The Integrated Review of security, defence, development and foreign policy sets out the vision for UK national security and foreign policy for the years ahead.
On national security, the UK continues to step up and play its part at home and abroad. As the second highest defence spender in NATO (after the US) and the highest in Europe, this country will continue to build on our firm foundations in counter-terrorism, intelligence and cyber security.
It is right that we seek to match this excellence in other areas by enhancing our capabilities and appropriate legal powers enabling this country to address the rapidly-changing threats. It is a testament to our nation’s security services that 28 terror attacks have been disrupted in Britain since 2017.
Last year in the House of Commons I welcomed a Ministry of Defence submarine sonar contract being awarded to Thales UK, which is based in Manor Royal.
The UK is a reliable international ally to our partners. Through NATO, the Joint Expeditionary Force as well as strong bilateral relations, the UK’s commitment to European security cannot be questioned.
Brexit has never been about turning our back on our neighbours. As an independent country we will continue to be a firm ally of European nations and our partners around the world – from the Commonwealth to America.
The UK is setting an example with our country’s contribution to COVAX, the global vaccine programme for the developing world.
Unlike the EU which has appallingly tried to restrict Covid-19 vaccines, we have rightly been working internationally so that we can secure the greatest recovery from the pandemic.
On issues of foreign policy the UK must use its voice when addressing the aggressions of states such as the dictatorship in China.
Britain’s economic, trade, defence and diplomatic capabilities cannot be underestimated and are a force for good.
In January of this year I spoke in Parliament on the issue of China’s abuse of liberties in Hong Kong and its mistreatment of Uyghur people in Xinjiang.
In this debate I called for a closer alliance to challenge those in the world who do us and the global community harm. The Government is right to commit to “shape a more open international order in which democracies flourish.”
The UK is to use its presidency of the G7 to promote initiatives which will make the world a safer place and host the COP26 climate conference. Among the issues to be discussed are a new treaty on pandemic preparedness and a continued role in collective security, multilateral governance, global health, conflict resolution, poverty reduction and environmental sustainability.
As a member of the UK Parliament Foreign Affairs Committee, which holds the Foreign Secretary, his ministers and his department to account, I will continue to monitor the Government’s work in this area.
Henry Smith MP