Global Britain: Calls for CANZUK in UK Commons Debate

I am very glad that my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister has been listening to a few of the things I have said over the last three years. Bringing strategic alignment to foreign policy is something that many of us have been calling for. I welcome the statement. As he has already said, it brings us into line with CANZUK countries. My Australian opposite number, to whom I spoke only an hour or so ago, praised the decision, as did my Canadian opposite number. It also brings us into line with Norway and Denmark—two countries very well-known for delivering effective aid programmes, not just in their own national interests but in the interests of the people they serve. I welcome the decision.

May I ask, however, that the Prime Minister reinforces the commitment that this is to deliver the technical expertise that DFID has demonstrated over 23 years? Just as we would not ask an ambassador to command a battle group, we would not ask somebody untrained to manage the handling or delivery of the millions of pounds that are so well and so effectively spent by people in East Kilbride and around the world on our behalf.

Tom Tugendhat (Tonbridge and Malling) (Con)

I fully welcome this change. We are reassessing our role in the world, and this is the perfect time for it. Does my right hon. Friend agree with me that, as we take this bold step as a new global Britain, we have a lot to learn from our CANZUK—Canada, Australia, New Zealand and United Kingdom—partners?

Jacob Young (Redcar) (Con)

Yes, we do. I thank my hon. Friend, and he is bang on the money. We are simply coming in line, as I say, not just with what Australia, Canada and New Zealand already do, but with 28 out of 29 OECD countries.

Boris Johnson

UK Begins Free Trade Agreements with Australia and New Zealand

UK Government Models Foreign Policy on Canada, Australia and New Zealand

I have begun the biggest review of our foreign, defence and development policy since the end of the Cold War, designed to maximise our influence and integrate all the strands of our international effort.

We must now strengthen our position in an intensely competitive world by making sensible changes, and so I have decided to merge DFID with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to create a new department, the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office.

This will unite our aid with our diplomacy and bring them together in our international effort.

And in this we are following the examples of Australia, Canada and New Zealand, all of whom run their development programmes from their foreign ministries.

And we will align other British assets overseas, including our trade commissioners, who will come under the authority of the UK ambassador, bringing more coherence to our international presence.

Full Transcript below:

CANZUK Nations Write Joint Letter to United Nations Human Rights Council to Seek a Special Envoy for Hong Kong

The Chair of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee, UK (Tom Tugendhat MP), has today joined his counterparts from Australia (Senator the Hon David Fawcett), Canada (Michael Levitt MP) and New Zealand (Simon O’Connor MP) in writing to the United Nations and each country’s Prime Minister, to express their concerns over a planned security law for Hong Kong which would make it a crime to undermine the Chinese Government’s authority.

This is one of the first times the Parliament UK Website explicitly mentions the acronym CANZUK which is a huge boost to the CANZUK movement. CANZUK is an acronym for Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom and the use of the term in regard to a joint foreign policy declaration within the United Nations (UN) is quite fitting as the term was first coined within the UN due to the four countries typically voting collectively as a block.

The full text of the letter can be found below:

In addition to a letter to the Prime Minister Boris Johnson:

Boris Johnson has wrote an article on Hong Kong.

Britain would then have no choice but to uphold our profound ties of history and friendship with the people of Hong Kong.

Today, about 350,000 of the territory’s people hold British National (Overseas) passports and another 2.5 million would be eligible to apply for them. At present, these passports allow visa-free access to the United Kingdom for up to six months.

If China imposes its national security law, the British government will change our immigration rules and allow any holder of these passports from Hong Kong to come to the UK for a renewable period of 12 months and be given further immigration rights, including the right to work, which could place them on a route to citizenship.

This would amount to one of the biggest changes in our visa system in history. If it proves necessary, the British government will take this step and take it willingly.