On Wednesday in the House of Commons there was a debate about the upcoming United Nations Climate Change Conference or COP26. A number of issues were raised but the second person to speak was Thomas Tugendhat and his comments included these words that were not directly related to COP26 but do demonstrate that some things need to be addressed if the Government is to ever gain any credibility amongst their current members.
I have discovered since taking the Chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee is how little of our international reach is exercised by the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office. I thought that the largest and most seminal conference absorbing our diplomatic network and shaping our diplomatic output for this year would be run by the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, but it is not: it is run by the Cabinet Office, and run very ably by my right hon. Friend the COP26 President; I am delighted that he is supported so well by the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office. It was a bit of a surprise to me, but then again, I suppose I should not be surprised, because our Europe policy is also run by the Cabinet Office, and not even in this House, so perhaps I should expect our Americas policy and our Africa policy to be run by the Cabinet Office. Eventually, perhaps only our Scottish policy will be run by the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, but that would be a great shame. Maybe that can bring us back to talking about the importance of focusing on the joined-up policy that we need to see.
Clearly if the Chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee is raising this concern, it is something that needs to be addressed by the Government. If the Cabinet Office is running the Overseas relationships, what about the rest of the Government?