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Timetable for election of Chair of Foreign Affairs Committee announced

8 September 2022

The Speaker has announced a revised timetable for the election of the Chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee. The vacancy follows the appointment of Tom Tugendhat MP as Minister of State for Security, and his subsequent resignation as Chair of the Committee.

With the death of the Queen Elizabeth II on 8 September, all parliamentary activities were suspended for the period of national mourning.

Nominations remain open and will close at 3.30pm on Tuesday 11 October. If there is only one candidate, the Speaker is likely to announce the result that day. If there is more than one candidate, the Speaker has declared that the ballot will take place on Wednesday 12 October between 11am and 2.30pm. The Speaker will announce the results in the Chamber later that day. The new Chair will be elected from the Conservative Party.

Candidates require 15 signatures from their own party to be nominated. Valid nominations received each day will be printed in the next day’s business papers of the House. On this page, you can find the list of nominees with supporting signatures, any declared interests and any supporting statement.

Sir Iain Duncan Smith

Member of Parliament for Chingford and Woodford Green

Nominated by (own party)

Ms Nusrat Ghani, Sir Bernard Jenkin, Greg Clark, Alec Shelbrooke, Marco Longhi, Sir Mike Penning, George Freeman, Adam Afriyie, Karl McCartney, Joy Morrissey, James Sunderland, Bob Blackman, Jonathan Gullis, Mr Marcus Fysh, James Grundy

Nominated by (other parties)

Dame Meg Hillier, Carolyn Harris, Mr Kevan Jones, Rushanara Ali, Mr Alistair Carmichael

Relevant interests declared

See my register of Members' interests, Founder and Co-chair of the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China (IPAC), Co-chair of the APPG on Magnitsky Sanctions, Sanctioned by the Government of China

Statement

If elected Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, I will be a principled, independent, and truly cross-party voice holding the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office to account. I will draw on the extensive foreign policy expertise already represented on the Committee and will work with colleagues to ensure the voice of the Committee is heard. 

I have demonstrated my cross-party and independent approach including by co-chairing the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Magnitsky Sanctions and in my work as founder and co-chair of the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China (IPAC). Alongside colleagues in the APPG I called for tougher sanctions on human rights abusers and corrupt officials from Rwanda, Nicaragua, Russia, Sudan, the DRC, Bangladesh and Nigeria. 

As co-chair of IPAC I brought together over 200 legislators from both the left and the right from 30 countries who work together to strengthen the free-world’s resolve against the threat posed by an ever-aggressive Chinese Communist Party. IPAC members including from the Five Eyes, Japan, the continent of Africa and the EU are all concerned that the values of democracy and free speech are under assault like never before. This work resulted in me being sanctioned by the Chinese Communist Party for calling out the Uyghur genocide. 

A focus of my parliamentary work has been protection of human rights. I sought to amend the recent Trade Bill to ensure that the UK was able to call out countries guilty of genocide; campaigned to secure the recall of British judges from Hong Kong; persuaded the Department for Health to eradicate slavery within its supply chains; secured the removal of Huawei from 5G; campaigned to extend the BN(O) scheme to young Hong Kongers; and amended the Nationality and Borders Bill to provide greater protections to confirmed victims of modern-day slavery. 

I founded the independent think-tank the Centre for Social Justice in 2003 to tackle poverty in the UK. A main feature of this organisation is to grow a nationwide network of small and medium charities from whom we learn innovative ideas that break the cycle of poverty and dependency. As Chair of the Social Justice Caucus, I work with colleagues to ensure the Government is delivering for those on the very lowest incomes. 

When it is necessary, I am not afraid to speak out when the Government is falling short. If elected, under my chairmanship the Committee will hold the Government to account without fear or favour. 

In my 30 years in Parliament, both in Government and out, and on the opposition benches, I have attempted to be principled, independent and eager to work across party lines. If elected, it will be exactly this approach that I take to the role of Chairmanship of the Foreign Affairs Committee. 

I would be very pleased to speak to any colleagues who wish to discuss what priorities they have for the Foreign Affairs Committee. 

Alicia Kearns

Member of Parliament for Rutland and Melton

Nominated by (own party)

Karen Bradley, Kevin Hollinrake, Craig Tracey, Sarah Atherton, Andrew Percy, Laura Farris, Saqib Bhatti, Caroline Nokes, Lee Anderson, Simon Baynes, Mr William Wragg, Andrew Bowie, Angela Richardson, Peter Gibson, Aaron Bell

Nominated by (other parties)

Jamie Stone, Bambos Charalambous, Margaret Beckett, Ms Harriet Harman, Stewart Malcolm McDonald

Relevant interests declared

Chair, APPGs on Bosnia, Kurdistan and Turks and Caicos Islands. Board Member, Great British China Centre. Chair of the China Research Group. 

Statement

Over the last twenty years our Government has faced threats to our people from terrorists who behave like states, but over the next two decades it will need to protect us from states that behave like terrorists.  

These terrorist tactics are being deployed to undermine the international rules based order and the very basis of our state security and society. 

Before coming to this place, I worked at the Foreign Office, for NATO and with allied governments as this new threat emerged. It was clear at the time that we were unprepared, and we remain so.  

The decisions we make now will determine our collective security for the next half century. We know now the tools used by these hostile states to undermine us. Whether through disinformation, economic espionage, infiltration of infrastructure or sowing divisions between communities, their ambitions are fuelled by technology and impunity from the usual consequences of state-on-state aggression. 

Between now and 2050 our entire state apparatus needs to reconfigure and focus on building all-of-state resilience. Resilience takes many forms, from decoupling global energy supplies from despots and strengthening our global alliances, to reforming public procurement away from high-risk foreign suppliers and rooting out nefarious state funded bodies from our universities and civil society. I have experience combatting terrorist organisations such as Daesh and Hezbollah, as well as hostile states, including Russia. I saw how states began to adopt the tactics we associated with international terrorism, and as Chair I will focus on the threats ahead of us, on putting forward solutions and proposals to Government. 

This era-defining threat requires Parliament to scrutinise and guide the Government toward a path of security. Having served on the Committee since my election I have worked with colleagues on Ukraine, China and Taiwan and to stabilise the Balkans. I have seen first hand that when the British Parliament speaks with purpose meaningful reforms follow. The Foreign Affairs Committee can lead this conversation, bringing in voices from colleagues from across the House and drawing on Member’s wide pool of expertise. 

As Chair of the APPG for Bosnia and Herzegovina, we have shifted Government policy; securing sanctions on Serb secessionists, increasing troop numbers in strategically important locations, and having counter-disinformation experts dispatched to Sarajevo. I have limited the power of Confucius Institutes, but also suggested an alternative, whereby Taiwan would supply us with Mandarin teachers free from the polluting influence of the Chinese Communist Party. It is easy to identify problems, but I will always try to focus on offering solutions. We need a chair who has experience on the committee, intimate knowledge of the Foreign Office and of challenging those hostile states seeking to overthrow our security. I am the right person to take the committee forward, and I hope that my colleagues will give me their support and elect me as Chair. 

Further information

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