VoteClimate: DFID-FCO Merger - 18th June 2020

DFID-FCO Merger - 18th June 2020

Here are the climate-related sections of speeches by MPs during the Commons debate DFID-FCO Merger.

Full text:

10:36 Wendy Chamberlain (Liberal Democrat)

For 20 years, since the success of the Jubilee 2000 campaign, there has been a consensus across the House about the importance of international development, and I commend the Churches in particular for delivering and establishing that consensus. I deeply regret that this downgrade is bringing it to an end. Does the Foreign Secretary recognise how many people in the UK profoundly disagree with his claim and believe there is a profound difference between focusing on doing good in the world—tackling poverty and dealing with the climate crisis—and what he and his colleagues regard as our own national interests?

I thank my right hon. Friend and former Chair of the Women and Equalities Committee. Of course she will know from the equalities agenda how easy it is for cross-cutting issues to fall between the cracks of individual Government Departments. We remain absolutely committed, and she will know that I am personally committed, to our campaign to ensure that there are 12 years of quality education for every girl in the world, not just as a matter of moral duty but because it is one of the best levers to raise poverty in those countries. I also cite COP26 and climate change as another example of where we need to bring together our domestic ambitions and our international ambitions across the board and unite our diplomatic muscle and leverage with our development goals.

No; after all that bluff and bluster, there is really only a one-word answer. Look at what this Prime Minister did when he was Foreign Secretary—his commitment to making sure every girl has 12 years’ education; the passion that he has brought to the COP26 agenda—a conference that we will host; his commitment to making sure that we promote media freedom throughout the world, as well as all those wider aid and development functions. This is someone who has direct experience of foreign policy and knows, as I understand, that we can maximise our impact in all those areas where we share aspirations and objectives right across the House and that we can get better results for the people we are trying to help across the world, but also for taxpayers’ money in this country.

The hon. Gentleman talks about not politicising and then he comes up with a comment like that. Of course, we will look very carefully. We understand—I want to be clear about this—why NGOs are not universally, shall we say, welcoming this merger. Over £1 billion goes into NGOs’ budgets every year from the aid budget, so I understand why they take a very close interest. I have given the reassurance that we are retaining the 0.7% commitment. Ultimately, in the last analysis, we have to ensure that our policy and taxpayers’ money is brought together and invested in a way that can deliver the most effective results for the strategic objectives of alleviating poverty for the most vulnerable and delivering on climate change and on the wider international agenda that we on the Conservative Benches passionately support.


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