that this Government have been pursuing, which are leading to higher wages and higher skills—a policy that I am afraid the Labour party continually opposes.
Boris Johnson: Of course Northern Ireland will play its part, not least in the shipbuilding strategy that will follow after the spending review. I should have made more of that. I am delighted to say that Harland and Wolff has, as I understand it, just taken on another 1,000 apprentices for the first time in a very long time to get ready for exactly that strategy.
Boris Johnson: I am making this statement to bring to the House’s attention the following Machinery of Government change. Responsibility for the operation of the Vaccine Damage Payments Scheme will transfer from the Department for Work and Pensions to the Department of Health and Social Care. This change will take effect on 1 November 2021.
Boris Johnson: I am making this statement to bring to the House’s attention the following Machinery of Government change. Responsibility for driving forward the levelling up agenda and elections and UK governance and devolution policy is being moved to create a new Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities. This change will embed levelling up commitments and policy on governance in the United...