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Government accepts almost all of FAC’s recommendations in “Refreshing our approach?”

31 May 2023

The Foreign Affairs Committee publishes the Government Response to the Committee’s report “Refreshing our approach? Updating the Integrated Review”. The Government has accepted or partially accepted all of the Committee’s recommendations.

The Government addresses the Committee’s concern that, in the case of China’s designation, “strong language that is not coupled by action does nothing to alleviate confusion”. In its report, the Committee urged the Government “to be firmer and more explicit in articulating the UK’s security interests when it comes to China”.

In today’s response, the Government agrees that there is “increasing concern about actions of the Chinese Communist Party as it becomes more authoritarian at home and assertive overseas” but says that “we must also recognise China’s size and importance on almost every global issue, and the UK national interest in advancing British interests directly with China”.

The Committee recommended that the forthcoming National Resilience Strategy includes the creation of a national resilience lead. In today’s response, the Government cites the appointment of a Director of Resilience in the Cabinet Office, who will hold regular meetings with senior officials from across Government. The Government agrees that “resilience of the United Kingdom is central to” the 2023 Integrated Review refresh.

Chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee, Alicia Kearns MP, said:

“I’m pleased that the Government has accepted or partly accepted all of the recommendations in our report.

“In particular, I welcome the Government’s creation of a Director of Resilience in the Cabinet Office. The more reliant we are on others, the less resilient we are as a nation, and I’m hopeful that this new director role will ensure that resilience is prioritised and incorporated into policy across Government.

“When it comes to China, there is a growing consensus on the need to strike a delicate balance between embracing economic opportunities and protecting our national security. For years, the Foreign Affairs Committee has warned of the consequences of getting this balance wrong, and in the past, the UK has been far too naïve around security concerns. I’m pleased that the Government is acknowledging the need to take a more strategic and cautious approach to China.

“Our report called for clarification of how the UK will maintain its security relationship with key European partners and the European Union. In the wake of Russia’s renewed invasion of Ukraine, working with European allies on defence and security is of even more acute importance. I am pleased to see that in the Integrated Review 2023 Refresh and in today’s response, the Government reiterates its commitment to Euro-Atlantic partners as a ‘core priority’.”

Further information

Image: UK Parliament/Tyler Allicock